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Map your actions on our free impact/effort assessment tool

By February 26, 2016Uncategorized

Once you’ve built out your social enterprise or impact organization’s strategic plan, you’re faced with the challenge of figuring out which of your tasks are the most immediately impactful and that you can get out and start working on. The idea of picking some goals off of your strategic plan and running with them is exciting – exhilarating even! – but it can be super, super tough. Which opportunities do you run with first? Which ones will allow you to demonstrate impact, quickly?

We’ve got a couple of solutions for you that we’re happy to share. Today, I want to share our free Impact/Effort Assessment tool – read on for more, and how to put it to use in your organization. 


Our Impact/Effort Assessment Tool allows you to take your strategic goals from your strategic plan and figure out which ones require the most effort or the least, and which ones generate the most impact or the least.

The tool itself is pretty simple. It’s a four-quadrant grid with two key axes: the vertical axis is impact, running from low to high. The horizontal impact is effort, also running from low to high. With these axes on the you’ll find some magic spots on the grid: the “quick wins” quadrant, where low-effort opportunities meet up with high-impact rewards, or the “major projects” quadrant, where high-impact opportunities require high effort.

If you’ve ever charted things out in charts like Venn diagrams or the like, this chart is super simple.

Here’s how you fill it out:

  • Take your organization’s strategic plan and divide it up into groups of goals that have some relation to each other. This may mean dividing it up into high-level goals, or strategic priorities. If you don’t have a strategic plan, or if you need help interpreting yours so that it makes sense, please get in touch and we’ll help you out.
  • Divide your team up into groups and assign each team group a group of strategic goals. If your team is small, then split the groups of goals up over a set period of time so that you have a chance to take a breath between them and keep your mind focused/
  • Have each team plot the strategic plan’s sub-goals on the chart.
  • Debrief each group of strategic plan goals with the whole team and pick the strategies you want to run with.

What this tool does

This tool allows you to focus on the goals you assess to be the most important – whether it’s the quick wins or the major projects, or even the thankless tasks. Importantly, it allows you to prioritize based on those assessments. It’s easy to use, and helps your group plan how you’ll increase your impact.

Get the tool, for free

You can download a PDF of the Impact/Effort Assessment tool for free, here:

If your group needs help using this in your organization, get in touch and we can help you out.

About Kevin Harding

Kevin Harding is a principal of the Incipe Cooperative, and is a volunteer board member of the Art for Impact Society. He has worked in the nonprofit, public, and cooperative sector for some time, and has a passion for working with coops, nonprofits, and advocacy groups that want to make a better world. A coop developer, he strongly believes that cooperatives can build a better world.

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