A Theory of Change (ToC) is a detailed representation of how an organization aims to create change. It lays out the specific cause and effect relationships between the organization’s initial output activities, immediate and intermediate outcomes, and the larger change they are working towards.
Having a ToC is an invaluable tool for ensuring that all of an organization’s activities stay aligned with their mission and contribute to creating the desired and lasting change. It is also very helpful for explaining to donors, participants, and all other interested parties how exactly the organization is working to create change.
ToCs can also be used on the programmatic level, in addition to the organizational level, to lay out the steps to impact for a specific project or program. At V2I, we have been developing project-specific ToCs for some time.
Now, having a clearly defined, overarching ToC will help guide all of our work, including the development of project-specific ToCs, and ensure that we continue to stay aligned with our goals from start to finish, today and into the future.
Connect & Partner: Connect local participants and volunteers from across the world and partner with NGOs and corporate leaders to co-create opportunities for human connection and co-learning.
Learn & Train: Learn about the issue(s) and context with local leaders and provide training that harnesses collective intelligence.
Build & Test: Build tech and business programming or products with local partners, leveraging corporate and volunteer resources, and test tools and processes to practice digital resilience.
Venture 2 Impact uses human centered design and design thinking to solve complex challenges by linking global communities to skilled volunteers. We leverage untapped skills to create lasting impact. Through education, economic development, and empowerment projects, we work to equip NGOs, participants, and volunteers with skills, resources, and knowledge to advance gender equity, education, economic opportunity, and well-being.
1. Align & Empathize:
CREATING LASTING RESULTS
We have specified five Sustainable Development Goals to focus our efforts and project outcomes on. Check out how we’re examining and enhancing progress toward the goals:
Increase support in project communities for women and girls’ economic participation, empowerment, and decision-making
Engage women and girls in the design and delivery of our projects, develop projects specifically targeted at women and girls, and work with local women’s rights groups.
Coordinating a centralized web presence to support global alignment for youth employability programs
Increasing Canada's capacity for private refugee sponsorship
Empowering promising, underrepresented young people with the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks necessary to transition from college to strong first jobs
A network of Tech and Data for Good practitioners that are using their technology and data resources and skills to address issues in the communities where we live and work
Re-imagining the way product insights are consistently collected, reflecting an intimate and deep understanding of the day-to-day experiences of the youth
Creating a digital skills program for individuals, who have been recently released from prison, and offering them the support necessary to build career capital and financial stability
Improving racial and economic equality in East Oakland through business and entrepreneurship training and support
Providing female survivors of human trafficking with the training required to launch e-commerce platforms
How our 2020 NGO training series benefited nonprofit organizations around the world
Training and mentoring Gambian youth to become entrepreneurs
Innovating data collection for 29,000 children in rural Uganda
Facilitating educational camps focused on empowering disadvantaged youth
Improving mobility, education, and community integration for those with disabilities
Education isolated Afro-Ecuadorian children affected by racial discrimination
Business development training in isolated communities for local entrepreneurs
Upskilling youth and young mothers for better-paying jobs to reduce child abandonment
We all want to make a difference, but how do we know if we’re making an impact? That’s the question that many of us looking to make a difference in the world are asking. Measuring our impact can be a tricky and complex task, but it is essential for understanding the real impact of our efforts.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how we at Venture 2 Impact measure our impact and how to use this information to create meaningful change.
At V2I, impact measurement is an essential component of our work. It is a process in which we assess our projects’ positive and negative effects on society and the world to amplify the positive changes and reduce the negative ones.
This helps us stay on track toward our mission and vision while providing data and accountability to our stakeholders, funders, volunteers, and partners.
To ensure our impact is accurately measured, we create a detailed Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) plan for each project. This plan includes project-specific indicators that measure our projects’ social, economic, and environmental benefits and V2I indicators that help us stay aligned with our goals and progress equity.
We measure the success of our projects and their impact on participants by using Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning (MEL). Every project we implement has an associated MEL plan that outlines critical information such as:
Our nonprofit partners are essential to the MEL process, providing data about their staff and participants that allow us to create comprehensive case studies. This information also benefits our partners, giving them a clear understanding of the project’s impact.
At the start of each project, we will have a MEL session to review the plan and incorporate any additional indicators our partners wish to track. We’ll also use this time to discuss roles and responsibilities for data collection.
To effectively manage and measure our progress, it is essential that we measure our impact. Measuring our impact allows us to understand the impact of our initiatives, identify areas of success and areas for improvement, and develop strategies to maximize our efforts and resources.
Establishing partnerships can be an effective way to measure our impact, as partners can help to provide insights, resources, and perspectives that can help to further our progress. It provides us with insights into what we can do differently and how we can improve our impact. This helps us to be more innovative and creative in our work.
Some things we endeavor to measure in all our projects are:
We measure the demographic details so we can explore the realities and inequalities of diverse groups of people and how our projects impact those groups.
Other indicators allow us to determine quantifiable, positive changes that we have effected through our widely applicable projects, such as the number of participants and volunteers.
We include some indicators because they are official indicators of a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). As a matter of good practice, we like to track any contribution we make to progressing the SDGs.
We use Women and Gender Equality Canada’s guidelines for Gender-Based Analysis Plus – they have plenty of free resources for anyone who wants to learn more!
Ultimately, we measure these indicators to ensure that our projects make a positive, tangible difference in people’s lives.
At the end of each project, Impact is being measured based on the KPIs we`ve set.
For example, during one of our projects with one of our corporate partners, Salesforce, where their employees volunteer their time and skills to improve the operations and capacity of nonprofit organizations. The anticipated impact was:
1. Decrease in Braven staff hours required to onboard and manage volunteers. This will allow the Braven team to dedicate this freed-up capacity towards more mission-driven work.
2. Increased positive feedback from participants about their experience with Braven programming
3. Increased long-term networking relationships between participants and volunteer mentors
The outcome of the program recorded,
1. $14,000 in savings Braven estimates by receiving this work as part of a skills-based volunteer effort from Salesforce employees.
2. 100% of employees indicated that they were either satisfied or extremely satisfied with how the project used their skills.
3. 60% of respondents indicated that they are extremely likely to participate in another company sponsored skills-based volunteer program.
4. 80% of respondents reported that the project positively impacted their view of Salesforce as an employer and improved their day-to-day job satisfaction at the company. 80% of respondents who participated in this project indicated that they are extremely likely to recommend Salesforce as an employer to one of their peers.
Another example is the equal employment opportunity project with T4G. The anticipated impact was to ensure Tech for Good Symposium skill-based volunteers support re:work in improving its data management and organization effectiveness to scale its ability to train and develop Black and Latinx community members.
At the end of the project,
At V2I, we strive to ensure that all stakeholders are included in our projects. To do this,
We recognize that corporate participation is essential to our projects. To involve corporate stakeholders:
Volunteer participation is vital to the success of our projects. To track volunteer hours,
At V2I, meaningful participation from all stakeholders is essential for successful projects. That’s why we take extra steps to ensure everyone involved has a positive experience.