The ideal solution for Impact Investors, Accelerators, Grant Makers, and Network organizations.
Expected Time To Complete: 1:30 Hrs
If you were onboarded on Impact Maker, many of the terms described here may not sound familiar to you but you should see the same options and should be able to use the same functionality. This is part of our larger effort to bring Manager and Maker together in a very streamlined fashion.
This tutorial demonstrates how to implement an impact framework for a portfolio of companies, whether they have the same area of focus (i.e. Education, Health, Agriculture, etc.) or not.
In this tutorial you will:
1. Defining an Impact Framework
The Impact Framework is the base of your impact management strategy. In this step, we define our outcomes and decide if we need to align with any standards or methodologies, such as Theory of Change, the Five Dimensions of Impact (by the Impact Management Project), the Sustainable Development Goals, IRIS+ (by the GIIN), etc.
In this step, we also identify the impact metrics that we will use to collect or enter data in relation to our companies. These metrics can be configured for a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual data collection.
The subsequent example will describe the journey of an Impact Manager who is overseeing organizations encompassing three different impact frameworks. You will have the option to start from our Templates, which we highly recommend if this is your first time using the platform and you want to see how the full process works, from strategy to dashboard. You can also learn how to create a Theory of Change from scratch, and document the Five Dimensions of Impact framework.
It is quite simple to create and utilize publicly available templates for ToC or IMP frameworks. This step is highly recommended if you want to see how your Impact Strategy is implemented during the data collection and data analysis phases.
- Click on "Impact Strategy for Impact Manager". Then, click on "Select Template" (right above New Strategy) and start typing the name of our sample template "Accelerator-Health." Click on it and then click on "Choose this ToC" and name it "Accelerator-Health Example". Save.
- As you can see, our templates have predefined ToC and IMP maps according to the template's impact theme. We have also already identified indicators and their alignment to other frameworks such as the Impact Management Project , IRIS+ , and the Sustainable Development Goals. As time goes by, we will continue to add more templates for different use cases and themes.
- Once you have selected the template, you are free to make any editions by clicking on the button "Edit Strategy."
1.2 Theory of Change
Now, we will demonstrate how to create a Theory of Change from scratch. If you don't have a real use case right now, you can skip directly to the portfolio section to learn the full process from strategy to dashboard.
To create an Impact Framework aligning with a Theory of Change methodology, click on "New Strategy", and select "Theory of Change" under "Frameworks" as shown below.
In this tutorial, we will be creating our own ToC in the education space. Remember that it is possible to create a strategy for any area of impact, this is just an example for you to understand the full process. In the field "TOC Name," we will title this ToC, "Education Example." The status should be set as active so that it can be selected in future steps. We will leave the rest of the options blank.
Now, click on the "TOC Wizard" button on the top right. Within the TOC Wizard (shown below), we add the specific elements of our Theory of Change. The definition of each of these elements of a ToC model is shown at the top as well.
While filling out each step of the ToC (inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impact), you can add more elements by clicking on "Add More". After filling out these elements, you will be prompted on the right-hand side to select which of the elements from the current ToC step are related to the previous step of ToC. You can select multiple options here. Make sure to save the results after selecting the options.
The purpose of linking inputs, to activities, outputs, and so on is to demonstrate how our interventions are directly related to the change we are working to achieve (impact).
For each step of the ToC, you can add metrics associated by selecting the "Add Standard Metrics" or "Create Custom Metrics" buttons in the middle. Selecting "Add Standard Metrics" will take you to our Metrics Catalog through which you can search for metrics that have already been designated as appropriate by various researchers and organizations. The catalog can be navigated through the categories shown on the left or by typing a keyword in the search box (Search for Metrics). Once you find the metric that is relevant to your organization, just select it by checking the box and click on "Add to Set".
When you are done selecting all the standard metrics you need, just click on the back arrow ( <- ) above the search box to go back to your ToC.
If you click on "Create Custom Metrics", you will be able to create your own metrics if those that you desire are not found in our Metrics Catalog. The name of the metric is the actual metric that will be shown on the ToC. The format is the type of data that will be taken in. The polarity helps you define if a higher number is a positive or a negative result. By hovering over the (?) icons, you can get additional tips and helps in the Advanced menu, which can be reached by clicking "Advanced (Recommended)." All the starred options (*) must be filled out, but the rest of the options are for your own use to clarify the metric.
