The importance of embedding impact practice within the work of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors and their funders was highlighted at today’s Inspiring Impact NI Learning Exchange Event – ‘The Case for Change’, held in the Mac, Belfast. The event marks a key stage in the roll out of the Inspiring Impact NI Programme providing an opportunity for both the VCSE and statutory sector demonstration projects to share learning from their experiences over the past 6-9 months as they tested an impact focussed approach within their organisations and funding programmes.
One of the principal strands of our work has been the development of a VCSE support programme with 13 organisations being awarded grants of up to £15,000 from the Building Change Trust to act as ‘impact champions’. These have in turn worked with over 180 of their member organisations to better understand the impact practice cycle and embed it in their work.
In addition to our work with VCSE organisations, we also developed a pilot to test the Inspiring Impact resources in a practical setting with a range of statutory funders.
Aongus O’Keeffe, Programme Leader, Inspiring Impact NI said:
“Today was about sharing the learning from testing an innovative approach to support VCSE organisations and their funders to better demonstrate the impact of their work, or the difference they are making to the lives of people and communities in Northern Ireland. It was also about generating a discussion and making connections with other transformative initiatives so that we can find more collaborative, integrated and smarter ways of working across the public sector.”
Two Learning Papers capturing the achievements to date and lessons learnt from the demonstration projects are being launched as part of today’s event and are now available to download here:
The Building Change Trust (BCT), who commissioned this initiative, recognises that this journey is only beginning and to that end has commissioned the production of a development plan for a possible phase 2 for Inspiring Impact NI. This plan will be considered by the BCT Board in the autumn.
Nigel McKinney, Building Change Trust said:
“The Trust thinks it is important that
voluntary and community organisations can articulate clearly the difference they hope to make and are able to reliably measure what they achieve and to communicate this to funders and other stakeholders.
“Inspiring Impact NI is making a huge difference in the VCSE Sector across Northern Ireland and this event will be a great showcase of that. We’re confident this is just the beginning for these organisations – and the sector as whole.
“We believe showing what they do and the impact they are making in communities in Northern Ireland will become second nature”.
The Building Change Trust, as the Northern Ireland partner on the UK board, commissioned the delivery of the Inspiring Impact NI programme. The Trust committed £500,000 to an initial two year programme of work running to December 2015, matched by a further £188,000 from the Department for Social Development, to support VCSE organisations and funders to better understand and embrace an impact focused approach.