Demonstrating impact

Why develop a model of impact?

Shared purpose is everything. We know that shared purpose, creativity, connectivity and mutual relationships often achieve stronger outcomes when it comes to large scale transformational change (Bevan & Fairman, 2014). Indeed, Simon Sinek, in his TED talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action, quips that Martin Luther King inspired people with his "I have a dream" speech, not his "I have a plan" speech. Sinek persuasively argues that it is shared purpose - not shared activity - which brings people together in order to create change.

As explained in Natalie's blog after the first year of Wellbeing Our Way, this is why we invested time at the beginning of the programme in collaboratively developing a model of impact (which later led to the theory of change) including a shared vision and priorities. By developing a direction for our work which was rooted in the contributions of those we wanted to engage, we ensured that Wellbeing Our Way was relevant and purposeful.

Our theory of change

What we needed was a more detailed set of logical steps based on the available resources we had... We gradually focused more on helping individuals to become change agents within their own organisations - being clear about how we support them and develop them - this became a more conscious need... It is not about us providing a set of outputs A, B and C - other stakeholders may be leading on this.

Don Redding, National Voices' Director of Policy

Our theory of change articulates Wellbeing Our Way's intended outcomes, and the steps we are taking to achieve them. Wellbeing Our Way's vision and otucomes were developed collaboratively with people with lived experience, those working within charities, and a range of wider stakeholders. This ensured that the programme's strategic aims were based on the assets, needs, and experiences of the people it aimed to engage and benefit.

Useful resources

We worked with Bright Ideas Consulting to develop our approach to sector mapping and impact assessment. Their Director, Lee Robinson, wrote a blog for us with some great tips for charities about creating a theory of change and demonstrating impact.

We ran a shared learning workshop with Bright Ideas. Download the presentation slides to find out more, and see the Storify for interesting insights and examples from other organisations. The workshop is summarised in July 2015's WOW Now (Wellbeing Our Way's e-newsletter) alongside a case study from London Youth - "From a 'hunch' to a credible evaluation".