This toolkit uses the term ‘impact’ to refer to “any change made to a situation or context”. Assessing impact therefore means documenting what has changed, as well as all those factors that have contributed to achieving that change.
(We note that this definition of ‘impact’ is different from how some other more common monitoring and evaluation practices may define the term.)
But ‘impact’ doesn’t just mean only the ‘good’ things. Assessment includes capturing intended and unintended impacts — positive and negative — and what your contribution to those impacts has been.
Note that it is often difficult to prove attribution of a project — that is, if your initiative was the direct and sole cause of an impact. In fact, most changes to a situation or context won’t be directly or solely caused by your initiative. Your initiative may only have a partial influence on the impact (or not at all).
We suggest assessing what your contribution to a project or movement has been — that is, how much effect your initiative has had and what that effect is. To do so, a certain amount of humility is crucial to this work, as well as a willingness to not only concede but to honour that your contributions are in service to collective action and a greater whole.
As the Fledgling Fund notes:
Short-Term Impacts Versus Long-Term Impacts
Sam Gregory, WITNESS
The Toolkit helps you capture and analyse both immediate short-term impacts and longer-term impacts.
Short-term impacts could include informing new audiences about an issue through screenings, building the capacities of social movements through training, or mobilising target audiences to take action (such as attending a rally or signing a petition).
Longer-term impacts, such as changing social attitudes or changing public policy or law, require multiple efforts over time by many different actors and stakeholders.
The Toolkit will help you understand how to ensure your initiative is useful to various stakeholders — people or organisations within the movement, including the affected communities — and how best to create the right environment or context needed for longer-term impact and broader social change.
Impact therefore needs to be discussed and defined for each context. There is no simple or single Video for Change formula for success, but we have developed this toolkit to help you design the best formula for your initiative to be as effective as possible.
Consider this impact story from Indonesian Video for Change organisation Kampung Halaman and see how they define the impacts of a successful video campaign addressing the rights of religious minority groups.