There is a growing need for organisations to do more impact measurement but it is challenging to find suitable and experienced talent. Similarly, for those wanting to enter into these roles, they are not sure where to go or how to build their experience.
In partnership with the Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre, this event brought together a diverse panel of experts and practitioners at different stages of their impact measurement career to share their insights on building pathways into impact measurement.
Facilitated by Caroline Sanz, The Difference Incubator, we presented the following questions to panel members and attendees;
- What do we see are the obstacles to attracting quality people?
- How can we build a pipeline of practitioners?
- What are we collectively doing to build expertise in this field?
Our panel for the event included:
- Dr Ghislain Arbour, Coordinator Masters of Evaluation, Melbourne University
- Dr Jess Dart, Founding Director, Clear Horizon Consulting
- Kelly Sparke, Data Analyst and Community Insights Manager, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation
- Vanessa Power, Manager, Performance & Systems, Brotherhood of St Laurence
We opened by hearing from each panelist about their own journey to impact measurement- which included fascinating first measurement projects from working with disengaged young people for vocational outcomes to analog data collection in small Indian villages.
Immediately there was consensus that a career in impact measurement finds you, rather than starting out wanting to do just that. Frequently a career starts out with participation in the program delivery, with a need for support in the measurement and evaluation a key driver of entry to the field.
Ongoing education was a strong theme throughout the event, driven by the desire to seek excellence and mandated by the complex nature and broad essential skills required.
You never stop learning about this field, even with a PHD and 30 years of experience
On recruitment strategies for new entrants to the field, Dr Jess Dart comments, “things are changing so fast in this field, you recruit for tomorrow, as well as today. Things are changing so fast, it’s a really important attribute- the ability to learn”
On what makes a successful impact measurement career the panelists identified;
- Ability to facilitate and hold a room
- Systems thinking
- Strengths in research
- Mastery of research design, measurement and data analysis
- Capacity to learn, understand established and emergent theories
- Ability to think theoretically and apply theory practically
- Relationship management
Once you have entered the field of social impact measurement, some recommendations around achieving excellence;
- Use internships to see if the fit is right, then utilize coaching and development for ongoing learning
- Use a team approach to projects to ensure a good mix of skills applied to each project
- Pursue ongoing education, such as the Masters of Evaluation
- Participate actively in networks such as SIMNA- get in touch if you are interested in a particular element of social impact where we may establish an Interest Group
The event concluded with SIMNA Board Member Jess Bowman, COO of The Good Charities Guide and cofounder of The Good Cause Co, who gave an overview of SIMNA’s annual report.
Our thanks to the attendees who generated brilliant discussions, the panelists for their generous time and knowledge, the Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre and Melbourne University for their support and the SIMNA Steering Committee, Jess Bowman and Caro Sanz for volunteering their time to make these events possible.
Leave a comment with your thoughts and recommendations for SIMNA Victoria events for 2018!