Finally, if you want to measure certain variables in a different frequency, such as semi-annually, quarterly, etc., you can click on "Show Indicators", then select the other frequency, and start selecting or creating the appropriate metrics.
NOTE: The option "Show Indicators" and the view presented below is only available when you click on the name of the Theory of Change, which takes you out of the wizard. To go back to the wizard, click on "Edit" in any step of the ToC.
1.3 Five Dimensions of Impact
Now, we will demonstrate how to create an IMP framework from scratch. If you don't have a real use case right now, you can skip directly to the portfolio section to learn the full process from strategy to dashboard.
In this example, we will create an Impact Framework aligning with the Five Dimensions of Impact methodology.
Click on "New Strategy." Enter any name under the field "TOC Name," and under the field "Frameworks" select the option "Five Dimensions of Impact". We will leave the rest of the fields blank and Save.
The process for filling out the Five Dimensions of Impact is almost identical to the ToC. By clicking on the "IMP Wizard" button (top right), you can start developing the framework.
If you are new to this framework, you can review the Impact Management Project website and the IRIS+ metrics catalog before continuing on this tutorial. These resources will give you a better understanding of the appropriate use of this framework. Also, note that this framework is mostly recommended for impact investors and businesses directly serving individual stakeholders.
When you first begin, you must identify the effect(s) that you want from the organization's operations (same meaning as outcomes). Then, on each dimension (What, How Much, Who, Contributionm and Risk), these effects are selected in the drop-down above "Add Effects".
Next, the related metrics are added to each dimension using the options "Add Standard Metrics" or "Create Custom Metrics."
Selecting "Add Standard Metrics" will take you to our Metrics Catalog through which you can search for metrics that have already been designated as appropriate by various researchers and organizations. The catalog can be navigated through the categories shown on the left or by typing a keyword in the search box (Search for Metrics). Once you find the metric that is relevant to your organization, just select it by checking the box and click on "Add to Set".
When you are done selecting all the standard metrics you need, just click on the back arrow ( <- ) above the search box to go back to your ToC.
If you click on "Create Custom Metrics", you will be able to create your own metrics if those that you desire are not found in our Metrics Catalog. The name of the metric is the actual metric that will be shown on the strategy. The format is the type of data that will be taken in. The polarity helps you define if a higher number is a positive or a negative result. By hovering over the (?) icons, you can get additional tips and helps in the Advanced menu, which can be reached by clicking "Advanced (Recommended)." All the starred options (*) must be filled out, but the rest of the options are for your own use to clarify the metric.
4. Finally, each of these metrics must be assigned to one of your effects by clicking on "Assign Effects.
5. The Risk section is slightly different in that you select the effect from the drop-down, and click "Add risks". This will bring up the below menu, where risks are analyzed according to IMP.
6. Similar to ToC, you can create an alternate IMP framework for data collected semi-annually, quarterly, etc.
You have now created your Impact Framework on Impact Cloud! This is perhaps the most critical step in the entire impact management process. The next steps will build upon your strategy to actually add your portfolio of companies
2. Adding a portfolio of companies
Following the process of creating an Impact Framework for funders and accelerators to oversee the impact of their portfolio of companies, we must now add the companies into Impact Cloud®. By adding our portfolio of companies into Impact Cloud, we will be able to have a centralized database of information regarding our investments, grantees, or members.
To get started, click on the button "Create Portfolio" that is displayed on the right top corner of the Impact Strategy that we just select from a template.
2.1 Importing a list of companies
The image below shows the main page for adding and managing your portfolio of companies. Here we can manage our companies and the data associated with them. The three different tabs of "Prospective", "Active", and "Inactive" refer to stages in the due diligence process and exit. For now, we will import all our companies as "Active."
Click on the "Import Investments" button. This option is very useful when you are importing many investments at once. The system gives you the option to download the template to import your companies, but for the purpose of this tutorial, just download our pre-populated template here and save it to your computer.
Then, check the tow boxes on the screen below, and click on Next. In the next step, you will select the pre-populated file that you just saved to your computer.
After selecting the file, keep clicking on Next to navigate until the end of the import wizard.
Once uploaded the file, open the left menu (3 horizontal lines by the name Impact Cloud) to click on "Impact Manager." The companies will now display there.
2.2 Creating companies one at the time
Aside from utilizing the "Import Investments" button to mass import a list of various companies, you can also individually add them. In order to do so, click on the "Add New" button on the Impact Manager page. We would then click on "Investment."
