This section presents Keystone’s analysis of why social purpose organizations urgently need new and better ways of planning, assessing and reporting their impact and performance, and how this problem can be tackled.
Our analysis is based on research from respected academics and practioners and 70 years of experience in our staff team.
Our overall conclusions are:
- Foster Constituent Voice. Organizations can systematically: ensure all constituents are involved in planning projects; ask constituents for feedback; report progress back to constituents for reflection and re-planning.
- Constituent voice yields multiple benefits. Giving feedback can be empowering for constituents, creating commitment and loyalty to the organization. Feedback from constituents yields important data that provides actionable insights to improve performance and is a key ingredient to measuring impact. Feedback data can also be quantified and summarised for senior decision-makers.
- For further information, please read this short description of Constituent Voice.
- Stand in the system to map pathways to outcomes. Plans should be developed based on an explicit theory of change, which identifies who has to do what to achieve success. Keystone’s approach to theory of change development (and measurement practice) produces planned pathways of interim outcomes towards the organization’s ultimate goal. The organization’s activities are meant to contribute to these interim outcomes, as are the assumed actions of others in the wider system. Keystone’s approach to planning and measuring thus enables staff to monitor not only their own progress against their plans, but how their efforts play out against the assumed actions of others in the system. We have brought together this analysis into a practical approach called Impact Planning, Assessment and Learning.
- Include feedback in reporting. Organizations should report their progress and results back to constituents. Then, when they make public and donor reports, they can include what constituents say about their work – and what constituents say about their reports.
We have created a simple pair of graphics to illustrate the transformation that constituent voice can bring.
Our services help organizations put these conclusions into practice.
We welcome comments on how we can improve our analysis. Please add them below or contact us.