The Power of a Strong Framework

A New Structure for the Social Sector


January 9, 2024

Maryfrances Porter


As a clinical psychologist and a trainer of new therapists, I know how important having coherence is. Giving something a name and defining it allows us to grab onto it, respond to it, plan for or around it.

Coherence gives shape to experiences that are complex and gives us the piece of mind to move forward with power and agency. As humans, we are constantly seeking coherence and the piece of mind that comes with it.


Structure Leads to Coherence

The work of nonprofits is complex. You surely have a deep, internal sense that your work is powerful and impacts the people you work with. Expressing this power and impact with coherence can be challenging.

Theories of Change and Logic Models are structures often offered to (or required of) nonprofits to build coherence and clarity about why and how programming is expected to work. But neither of these tools were developed specifically to meet the needs of nonprofit leaders. As a result, they can fall short of providing the coherence desired.


A New Structure for the Social Sector

My Strategic Impact Map is a structure which emerged directly out of my work with nonprofits, and which I created to give nonprofit leaders coherence and

piece of mind.

A Strategic Impact Map starts by linking your mission to how your programming immediately benefits the people you serve (immediate impact). The Map helpfully groups your programming so it is very clear which programs result in which specific impacts. (Funders can create Maps for their portfolios too!)

When programming is linked to specific impact it allows you to know exactly what to adjust to improve impact, and it allows you to calculate the cost of impact.

The Map links the immediate impact the people you serve walk away with to the longer-term change it allows them to make.

Over time, as many people are served, and in combination with other efforts across the community focused on systems change, community-level impact can be achieved – and with it, a vision for a more equitable and prosperous community.


Thank you for all your tireless work!

– 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

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By Published On: January 7th, 2024Categories: Blog - Solid FrameworkComments Off on The Power of a Strong Framework