The Five Pitfalls of Impact Practice

Published May 9, 2019 by monika

I recently spoke at Tech for Good Live about common pitfalls in impact practice. Here are the top 5 I come across. Pitfall One: People don’t push far enough when talking about their impact. I’ve written before about the difference between outputs and outcomes, and why the distinction is so vital in impact practice, here. […]

Operational Delivery v Strategic Oversight

Published March 16, 2018 by monika

Measuring impact, making decisions, building strategy and revisiting things later. The lifeblood of so many organisations. When you’re responsible for an organisation or school, but not involved operationally, not delivering on the ground, not there weekly, let alone daily, then that starts to look a little bit different. Most trustees have quarterly meetings. In schools, […]

Impact in Applications – Ten Top Tips

Published February 5, 2018 by monika

  I coach a number of people who are looking to take the next step in their career. I also regularly read CVs and application forms for companies looking to shortlist candidates. Having similar conversations with numerous people, and having spent the weekend reading long detailed application forms that told me very little, I thought […]

Ethical Fundraising: When Should You Say ‘No’ to Money?

Published January 26, 2018 by monika

  The Presidents Club story broken by the Financial Times this week has reignited the debate around whether, and when, charities should turn down money donated to them, which can only be a good thing, because too many trustees have not considered the question, or don’t want to consider it.  It’s a tough thing to […]

It’s Not Me, It’s You

Published September 22, 2017 by monika

  It’s not me, it’s you. A sterling starting point for any communications, be they funding applications, awareness campaigns or sales pitches. I work with many organisations who begin their communications by thinking about themselves; why they would like to tell you about their work; why their work is important to them; why their product […]

Fined to Drive

Published September 7, 2017 by monika

  I wrote a tweet-thread about parents being fined for driving their kids to school in response to this article in the Guardian. I have been asked to turn it into a blog post. The internet is nothing if not immediate, so here it is. I have written before on the impact of unintended consequences, […]

Hiding Vague in Plain Sight

Published June 21, 2017 by monika

  It’s all very well listening to someone give advice, but if you can’t actually implement it, it becomes frustrating more than helpful. Consider the scenario, you listen to a keynote speech. Everything the speaker says sounds great. You feel inspired. You come back to your desk. You have absolutely no idea how to use […]

2 Questions to Help You Write More Clearly

Published June 12, 2017 by monika

  I took part in some training recently that was all about how we teach children to read. The trainer talked about the difference in vocabulary in 7year olds, which can range from around 4000 words to around 8000 words. This throws up the difficulty in the amount of information we expect children to know […]

Put the Thinking Out to Tender

Published May 17, 2017 by monika

  I have stopped spending days on putting together applications on contracts put out to tender where companies don’t consider the difference between a consultant and an applicant. I can’t be the only person who finds a freelance / consultant contract advertised and thinks ‘That looks really exciting. I’d love to work on that and […]

Corporate Social Responsibility – Why Bother?

Published May 12, 2017 by monika

  All things being equal (price, quality, service, timing), consumers tend to lean towards the company with the better ethics. This can seem like a rather fairweather approach to take to ethics, that’s potentially a lot of hoops a company has to jump through first before we get to the ethics, but we do get […]

The Power of Cake

Published March 28, 2017 by monika

  When I run impact assessment training, it becomes apparent again and again that people do not understand the difference between outputs and outcomes.   It happens so frequently that I have stopped assuming people do know, and now build the definition into the beginning of the training.   Impact assessment is all about outcome. […]

The Big Picture

Published March 7, 2017 by monika

I’ve started writing several blog posts over the last few days. Each time the writing is perfectly fine. The subject matter reasonably engaging. But ultimately the pieces have failed to spark. To catch. To make my mind shift in twists and turns, I haven’t gone off on a tangent in my research or my thinking. […]

Top Tips for Writing Case Studies

Published February 1, 2017 by monika

I have run several training courses over the last few months, and a recurring theme has been how you tell the story of your organisation, of your impact, of your work. Borne out of this, here are my 5 top tips for writing a case study for your charity or company. Know Your Audience: Who […]

Impact of Failure

Published December 1, 2016 by monika

I have thought a lot about failure. What failure stops us doing, the impact on our immediate projects and ideas, but also the longer term impact on our self-esteem and our willingness to try. The flip side of this, is that I have also thought about what failure makes possible for us. How it deepens […]

Information V Knowledge

Published November 1, 2016 by monika

What is the difference between information and knowledge? It sounds like such a simple question, of course they are different things, and yet we behave as though they are the same thing. Schools expect parents to know what is happening and to understand decision-making, because a letter was sent out. Companies expect people to know […]

But Why?

Published October 14, 2016 by monika

I once overheard a conversation that went like this: Small child: Why mummy? Mum: Pauses and takes deep breath… child: Is it just because mummy? It is a truth universally acknowledged that as children we all go through the ‘Why?’ phase. Perhaps it would be more accurate to describe it as the ‘But whyyyyyyyyyyy?’ phase. […]

What Difference Does Listening Make?

Published October 3, 2016 by monika

Listening. Do you listen to people? Your family and friends, or your children, or your colleagues, or your boss? Do you listen? And by listen, I do not mean waiting politely for your turn to speak. That is an entirely different art, in which many of us are practiced. Do you listen, and what do […]

Theory of Change

Published September 14, 2016 by monika

You can’t work for long in impact assessment without coming across Theory of Change. So what exactly is it? And more importantly, is it useful? A Theory of Change is a rather oddly named practical tool for helping you to build your strategy, to understand what you are doing and how exactly that will help […]

Macro and Micro Mistakes

Published September 1, 2016 by monika

Many companies have PR plans for when things go wrong. Schools have disaster plans in place for if the worst should happen. Charities have strategies in place to cope with things going wrong, or accusations of things going wrong. The big problems are carefully planned for, the relevant people know that they will be the ones […]

The Importance of Asking the Right Question

Published July 1, 2016 by monika

So, you know you want to measure something. You’re ready to assess. You’re ready to listen to your customers, your staff, your stakeholders, your users. You’re going to use evidence to assess where you are and compare it to where you want to be, and then you can work out what you need to do. […]