Program impact clarity generates more advocates, engagement, and partnerships—along with boosted educational outcomes.
Challenge: A regional museum had an educational program for local youth in partnership with the local school system, and served thousands each year. While the offering required a disproportionate level of resources, the programming and its impact were not widely understood within the organization.
Solution: Grace Social Sector Consulting facilitated sessions using Zoom and Mural for leadership staff, board members, and program staff. Together, everyone created an impact map that charted the program’s inputs, resources, short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes, as well as the assumptions that undergirded expected outcomes. The group also identified opportunities to capture data, measure outcomes, and demonstrate the program’s impact.
The map revealed that while the program was making significant impacts, no one beyond program staff and funders knew about the outcomes. So the group identified other key audiences for the program and organization’s success, such as elected officials, new potential program partners, and parents of students.
Grace Social Sector Consulting then facilitated brainstorming sessions on how leadership might bring awareness to new audiences. What’s their point of view? What’s top of mind? What’s concerning them? What are they hoping to achieve? How might the program outcomes help them meet their objectives?
Results: The group identified how to communicate key program benefits, and how they connect with the needs and wants of each audience. For example, local elected officials concerned with economic development realized how the program positively impacts at-risk students’ math and reading scores. So investing in the program also invests in the local population’s long-term employability.
Staff and board came to appreciate how much they learned about this key program. And are now better equipped to advocate for the program. Because impact mapping addressed questions about program resource allocation, finance and operations staff also came to see the benefits the program…including positive educational outcomes for local students, greater community engagement, and stronger local partnerships. And they no longer worried about the efficacy of spending so much on this program.