Then fill in the name of the company, the location, and the status as "Active." By clicking on "Show all fields", you can see more information that can be captured about your company.It is important to highlight that these are only the default fields defined by SoPact, but you can also create additional fields to track the information that is relevant to your organization.
When you click a company that you have created, you can edit the existing information by clicking on "Edit."
2.3 Assigning metrics to the companies
Once your investments are added to Impact Cloud, you can now assign the metrics that will be used to track their performance. These metrics will be derived from the Impact Strategy Frameworks that were created for these investment categories.
For the purpose of this tutorial, we will assign the "Accelerator-Health Example" metrics to all our Active companies.
In order to assign metrics to the companies, click on the "Assign Metrics" button on the Impact Manager page. When you click on the button, you will be redirected to a page that shows you the Impact Strategy Frameworks that you have created on your profile.
Click on the "Accelerator-Health Example" strategy, and all the companies will start displaying as columns. Select the top checkmark under each company name to select every metric under this framework.
By clicking on "Load More", you can see more investments not shown on the screen.
Finally, make sure to save your metric assignments!
The next step will go over how to go about the data collection and entry process.
3. Data collection / Data entry
3.1 Self-reported data
This option allows you to directly type the results for each company, and for one or multiple years. This method is recommended when your staff is adding historical data or reviewing the values entered by the companies in the survey (which will be covered in the next session).
For the purpose of this tutorial, we will use this method to add dummy data.
1. To get started, click on the company's name (or card), and on the Data tab, click on "Edit." You can add data directly here, and toggle "Baseline", "Target", and "Forecast" on or off here.
2. For the purpose of this tutorial, add only results (R) for at least 3 years. Click on "Save" for each year, and then click on "Back" to go back to the view mode.
Make sure you click on both "Quantitative" and "Qualitative" metrics.
3. Repeat the same process for at least 3 other companies.
As you know, Impact Cloud® also allows you to send out a survey to collect data directly from the companies.
This method won't be covered on this tutorial, but for your information, it can be accessed by clicking on any company name (or card), and then clicking on the "Collect" button.
- By clicking on "Send Survey," you can send a Survey that will collect data according to the metrics and ToC that you have previously configured and assigned to the companies.
- Once you click on "Send Survey", an email will be sent to the primary email listed under the company's profile with a link to the survey. Here is what it looks like from the receiving end.
- To see how the survey will look for the companies, under the same "Collect" button, click on "Preview Survey."
Now that we have entered dummy data for our companies, let's review how to create a dashboard and add visualizations to it.
4. Creating dashboards and graphs
The final step of the Impact Manager journey ends with the data analysis and visualization of the data that was entered for your investments. This step will allow you to see the bigger picture and tell a story with your data.
- Taking a step back, the first area of Impact Insights is the creation of a dashboard. A dashboard is a collection of investments through which data visualizations are shown together. These dashboards can be created using any arbitrary distinctions of investments.
- To access and create a dashboard, navigate to Impact Insights on the left menu, then Create Dashboard.
After creating your dashboards, you can share them with investors or other stakeholders so that they can see your organization's progress.
4.2 Outcome Insights
- In order to fill up your dashboards with visualizations, you need to create graphs in outcome insights.
- When you click on the Outcome Insights tab, there will be some automatic graphs based on the data type. The drag down "Visualization Type" lets you switch between different automatic visualizations that Impact Cloud has created. The ? Icon gives you a brief explanation of what the visualization type is showing.
The options bar on the right side allows you to customize a number of settings. For example, by clicking on Metric Sets, you can choose which ToC metrics you want to visualize with.
- In order to change the visual aesthetics of the graph, you can click on the settings button and customize it. On the resulting screen, there are various aesthetical customizations.
- In the same settings icon, you can save the visualization to a dashboard. By doing so, the visualization will then appear on the dashboard page.
- Finally, by clicking on the button below the settings button, you can download the visualizations as images to use them in documents and presentations.
4.3 Portfolio Insights
- Finally, the last piece of Impact Insights is Portfolio Insights. Here you can see portfolio-level insights on the distribution of investments by fields. Based on the fields that were created from the investment profiles, Portfolio Insights shows how the investments are distributed across these fields.
- In order to save these visualizations into a dashboard, click on the button shown below.
Congratulations! You have successfully created an example use case for Impact Cloud. There are endless possibilities for Impact Cloud, and this is just one example. We hope you find Impact Cloud your new home for impact management!