Five-step guide to crafting your social impact strategy
Theory of Change
Having an impact strategy is a must. With our five-step guide you’ll be able to maximise your social impact and improve your ability to showcase your social impact.

In an era where a positive impact becomes increasingly important and sought after by both consumers and society as a whole, creating a lasting impact is not just an aspiration; it's a strategic imperative. The journey to real, meaningful change starts with a well-structured social impact strategy. 

In this blog post, we will walk you through the five crucial steps to building a potent strategy that drives social change and resonates deeply with your stakeholders, investors and society at large.

Step 1: Define your purpose and goals for social impact

You likely already know your purpose and goals, but nevertheless it’s paramount that you write it down, so it can become embedded in your organisation - from top to bottom.

The foundation of any impactful strategy begins with a clear sense of purpose and well-defined goals. Start by pinpointing the change you wish to see in society and the specific outcomes you intend to achieve, and for whom. It’s important to be realistic and to consciously deselect target audiences, goals etc., in order to focus your organisation’s intervention or impact work.

Your purpose acts as a lighthouse, guiding your efforts, while your goals serve as the milestones on your transformative journey.

Step 2: Map your Theory of Change

Once you have your organisation’s purpose and goals set up, you need to translate it into a coherent theory of change. Think of the purpose and goals as a lighthouse, you need to reach. But to reach it you need a proper boat that can take you from A to B - a theory of change. 

In the Theory of Change, you outline the sequence of events that will lead to your desired social outcomes. Break down the cause-and-effect relationships between your activities, outputs, intended outcomes, and the broader societal impact. 

At Impactly, we use the logic framework. It serves as an organisation’s roadmap, guiding your actions and enlightening stakeholders. The use of the logic model is not necessarily difficult, but it takes some iterations - but don’t worry, it’s worth your time. Because if done right, it allows you to easily set up the correct metrics, so your impact measuring becomes easier, and your impact reporting stronger.

Start by writing down your intended input, activities, outputs, outcomes and impact.

Read more on how to create your Theory of Change

If you need help creating a theory of change for your intervention or organisation, you can participate in our Impact Workshop that we host alongside Economists Without Borders.

Read more and sign up for an Impact Workshop

Step 3: Setup a data strategy

You now have a lighthouse, you have your boat, but you need a compass to tell you the directions and to be able to tell others where your lighthouse is when you reach it.

The data strategy is your compass, guiding you towards your intended impact goal. Selecting the right data metrics to measure, will allow the data strategy to illuminate the path from actions to insights.

Here are the six steps we use at Impactly when we help organisations set up a data strategy:

  1. Define Data Goals: Clearly define what you want to achieve with your data strategy. Whether it's tracking behaviour change or measuring intervention reach, setting precise goals is vital.
  1. Select Key Metrics: Identify metrics aligned with your desired outcomes. These metrics form the direct link between actions and impact.
  1. Choose Collection Methods: Opt for effective data collection methods, from surveys to online platforms. If you need suggestions, let us know ;)
  1. Design Collection Processes: Establish data collection processes, assigning roles for quality assurance and management.
  1. Utilize Tech: Leverage technology for streamlined data management. Impactly's user-friendly software centralizes data, automates reporting, and offers real-time insights.
  1. Adapt and Evaluate: Regularly evaluate your strategy's effectiveness and make necessary adjustments.

Read more about how to set up a data strategy

Step 4: Develop actionable strategies and activities

With your theory of change charted, you can now shift your focus to crafting actionable strategies and activities. These are the tangible steps that bridge theory with reality. 

Start by dividing your goals into manageable tasks, each contributing to the larger mission. 

You should consider:

  • the resources required,
  • how to finance your activities,
  • who you could establish partnerships with, 
  • innovative projects to be undertaken.

Ensure that each activity aligns seamlessly with your theory of change.

Step 5: Measure, analyse and report your impact

Having an effective social impact strategy requires continuous vigilance and adaptation. 

With your data strategy in hand, you’ll be able to collect the correct data regularly which will allow you to measure your impact on-going. You now need to set up a way of managing your impact in an easy and effective way to ensure that you don’t miss important data points or spend too much time in various spreadsheets and survey clients.

If you want our advice, you should use Impactly, but it’s of course up to you ;)

See what Impactly offers

With the right setup to collect and display data, you can easily assess the progress of your activities against your theory of change regularly. This will ensure that you meet your organisation’s goals - and if not, adjust your intervention where/if possible.

By being able to adjust the interventions, you’ll also be able to maximize your impact, as you can address challenges and opportunities early on.

Lastly, you need to tell the world about your social impact. This means reporting your impact to stakeholders and potential investors, showcasing it on social media, doing PR outreach, or communicating it internally in your organisation.

Here, it’s important to think about which parts of your intervention’s results are important to highlight to whom. Stakeholders might emphasize other aspects than potential impact investors or the news media. 

At Impactly, we offer a report feature, where you can easily create multiple reports for each intervention, making it easy to cater to target audiences’ needs. We also offer an easy drag-and-drop styling which makes it easy and fast to create reports, while allowing you to write text, insert pictures and much more. All to make impact reporting easier than ever.

The foundation of any impactful strategy begins with a clear sense of purpose and well-defined goals. Start by writing down a Theory of Change, followed by a detailed Data Strategy, and ensure systematic social impact measurement, management and reporting.
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Contact us

Johan Dubert
CEO, Founder
Rasmus Rifsdal
Director of Impact, Co-Founder
Jonas thor Straten
Head of Communications