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Impact Management Canvas

A new tool to help arts and cultural organisations think about how they monitor and evaluate impact and improve their impact management.

The Impact management canvas builds on our Guide to theory of change in the arts and culture. If your organisation does not have a theory of change or is not familiar with the concept, we would encourage you to start from there before you begin using the Impact management canvas.


The Impact management canvas links the core principles of an organisation’s impact strategy to the practical and operational aspects of impact monitoring and evaluation. It aims to help arts and cultural organisations improve their impact management by:

  • firstly, embedding monitoring and evaluation in their current or future impact activities in order to improve the quantity and quality of evidence/data collected; and
  • secondly, encouraging organisations to incorporate regular impact assessment and reporting into the wider running of the organisation to enable it to learn and develop its products and services.

What does the Impact management canvas do?

The Impact canvas is laid out in three interrelated sections. We think the best way to go about it is to go through each section from beginning to end before moving onto the next one. We have also provided some guiding questions and an example to help you at the start. Our aim is that going through each of the Impact canvas’ sections will enable arts and cultural organisations to have structured, critical discussions about the state of their impact practice and how it can be improved.

The first section lays out what social problem your organisation is addressing through its work and what impact it wants to have in relation to this. Answering these questions, if you haven’t done this already in your theory of change, will help your organisation articulate its model for creating social impact, i.e. the how, why, what, and who of impact practice. Sometimes organisations focus too much on the activities they carry out at the expense of the outcomes that leads to for participants. This is why it is important to clearly see the bigger picture of the change you are trying to make. This framework will ground your practical work and remind you to go back to the social issue you want to tackle; this should be the raison d’être of what you do when it comes to your impact activity.

The second section looks at how your organisation can know if it is really achieving its intended impact and how successful it is in doing so. It zooms in on impact measurement and breaks down its key components. Here, you will need to decide what matters and needs to be measured and how to make sure you get a consistent, good quality and meaningful feedback to gain real insight about impact. Not surprisingly, most of this section is related to data because this is the most tangible way to demonstrate your social impact but making sure that key assumptions hold true is equally important.

The third section of the Impact canvas aims to open up the conversation around your impact practice and embed this in the wider organisation. In this section, we wanted to turn to operational and strategic challenges to impact management which from our experience are among the most commonly faced by organisations. How will you secure funding to carry out impact assessment? What knowledge, skills and resources do you need to translate data into insight about your impact? And above all, how can you use impact evaluation to help your organisation learn and improve? The opportunities resulting from this are multiple, not only about creating greater impact overall by becoming more efficient and effective in what you do, but also about being confident that you understand the experience of your beneficiaries and can tell a compelling story about the importance of your work to your key stakeholders.

We hope that the Impact Management Canvas can be a helpful tool for arts and cultural organisations having made a start on their impact strategy to take the next step in its implementation, assessment and performance management.

Tried the Impact management canvas out? Tell us your feedback! >