Meet Our Newest Impact and Strategic Clarity Alumni!

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On September 23rd and 24th, Innoweave organized Celebrations in Ottawa and Montreal to recognize the significant achievements of recent Innoweave Impact & Strategic Clarity (ISC) module graduates. Hosted by United Way Ottawa and Santropol Roulant, 10 organizations presented their journey through Innoweave’s Impact & Strategic Clarity process.

As we have heard time and again, success for a nonprofit begins with a clear and measurable intended impact. Since November 2012, over 90 Canadian community sector organizations have completed the 5-month process to help them understand the impact they’re having, and the opportunities to take that impact to the next level. Through the ISC module, Certified Impact Coaches help organizations develop a comprehensive response to a simple question:“What impact does our organization want to have in our community over the next 3-5 years”?

As you’ll see below, each organization came away from the 5-month coaching process with some clear aha moments and a greater sense of how they can be the change they want to see in the world. Read on to hear about how these organizations are having an impact.


Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 9.59.26 AM“Family Services is a 100 year-old, multi-service organization. Over the years, we have developed a large number of diverse programs to respond to community needs.  We found that the ISC process provided us with a great opportunity to test our assumptions about each of our programs and confirm that all of them are consistent with our agency mandate/mission and that they are leading to the measurable outcomes we want to achieve. In this process, our team began to think about the work that we do in a fundamentally different way. In the past, we tended to identify our programs by the internal silos with which they are managed.  The ISC module helped us to discover that our work falls into two streams – prevention and intervention.  This is one of our most valuable insights from the Innoweave process and has led to significant changes in how we think about our organization, interact with our clients and deliver our programs.” Laurie Rektor, Family Services Ottawa

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 9.58.09 AM“As a national organization with over 20 years experience in our work, we have always felt confident in our assertions about the impacts of our work. Past research and comprehensive program evaluations supported our assumptions related to our theory of change. However, the ISC process helped us dig deeper into our work, and examine critically, from multiple organizational and stakeholder impacts the many facets of what we actually do. This helped us to uncover some important aspects of our work that we had previously overlooked as integral to our theory of change. The ISC coaches played a critical role in constructively guiding our thinking and pushing our team to arrive at a common understanding of our work and intended impacts. As a result, we are reshaping our strategic plan to incorporate, with intentionality, several new components within our theory of change. We are extremely thankful to the McConnell Foundation for supporting us in participating in this extremely valuable process.”  – Leslie Cuthbertson, Senior Director Strategy and Organizational Development, Actua.

6 Ottawa-based ISC “graduates” presented their experiences at the United Way Ottawa-hosted event, led by ISC Coach Linda Graupner:

Santropol Roulant, a former ISC graduate themselves, also hosted a session led by certified ISC coaches Lara Evoy and Stephanie Garrow, where 4 ISC graduates presented their experience:

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“The Montreal Fluency Centre decided to involve key members representing our organization to participate in the Innoweave process. These members represented our clinical staff, the finance department, our administration/development side and our board of directors. We also periodically met with the larger team to ensure the engagement of the entire staff in the impact and strategic clarity process as well as gather feedback on the priorities we identified. This further helped us build a common understanding of what we do and where we need to grow in the future. As a result, everyone felt like they had a part in building this new plan for the Centre”. – Andrea Gingras, Clinical Manager, The Montreal Fluency Centre

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 9.59.47 AMWe knew the value of the Innoweave process, having completed the Social Enterprise module back in 2012-2013. The timing was right as we were looking to set a major expansion in our organization’s direction moving into the latter part of the decade. We needed to examine 4 significant organizational challenges that we knew needed a timely solution: 1) Our organization had almost doubled in revenues and employees in a 3 year period, yet funding for infrastructure, management & growth were not keeping pace. Managing growth was a major challenge. 2) The organization’s success was leading to new and broader opportunities. We could not be all things to all people and we needed to avoid mission drift. 3) Much of our work and true impact was being woefully under reported, due to multiple & very specific reporting requirements to multiple funders with no method or manpower to aggregate our overall community impact. 4) Succession was an issue with the Executive Director who had guided Causeway for 23 years planning to retire in three years. There was a need ensure a strong direction to take the organization through the period of leadership transfer. Our previous experience working with Innoweave consultants and within the constructs of the process, plus feedback from similar organizations made us realize that the Impact & Strategic Clarity process would be the most cost and time effective approach to work through these challenges. ISC offered the additional benefit of mutual problem-solving by allowing us an opportunity to build a stronger bond between our Board of Directors and our Senior Management Team. Having completed the ISC process, we found it an invaluable learning tool & a unifying experience for the entire organization as we confronted these challenges and developed a keen understanding of our impact and how we would move forward”. The Action Plan that resulted put into place a 5 year plan to address all 4 of our challenges through a graduated and theoretically, manageable approach. The Action Plan will be reviewed on an annual basis and adjusted as conditions dictate.” – Don Palmer, Executive Director, Causeway Work Centre

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 9.58.50 AM“The Impact and Strategic Clarity process presented us with an opportunity to be reflective about where we were as an agency and to truly think about what our promise was to the community we serve.  We had grown so quickly it was time to really check in to see if our work was meeting the outcomes for those we serve.  As a result we were able to clearly define what our Theory of Change is – or essentially what our promise is to our community and what we are asking funders to pay for.  We now feel we know what that promise is and have confidence in our direction as we move forward and move toward scaling up our services so that even more Inuit children and youth can live a good life.” – Karen Baker-Anderson, Executive Director, The Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre

Interested in having a greater impact within your organization?

Organizations interested in participating in the Innoweave Impact & Strategic Clarity module can visit to learn more, or view a free Innoweave Impact & Strategic Clarity module webinar, available here.

Organizations who apply for the Innoweave Impact & Strategic Clarity module are eligible to apply for funding to help with the cost of the module until January 4th, 2016. Interested organizations are encouraged to speak with one of our certified ISC coaches before applying for the module – see the full list here.

Many thanks to all of the organizations who presented at both events, and to our partners and hosts who provided their support and have seen the value in organizations going through the Innoweave Impact & Strategic Clarity Module.