“Yes, but what impact did you have?”
It’s a question project and programme managers hear all the time when they’re trying to extoll the virtues of their latest projects. After a while it can get a little demoralising, but it is a fair question. Why should the person you’re talking to take your word about how fantastic your project is and why it’s the solution to their problem? Just exactly, what evidence do you have?
As the UK Erasmus+ National Agency (NA), we recognise that this will be a familiar issue for many of our beneficiaries. It’s essential for project staff to be able to demonstrate the benefits of their activities to senior management and peers in their own organisation and to partners. These days most funders require robust evidence to underpin claims of success and impact as a condition of funding. Having this evidence is something that can make the difference to mainstreaming your activities or findings and making them sustainable after the initial grant runs out.
The UK NA along with NAs from several other countries recognised that many of our beneficiaries and applicants were struggling to establish their intended impact and to articulate how they would measure it. To help them, and to help improve overall understanding of the impact of Erasmus+, we developed the Impact+ Exercise.
/en/file/uk-e-impact-workshopjpgUK E+ Impact Workshop.jpg
It’s a workshop exercise for partnership projects that helps them identify their intended impact, develop some realistic indicators and to propose some suitable data sources. The Impact+ Exercise is just a start to impact assessment. There will still be lots of work to do, but sometimes getting started is the hardest part.
We also wanted to make the Impact+ Exercise sustainable. We’ve deliberately made sure that it isn’t exclusively relevant to Erasmus+ with the principles being transferable to projects that are supported by European, national or regional funding.
Because it takes you through a process of thinking about impact it is relevant to almost any education, training, youth or community project. We even designed it so that you don’t even have to use to exercise in a group – it works just as well doing it alone. Don’t like part of it? Then change it – make it work for you!
What are you waiting for? Get started on your impact now by downloading the Impact+ Exercise materials.
Steven Murray leads on impact assessment of the Erasmus+ programme in the UK for the UK Erasmus+ National Agency.