In the world of technology, the term ‘tech stack’ is commonly used to describe a combination of programming languages, tools, and software that developers leverage to create web and mobile applications. But have you ever considered what your ‘impact stack‘ might look like? An impact stack is the combination of tools, applications, and services you use to create positive social change.
Drawing parallels from the tech stack concept, an impact stack consists of various layers, each serving a specific purpose towards achieving social impact. These layers could encompass everything – from the digital tools you use to streamline your operations and the strategies you employ to reach your goals to the partnerships you forge to expand your reach and resources. In essence, an impact stack enables social entrepreneurs and social purpose organisations to leverage technology and strategic planning for social good.
Layer 1: Digital Tools
At the base of your impact stack lies the digital tools that enable you to conduct your work more efficiently. This may include project management platforms such as Asana or Trello, which can help keep your team organised and on track, ensuring that no task falls through the cracks. Collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams are invaluable for maintaining open lines of communication, and fostering an environment of cooperation and collective ideation. Meanwhile, data collection tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey can facilitate the gathering of information necessary for informed decision-making.
Moreover, there are specific tools designed to help with tasks unique to social impact initiatives. For instance, fundraising platforms like StartSomeGood can be crucial in securing the necessary funds to kickstart your efforts, while platforms like LendForGood can help you get the capital you need to scale. Similarly, volunteering platforms like Communiteer can help you mobilise human resources and data analysis tools like Rooy, givvable, The Review Platform, and SEIL can aid you in measuring and demonstrating your impact.
Layer 2: Strategies
The second layer of your impact stack involves the strategies you implement to achieve your objectives. This could encompass your fundraising approach, marketing strategy, or your methodology for measuring impact. For example, you might use social media and email marketing to raise awareness about your cause, engage with your community, and drive sales. You may also have specific strategies for volunteer recruitment and retention, or for forging partnerships with other organisations.
Your impact measurement strategy is also crucial. How will you track and demonstrate the positive change you’re creating? You might use a mix of quantitative metrics (like the number of people served) and qualitative outcomes (like individual stories of change) to paint a complete picture of your impact.
Layer 3: Partnerships
The third layer of your impact stack should consist of the partnerships you form. Collaborations with other non-profit organisations, businesses, government agencies, or individuals who share your mission can significantly amplify your impact. These partnerships can provide valuable resources, expand your reach, and foster a sense of community around your cause. They can also lead to shared learning, where you and your partners learn from each other’s experiences and innovations.
For instance, a partnership with a local business could lead to sponsored events, a collaboration with a tech company could result in donated software or hardware, and a relationship with a university could enable research collaborations.
Layer 4: Data
The final layer of your impact stack should be data. Data is integral to measuring your impact, identifying areas for improvement, and demonstrating your progress to stakeholders. This could involve using analytics tools like Google Analytics to measure website engagement, or conducting your own research and surveys to gather qualitative data. By quantifying your impact, you can ensure your operations are effective and continually refine your approach based on concrete evidence.
Understanding and building your impact stack is a dynamic process that requires ongoing refinement and adjustment. However, by strategically selecting and implementing the right combination of digital tools, strategies, partnerships, and data, you can maximise your potential to create meaningful social change.
In the end, an impact stack is more than just a tech stack for the socially conscious. It’s a comprehensive framework for leveraging technology to make a positive difference. It enables you to approach your work with intentionality, ensuring that every tool you use, every strategy you implement, and every partnership you forge contributes towards your ultimate goal of creating positive social change.
So, what does your impact stack look like? How do/will you leverage the power of technology, strategic planning, and collaboration to make a difference in the world? As you contemplate these questions, remember that building an impact stack is not a one-time task but an ongoing process of learning, adaptation, and growth in your changemaker journey.