The ImpactUs Community Impact Assessment & Sustainability Tool (CIAST) is an internally researched and developed framework providing international standards of research, analysis and decision capabilities on social economic investment. The tool ultimately delivers high levels of executive and managerial decision support aiding efficiency in allocation of resources that are aimed at generating social capital and goodwill.

The CIAST tool's unique strengths compared to other models in the market lies in the broad definition of "Impact" and the articulation of the different dimensions that make up its multiple facets. Further, the application of the results go beyond the ground level indicators to include business unit and corporate implications on decisions pertaining to social investment. Some of the key principles of the tool:

  • Impact is measured in both absolute and relative terms. Absolute impact is measured at the level of the primary beneficiaries. Relative Impact is measured at the level of secondary beneficiaries of a social investment project
  • Impact level measure is an end state. The key inputs to the measure are what we term “Impact Drivers”. These are the indicators of levels of satisfaction in beneficiary groups identified and refined in the stakeholder research phase of the tool roll-out
  • Impact level achieved in any project is a net outcome of levels of impact achieved across multiple beneficiaries, primary and secondary in nature
  • Beneficiaries expectations of a project at inception may have a negative or positive effect on how they score the impact of the project in the long run
  • Impact level of any project could be negatively or positively influenced by internal planning and implementation systems and processes, including project management, measurement and reporting

CIAST Implementation Stages

Every organization has a planning, budgeting and governance framework relating to most of the managerial processes of the business, not least of which will be social economic investment. The audit we conduct is meant to establish current state of policies and procedures, which may be improved on completion of the entire study. The scope of the project defines the limits of the study and identifies beneficiaries as per the projects affected by the study

The core competency of the CIAST tool is in studying and mapping previously unrelated information to a coherent cause-effect relationship combining corporate objectives, social project objectives, beneficiary and stakeholder needs, as well as their underlying drivers. The resulting “Impact Maps” form the core of the impact canvas, a depiction of an organization’s strongest areas of impact based on its strongest social investment capabilities. Organisations with a coherent impact canvas have the platform on which to build a social investment strategy and a sound basis for allocation of resources to fulfill their chosen strategy.

Using a cross section of fieldwork techniques including face-to-face, telephonic and on-line, we engage all the intended primary and secondary beneficiaries of social investment projects. Using each stakeholder group’s pre-determined impact drivers and questionnaires structured for each specific group, we generate the necessary data needed to deepen insights on each project and its log-term benefits for beneficiaries and clients.

We analyze field data covering all beneficiary groups and stakeholders, defining project-specific findings and stakeholder trends developing. Using sophisticated impact mapping processes, we derive the impact canvas, which shows an organization’ s strongest and weakest zones of influence based on current social investment strategy.

The years of experience and our sole dedication to helping organisations determine the impact of social investment allows us to look at data and analytical results with telescopic detail. In the final report, we look at findings beyond the facts they tell; we assess and report on implications on overall corporate strategy and the multiple decision points your organization will arrive at in executing social investment strategies. Our input into future plans will bring new capabilities to social investment decision-making and improve overall efficiency in executing in-force projects irrespective of their size and execution time horizons.