What is impact?

The Europeana Impact Playbook uses the following definition of impact:

“Changes that occur for stakeholders or in society as a result of activities (for which the organisation is accountable)”

We explain more about the definition and our understanding below. Other projects might have other definitions of impact. We would love to hear them!

Impact assessment - measuring change

Impact takes place in the long-term. This long-term change is something that you and your organisation can’t be accountable for, because you are not going to be the only one working towards this goal. However, you are accountable and responsible for your activities and for making them as impactful as possible. You are therefore accountable for creating a positive change in the short- and medium-term for your stakeholders that will contribute towards the shared impact goal.

We can’t always measure impact, but we can measure the changes that we create for our stakeholders that lead towards this.

For example, you may wish to show the positive outcomes of a digital exhibition designed for school children in a rural area, and at the same time, collect information that helps you improve it. You might have designed the digital exhibition to inspire local teachers and therefore contribute towards an impact goal of a digitally literate population.

The Impact Playbook sets out a methodology through which you can start measuring the shorter-term change (outcomes) that are likely to lead to that longer-term change. Each change creates the conditions for another change that leads to another change and another, and so on. That’s why we often use the image of a ripple effect. We map and create connections between these ripples of change in a Change Pathway. The Impact Playbook helps you to measure change on this pathway towards impact. It also sets out ways in which you can measure long-term change, though this can be more difficult.

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