It has been a busy passage of time since my last blog entry. The first Cohort of the Impact in Action programme have attended the Leading Change session where we discussed project planning, being an open leader and open organisation, identifying a need to change and handy time management tips. It was a jam-packed session which included a resource pack and a lot of links to useful websites. The number one resource (so far) has been the website Trello which can be used to make To-Do lists and project plans that can be shared with others. It is free, easy to use and a great tool to get you organised (we use it here at BVSC). Regardless of what tools you use; make sure people understand how to reach the end goal, adjust when things aren't going according to plan and always acknowledge when milestones have been reached (see the links below for more guidance on making this happen)!
I am writing this fresh from the Introduction to Outcomes training delivered by Alex from the fantastic Foundation for Social Improvement. The session was insightful and got us thinking about what changes we think occur for our beneficiaries. The "think" is the key term at this stage, we are beginning to develop the early stages of a theory of what we believe is achieved from our interventions. This is an important activity to undertake for any project where we believe change will occur. We can think of this stage in terms of a factory building cars: the components don't just go in the front, magic happens and a car pops out of the back, a system of actions and changes must take place before the finished product. In planning, we should consider what items are needed to make a car, what costs are needed, what the design is, what skills the staff team need, what should be built and when etc. We should also factor in allocating resources, budgeting and establishing a need (the car should be designed with a unique selling point otherwise it's just another car). Identifying and setting outcomes is our system to quality check. For instance; putting the tyres on the car is an activity but we would need to check if all the nuts have been tightened, the tyres spin, the tyres turn, they can take the weight of the car, they are suitable for our car and the needs of the design. By putting a system of checking we can ensure the finished product is safe, suitable and a car we can build our reputation on. Working with people is a little more complex in thinking about how we can 'quality check' the service they recieve but, unlike the car, they can communicate and express satisfaction, knowledge recieved, self-assessed level of confidence: We just need to learn the skills to unlock this.
We are just two sessions in the programme and already the wheels are in motion (excuse the pun). If this blog has whet your appetite then fear not, we have plenty of training in the pipeline:
- Theory of Change and Outcome training on 25th May at BVSC: https://bvsc.co.uk/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=88
- Demonstrating Your Social Impact on 29th June at BVSC: https://bvsc.co.uk/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=98
If you want to learn more about the subjects listed here then see below:
- NCVO's guide to Leadership Gurus is an essential read: https://knowhownonprofit.org/leadership/role/successful-leadership/gurus
- NCVO's Project Management guide: https://knowhownonprofit.org/people/your-development/professional/projectman/projectman
- Inspiring Impact's Are You Leading For Impact?: http://inspiringimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/case-for-an-impact-approach-final-document.pdf?Downloadchecked=true
- Elfrida Rathbone Camden's report on how she developed her Outcomes for her small charity is an excellent insight into the process: https://knowhownonprofit.org/case-studies/designing-an-outcomes-framework-to-measure-impact
Have you found any other resources that you think would benefit our groups or have any questions about the project? Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org