It has now been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and changed everyone’s lives overnight. The social-service sector is no different. In fact, the effects of the pandemic have increased the need for services while many traditional funding streams have been reduced. Despite this challenging situation, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought us together as a sector and pushed forward efforts to collaborate. We have learned that we can transform our communities for maximum impact by changing how we interact with one another and working towards joint goals. True social change requires the full participation of individuals who are committed to contributing their time, talent, and treasures to causes focused on changing the world. It requires everyone to have a common goal and common mission.
A thriving social-service sector is composed of highly effective, efficient, and impactful government and non-profit providers and funders who work closely together to achieve maximum impact. Executives, program leaders, and frontline staff must work in concert and use data to build impact-centric organizations. Impact-centric social-service organizations not only measure and communicate outcomes but also effectively use collected data to retain employees, attract donors, win grants, and secure positive press. They expand services and operations. The work impact-centric social-service organizations do changes lives and strengthens communities in unprecedented and unparalleled ways.
How can you help your organization move towards becoming an impact-centric organization? The motivation for organizations to make efforts needed to create and sustain real change is a function of three factors: dissatisfaction with the current state, the articulation of a clear vision that includes a statement of what is possible, and taking concrete step toward achieving the stated vision. All three factors must be present in order for an organization to overcome its natural resistance to change.
If you are reading this blog, it is likely that you are already know there is more impact your organization can achieve and are seeking information that will help build sustained changes and increase your impact. In order to begin defining your vision and plan for becoming an impact-centric organization, it may be helpful to start by gathering data to answer the following questions:
What is the public’s current perception of your organization’s effectiveness?
Do individuals in your community have an awareness and opinion of your organization?
What is your organization’s inarguable value?
What would happen if your organization closed its doors tomorrow? Who would be impacted? What absence would be felt? What gap might be experienced?
What changes in your organization’s environment have already occurred and are likely to impact your organization’s future?
Once you have answered these questions with data, you will have a better understanding of your organization’s unique role in the community and what steps you need to take to create lasting change. When we keep doing the same things, we can expect the same results. In the for-profit market, data-driven strategies are used to test the market, understand results, and innovate products and services. Business survival depends on these activities. This is also true for the social-service sector. Without this level of commitment to research and refinement in the social-service sector, organizations become stagnant and will eventually be unable to fulfill their mission.
In summary, in order to overcome resistance to change and drive sustainable progress in the social-sector, organizations must recognize their dissatisfaction with the current state, use data to articulate a clear strategic vision, and take concrete step toward achieving their vision. Lasting change is possible, and increased social impact is worth the effort of becoming an impact-centric organization.
SureImpact and Measurement Resources are sister companies that partner to help mission-driven, social-service sector organizations manage, measure, and communicate their unique social impact. SureImpact is a user-friendly case management and reporting platform that thinks like a collect impact outcomes generator. SureImpact enables day to day case management and data collection, while also enabling funders and stakeholders to understand the impact of their investments.
Measurement Resources provides services and strategy consulting to help mission-driven organizations use performance measurement to improve programs, outcomes, and lives, and accelerate social change. Together, SureImpact and Measurement Resources provide the industry expertise and powerful data collection and reporting platform to help you become an impact-centric organization, regardless of your current stage in your journey.
To learn more, check out our mini webinar “Social Change Is Hard But Not Impossible.”