Understanding Our Impact

The Inspiring Communities model is fluid – nothing is etched in stone. Inspiring Communities is deeply committed to a culture of learning based on experience. Our Theory of Change guides our work and we embed evaluation in every project we engage in to help us learn and adapt along the way. Ongoing discussion and feedback is critical to informing and evaluating our community work. This is one of the reasons why we work through those on the ground – so feedback, concerns, ideas, and inspiration can be heard from those directly affected. Commitment to constant reflection is critical in the context of our work.

Unlike traditional projects that have clear goals and outputs, we are working on changing the fundamental relationships and structures for how people work together on problems that can’t be easily understood or solved by any one person, organization or sector. It’s often difficult to point exactly to where we are having an impact so we use a variety of learning tools to increase our understanding about what we’re learning in our processes and activities – in terms of what works well, where we can improve, and what we need to move away from.

Our Theory of Change

We are on a journey to improve the well-being of communities by having a positive impact on the tough social issues people are facing. The map below reflects the foundational elements of our process and what we believe needs to be in place to get where we want to go. While it was initially developed specifically for our Collective Impact sites, it holds true across our work. We build on existing efforts rather than reinventing the wheel whenever possible. We support processes for shared agendas and shared action around issues. And, we support the development of relationships that are equitable, diverse and inclusive so that we can change the systems needed for positive social change.