Impact management is fast becoming more than a tick-box exercise in the corporate world; it’s a vital piece of the puzzle for organisations. Investors and stakeholders alike are no longer satisfied with superficial efforts. They want to see real, meaningful impact.
As the pressure mounts and expectations for corporate accountability soar, businesses must step up their game. It’s no longer enough to do good and prove what you’ve done, now there’s an expectation to become better at managing it too. In this changing landscape, the consequences of falling short can be unforgiving for your organisation.
To stay ahead of the game, it’s good to benchmark your processes against industry leaders. To help you, we’ve compiled our top 3 favourite impact management guides and why we love them to steer you in the right direction.
Our top three favourites are:
- Maximise your Impact: A guide for Social Entrepreneurs
- The British Standards Institute (BSI) BS8950 Guide to Enhancing Social Value
- Capitals Coalition Natural Capital Protocol, and Human and Social Capital Protocol
Let’s explore them together.
The ‘Maximise Your Impact’ guide is a reliable and practical roadmap for your impact efforts at all stages. The guide takes you on an impactful journey through four key stages: ‘Plan,’ ‘Do,’ ‘Assess,’ and ‘Revise.’
What’s truly valuable are the ten impact questions that this guide encourages you to ask and answer throughout these stages. These questions, such as “What problem are we trying to solve?”, “What changes will stakeholders experience?” and “What’s the relative importance of the difference changes?” provide a comprehensive view of your impact.
Its practicality and its hands-on, actionable approach, are what make ‘Maximise your Impact’ stand out for us as a go-to resource. More than just providing a guideline, it equips you with practical actions and templates to use at every step of your impact journey.
Much like the ‘Maximise Your Impact’ guide, the BS8950 Guide is structured into four key stages: Plan, Do, Check, and Act, offering organisations a systematic approach to defining activity scope, engaging stakeholders, collecting data, and acting on the insights gleaned.
Comprising volunteers from a wide spectrum of society, including communities, social enterprises, businesses, government, charities, academia, and consultancy, the BS8950 Guide was published in 2020 after months of dedicated work.
It serves as a robust framework for understanding, safeguarding, and elevating social value. What sets it apart is its sharp focus on data-informed decision-making, bolstered by fundamental principles that steer the process of recognising, accounting for, and effectively reporting on social value data. It encourages users to approach their data with a keen eye on accountability, rigour, and their desired comparisons. It details individual aspects to be applied at various stages of the cycle.
What we specifically love about the BS8950 Guide is its endorsement by the British Standards Institute. You have absolute confidence that adhering to their standards means quality and confidence that you’re aligning with industry standards. The guide is moving towards ISO standards which adds to the appeal, making it a valuable asset for organisations seeking accreditation.
We find the Capitals Coalition Natural Capital Protocol and the Human and Social Capital Protocol indispensable tools specifically within the private sector. Just like the ‘Maximise Your Impact’ and the BS8950 guides, these protocols follow a systematic 4-stage process – Frame, Scope, Measure and Value, and Apply – that encompasses nine essential steps.
Unlike the other guides we’ve explored, the Capitals Coalition protocols provide a more streamlined and business-oriented approach. They avoid diving deep into theoretical concepts that some resources use and instead focus on pragmatic applications. These protocols are specifically geared towards efficient and effective impact management within the corporate landscape. For businesses looking to enhance their impact management, these guides offer a practical, real-world framework that ensures their efforts align with industry best practices.
It’s impossible to compile all of the tools readily available. Some other notable guides that rank highly for us are:
- Inspiring Impact
- NPC ‘cycle of good impact practice’
- Impact Management Platform ‘Actions of Impact Management’
- UNDP SDG Impact Practice Standards
- UK Government Greenbook business case cycle: ROAMEF
Regardless of which best practice you choose for your organisation, increasingly savvy regulatory bodies are tightening the belt of what constitutes ‘good’ impact management so not taking action can be consequential. There is no hard and fast rule that anyone external to your organisation can dictate that you must strictly adhere to one guideline over another. Only you can decide between the different solutions for your organisation based on your activity.
Our mission is to help organisations elevate their impact management processes. While we’ve developed our own framework, we understand that every business has unique requirements. We remain framework-agnostic, working closely with our clients to create tailored solutions that fit their specific needs.
While only you can decide which framework you should choose for your impact management, choosing one is critical to your continued business success in line with growing external pressures.
For more resources on achieving better impact management stay up-to-date with our insights here. If you’d instead like to learn more about Impact Reporting, schedule a demo or contact our team at 0161 532 4752.