Consultancy Services for Networks
inFocus works with network-level organisations and coalitions that are designd to bring individual organisations and stakeholders together. We guide network organisations in how to execute strategic cooperation, create shared measurement processes and cement overall alignment towards common social goals.
We define a Social Impact Partnership (SIP) as a group of cross-sector partners that are committed to driving change within a particular social sector ‘system’ of actors, policies and funding frameworks. Together, partner organizations are driven to create a deeper impact potential for beneficiaries and communities by making strategic improvements to the quality of frontline services.
Our consultancy services are designed to address some of the major challenges that Social Impact Partnerships (SIP) face.
Challenges and Solutions For Networks
Partners are often unclear about the overall social context and potential partner network immediately surrounding them. Without a wide-lens view of the range of problems that exist, and the range of assets available, it is challenging to agree what exactly needs to be achieved, in what order, or how to work together to achieve systemic impact.
Our Planning for SIP services enable networks to ground their actions in a strong understanding of the wider socio-political-economic context and to identify ideal partners. We facilitate strategic planning that results in high-functioning and effective partnerships.
SIPs require a lot of effort and determination to be successful. Often SIP leaders are required to take on responsibilities unrelated to their home organisation´s impact focus. Demonstrating results along the way and showing the collective progress towards common goals, that ultimately serve all partners, is essential for SIP participant motivation and to justify the SIP long term.
Through inFocus´ SIM services, we help SIPs develop early performance indicators and longer term shared measurement systems to track progress. We are positioned to provide fundamental capacity building services across the partner network to strengthen the efforts and capacities of each partner.
SIPs often have initial gaps in knowledge and lack baseline data that should inform plans and choices. Accessing available data can be difficult and, if data is available making sense of it can also prove challenging. Available data can help SIP partners to understand, if, how, why, and for whom progress is being made at different stages.
Our SIP Research, Evaluation and Learning services can help unlock the potential of existing data, offer potential directions for new research, and promote a learning culture across the SIP. Our goal is to increase SIP leaders’ understanding of what works and why, while promoting a deep knowledge exchange between all partners.
Planning for a Social Impact Partnership (SIP)
Our services include:
- Professional feasibility studies to establish the environmental context (including any other analogous networking efforts), to define a contextualized social need and create a compelling and appropriate ‘Call to Action’
- Designing the right overall SIP approach and identification of the ideal local, regional and national partners
- Facilitation of a Theory of Change process, to help partners define their social impact vision and map out how partners envision practical changes will happen in their community
- Creation of a Theory of Change document based on SIP partner’s vision, or adapted from existing frameworks that have demonstrated results
- Strategic planning and building a governance structure to help SIPs create a common agenda with aligned action plans, and effective practices for working group structures
- High level facilitation skills to support key formative discussions within meetings and working group settings, to ensure continual stakeholder engagement and effective decision making amongst members
Shared Social Impact Measurement (SIM)
We help SIPs to track and measure their progress, learn from data-driven results and communicate their community wide impact more powerfully, which improves marketing and fundraising effectiveness.
We help SIPs to:
- Develop a shared measurement framework that supports a consistent approach to gathering and reporting impact data. This increases the potential for learning across SIP partners and better demonstrates how each partner contributes to the desired impact.
- Build the SIP’s capacity to subsequently measure the impact of it´s own activities (such as advocacy or capacity building) and demonstrate how collaborative networks increase the likelihood of systemic impact.
- Build the SIM capacity of each partner through a combination of individualized inFocus and SIP Manager support. Identify good candidates from a partner delivery portfolio, for further support to ‘scale out’ the impact of these partners
- Agree shared measurement protocols and frameworks (through specialized shared measurement & benchmarking services) to allow a greater level of transparency across a field of action, enabling funders to benchmark effectively against their peers. This increases the learning across the whole system and better demonstrates the impact across all actors
SIP Research, Evaluation and Learning Services
We help to generate and share knowledge and learning within networks and across the wider field, and translate learnings into processes that aid grassroots organizations to provide consistently high quality programmes. Our services include:
- Conducting issue-specific research designed for network-level results
- Conducting baseline data analysis and mapping out currently available data
- Outlining data collection capacity amongst partners
Our independent evaluators provide a range of different evaluation approaches and methodologies across the life cycle of a SIP, including:
- Developmental Evaluation best suited for the ‘start-up’ phase, utilizing a ‘hands-on’ approach
- Process and summative evaluations to help SIPs understand what is working and to identify areas to further improve
Our Learning Communities and Communities of Practice (CoPs) ensure partners learn from one another, document and share good practices. This is done through both in person and through online workshops.