Impact is at the heart of our funding. Studying and assessing impact is a continual and constant process at Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives.
Impact is the positive difference in the lives of vulnerable people--as a result of our partners’ efforts. It is also about finding out whether such work has led to systemic change or has had a direct or indirect effect on the sector itself, or on society at large. It also requires learning how to further our funding in a given area and focus our strategies in the most meaningful direction so there is maximum benefit.
Impact for us is change that happens on many levels and across perspectives. Hence, we classify it into five perspectives:
Impact on people (individuals and society): Has our support changed lives, livelihoods and living conditions in a given area and in what way? Has this also led to an attitudinal change, at the societal, family or community level?
Impact through leverage (institutional and social capital): Has our work led to the creation of a support ecosystem for progressive or positive actions? Have volunteer networks, community collectives, formal or informal institutions, been strengthened inside out, so they are able to sustain and carry on the work? Will it then touch more people's’ lives?
Impact through influence--research, advocacy and changes in policy: This looks at whether our work has led to systemic change, documentation, increased funding and consensus, or the framing of policies--necessary for long-term and long-lasting change
Learning for and from impact: This involves constant examination and evaluation of our own goals, guiding principles and even, grantmaking, across programmes. This is in order that we know what worked or didn’t, what risks exist, why and where. Then, we can redesign a programme, grant, or funding pattern in order to bring about better results. This learning applies also to our grant partners, so that our peers and the sector itself, benefit
Communication that drives impact: Showcasing stories of change from the ground and communicating points of view, using different media (video, images) can catalyse social progress. Bringing together all the positives and the learnings from a particular programme is also invaluable in terms of insight acquired. Furthermore, being open helps us reach out to others, and even, expand our work
Our Impact practice has a young and growing team. It is tasked with proving and improving the impact of our work. Our organisational approach to impact is:
We intend to be thoughtful about when to evaluate, and our choice of tools and methods
“Fit for purpose”--primarily based on the purpose to which the outcome of the evaluation will be deployed, and other considerations such as the role we play in the intervention (funder, enabler, orchestrator), the complexity of the grant, the stage of the intervention and the availability of existing evidence
Our stated position is that we will not consider the generation of evidence on its standalone value but will look for ways that we can take the results meaningfully forward
Learning is at the core of our impact practice. We consider it important to plan and derive learning outcomes early, in order to utilise the findings to improve programmes quickly
While we currently consider impact as an aggregate of multiple interventions, our intent is to take an “outside in” view of what impact we intend to see, given our mission and choices of domains.