atPlay has learned a lot in a year.
I still remember sitting in Wychwood pub at the corner of St. Clair West and Bathurst last December, catching up with Rob for the first time in a few years. We talked about our past in non-profit, our goals and aspirations, and Colombia. Slowly the stars began to align and by the second pint we had all but shaken hands on our new partnership.
Since this inaugural meeting of the minds, we have been privileged to work with several non-profits and charities, big and small. Although our clients have spanned the gamut of health and recreation spectrum, we have found that they all share two things in common: 1) they care deeply about making an impact in the communities they serve, and 2) they collect very little evidence of this impact.
This is a problem.
Just as it is important for us to pause and take stalk of how far we’ve come in a year and where we’re going next, we’ve found organizations that incorporate reflection and evaluation into their day-to-day operations enjoy the greatest success.
In today’s economy, non-profits and charities are competing for an increasingly smaller pot of funds. They are being asked to do more with less, and are being held to higher standards of accountability for the funding they do receive. Measuring impact not only makes it easier for funders to understand why they should support your program over another, it helps organizations work smarter. Adopting an outcomes-based approach to program design makes it easier to channel resources to the areas that will do the most good, and ultimately build healthier communities.
Investing time and resources into understanding a program or project’s social impact may be the most important step organizations can take in order to grow financial support. To put it in sports-speak, evaluation helps organizations know which direction to steer the bike. And if you know where you’re going, funders are more likely to help you get there.
In the coming months, atPlay will focus on bringing you tools and resources to better measure, understand and articulate your impact. Interested in learning more? Follow us on Twitter or drop us a line. As always, we’re excited to have you along for the ride.