Part 3: Project GROWS Links Individual Success with a Vision for Systems Change

Helping nonprofits and funders connect on impact


June 4, 2024

Maryfrances Porter


A big thank you for to Marshall, Jeremy Starn, and Nichole Barrows at Project GROWS for sharing their Strategic Impact Map with the world!


Today – we will see how they link individual successes to a vision for systems change.


This is the THIRD in a series of blogs which shows you how Project GROWS took what they learned in the ImpactStory™ Academy last fall (2023) and put the whole ImpactStory™ Strategy into place.


These first three blogs are all about their Strategic Impact Map™:

Part 1 is on how they set up their impact story including their Mission-driven Solutions.

Part 2 is on how they set up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of immediate impact that show how well they are fulfilling their mission.

Part 3this blog – is how they linked their KPIs to longer-term change and systems change.


The Strategic Impact Map™

As the name implies, a Strategic Impact Map™ shows exactly how your mission is fulfilled through the impact your programs and activities generate.

The first job of a Strategic Impact Map™ is to identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that show how an organization measures mission fulfillment. Therefore, it’s a business plan for mission fulfillment.

The second job of a Strategic Impact Map™ is to articulate why those immediate impact KPIs give your clients the opportunity to build longer-term change, and how all that longer-term change can roll up to the vision for systems change.


HOW Individual Success is Connected to Systems Change

Even though most nonprofits and funders can only measure immediate impact, we are all doing this work to make lasting change.

The Strategic Impact Map™ makes it really clear the specific longer-term change people are expected to make in their lives due to (1) equitable access to nutritious food, and (2) food education, as well as how the community can experience longer-term change due to (3) growing a thriving local food system, and (4) Project GROWS’ collaborations and resource sharing.

All this work is expected to make the systems change of increasing food security, improving community health, and increasing community wellbeing.


WHY Individual Success is Expected to Results in Systems Change

You probably noticed the numbers in the Strategic Impact Map™. It’s not enough to hope that programs result in longer-term change, we need research and thought leadership which shows why we believe longer-term change is likely to happen.

Project GROWS had a lot of their citation already in hand, and the ImpactStory™ Resource Library is always helpful.

Here’s Project GROWS citation page. Each reference number in the Strategic Impact Map™ is linked to one of these easy-to-access citations. You don’t need a ton of citations, just enough to link everything together.


Project GROWS’ Business Plan and Why It’s a Good Idea

A two-page Strategic Impact Map™ can be created for any nonprofit or funding organization.

Page one: outlines the business plan for mission fulfillment, including the immediate impact KPIs that are being measured.

Page two: links immediate impact KPIs to longer-term impact and a vision for systems change – that’s why the business plan is a good idea.

Here’s a link to Project GROWS’ Strategic Impact Map™ so you can get a closer look!




FYI – Strategic Impact Maps™ are the focus of sessions 2, 3, and 4 in the ImpactStory™ Academy.


Thank you for all for all the goodness you’re putting into the world!

– Maryfrances

Your ImpactStory™ Coach

Learn more in the ImpactStory Academy!


Partnerships for Strategic Impact®

At Partnerships for Strategic Impact®, I have all the tools to build out the structures and strategies you need for tracking and using impact. I train social sector staff in how to use these tools, in how to analyze data, in how to make action steps for change, and how to tell powerful impact stories. My goal is your sustainability: I provide just the right amount of coaching and ongoing support to ensure success.

This is within reach. It’s not harder than managing your budget. Plus, you, your funders, and the people you serve deserve to know more about the value your organization delivers.

If you’re reading this, then you’re already part of my network. Schedule some time on my calendar. There’s no sales pitch and no obligation. Just curiosity and answering your questions. I am the seasoned program-evaluation, program-development, data-storytelling partner you need, right in your back pocket. I am here to bring order to the process of figuring out how to track and use your impact story.

– Maryfrances

Your ImpactStory™ Coach

Want even more?

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By Published On: June 4th, 2024Categories: Blog - Solid FrameworkComments Off on Part 3: Project GROWS Links Individual Success with a Vision for Systems Change