Strategic Impact Planning Basics

If you’ve been following along the last few weeks, you’ve engaged the conversation around community transformation markers and the community engagement assessment. Having taken the time to discern, discuss and connect with community—friends, neighbors, collaborators, etc.—helps to better root the project within the natural rhythms of the community. 

The next piece of the project is where we start to take a deeper dive into the impact planning. You’ve taken the time to name the impact you want to make, it is necessary now to begin charting a course for how you might pursue those objectives. The following is a planning process we’ve developed to help you translate concepts and conversations into more of a strategic plan on the impact side of your economic development project. What stands out to you? What is missing? What are you learning as you go through this process?

  1. Using the community transformation markers and your community connectedness assessment, chart who is doing what in your neighborhood.
  2. Using the 4 broad categories of (opportunity, development, flourishing, resilience) take some time to write out how the vision of your enterprise connects (in general) to each category.
  3. As you hone your project, make a list of the specific markers you are aiming for. How did you choose those?
  4. How is your project going to address those markers?
  5. What is the process you envision for making an impact in those areas?
  6. Specifically, outline your evaluation plan….
    1. How will you evaluate?
    2. What does success look like along the way?
    3. How will you know if you are on the right track?
    4. Who will be involved in evaluation? Why are they chosen for this task? Who else needs to be involved?
    5. How often will you evaluate the program?
    6. How will you pivot if you discover you aren’t reaching your goals?
  7. How does your strategic impact plan reflect your core values and covenant of kinship?
    1. How is the neighborhood (people and place) represented here?
    2. How is your project…
      1. Resisting gentrification?
      2. Dealing with the racial/economic/other injustices that will be exposed as you do the work (both internal and external?
      3. Evaluating the unintended consequences of your work?

About Adam Gustine

Adam Gustine leads CovEnterprises for Love Mercy Do Justice and the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is also the founder of Jubilee Ventures; an economic incubator in South Bend, IN. He and his wife, Ann, live in South Bend with their three kids.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.