Driving Impact workshops: Four days that redefine a charity’s impact

Sometimes all it takes to clear the mind is to step away from the desk. A broader view and a bit of space can be a tonic.

For charities working to address some of society’s most damaging and deep-seated problems, a step back from day-to-day work can have a powerful effect – allowing the opportunity to explore and crystallise a new vision about what it can really achieve.

As an investment director at Impetus-PEF, it’s my job to work with charities and their teams to help them take stock of their work and refine it. The goal is continuous improvement of a charity’s programme, to help it truly transform the lives of those it serves. We want each charity with whom we work to have the opportunity to clarify the impact it wants to have in the world – and take deliberate steps to achieve that.

This is easier said than done. It requires giving the charity’s leadership team the necessary time and space – in a supportive environment – to challenge their assumptions, identify new opportunities and distil the charity’s core strengths that have been there all along.

It starts with a four-day workshop unlike any other I’ve participated in before – let alone facilitated. The workshop is the linchpin of our partnership with every charity entering the Impetus-PEF portfolio. It is also the catalyst for a process that ties together strategy, planning, operations, evaluation and performance.

It can sound rather dry, but when you convene incredibly passionate, diligent and experienced people representing every strata of a charity – from Board members to front-line case workers – the result is anything but dry. The discussions verge on the visceral, tapping into the heart and flesh of the organisation and what it is trying to achieve for those it serves.

During the workshop, my job is to ask the questions that help everybody in the room focus on improving what they do by drawing out the knowledge and experience of every participant. We openly discuss sensitive issues, such as: for whom does the charity exist to serve? How well is it serving them? And what specific actions can be taken to help the charity do even more for its beneficiaries?

By clearly articulating answers to these questions, something happens: an amazing alignment amongst all the workshop participants that is then carried back to the whole organisation, bringing renewed focus – and new meaning – to almost every activity undertaken by the charity.

This ripple-effect and alignment is the result we seek to spark. This workshop offers the space, structure and perspective for this subtle alchemy to occur.

Impetus − The Private Equity Foundation
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