Customizable Impact Tracker
TRACKING IMPACT FOR JOURNALISM
This framework is based on a portion of Resolve’s impact tracking both as an organization and the impact our journalism has on the communities we cover. This is a specific adaptation that focuses on tracking impact and activities that are connected to publication/production in our journalistic work.
This framework is designed with the purpose of capturing content and data that would be useful to include in reports, retrospectives and other deliverables that may be tied to a body of work.
The way Resolve tracks its activities is in two ways: incoming feedback from others and work we accomplish that has internal and external implications. We have a really broad definition, but it’s important for each organization to set their own definitions.
Activity Description — This is where you write out a description of the impact activity you’re tracking. These should contain enough detail that someone reading back isn’t left with a bunch of questions. Essentials are the who, what, and where.
Project/Initiative — This is a space where you can get more specific details on what you’re working on. Maybe your collaboration has a sub-project, like a branded series or temporary hyperfocus on a topic. This will help you easily find all the work related to those specific things with little to no effort.
Person — If you want to keep track of who can take “ownership” of an activity, I find it best to have in a column. We have a small team so it’s very manageable but that can change depending on the number of people who are feeding in data, and whether that level of detail is important to your organization.
Kind of impact — This is a space to create a categorization of impact that’s custom to the work you’re doing. Instead of replicating what’s here, think about the kinds of impact you want to be tracking and how you would label them.
Related Content — When you’re recording an activity or impact directly related to an article, video, or other content that has been produced, you can link it here. If it’s related to multiple stories, you’re able to link all of them.
Scale and Scope can be used together, but don’t think of them together. These should be able to have any combination between the two.Scale of impact — A classic measure, scale gives us a dimension at which we can asses the level of impact work has had. We use Micro (changes to individuals), Meso (changes to groups), and Macro (changes to systems).
Scope of impact — Another of the classic measures of things, we use this to determine an approximate geographic reach for our impact. We like to use Internal, Local or National as the measures.
Related Deliverable — If you have specific deliverables you need to work toward, this is where you can indicate what deliverable each activity is connected to. This can help you start to build a narrative around how you achieve things, or provide the context you might need to reorganize your priorities.
Other recommended columns for impact tracking include things like links and attachments for articles about the work you’re doing, photos from events, and anything else you think of that you’d like to collect.
This is a section in Resolve’s impact tracking that is almost entirely automated. Using Zapier, we can update Airtable automatically when our intern posts Broke in Philly content to the Broke in Philly website. This kind of automation is possible through tracking one or various RSS feeds, creating a collection in a tool that integrates with Zapier, or pretty much anything Zapier can do. There are some fields that need to be filled in manually, but most content does not need to be.
This is a small table that separates the partners or entities that are in your collaboration. It’s not necessary, but if you want to build out a CRM function in your impact tracking, it’s essential for denoting organizations that you partner with.
This is something that can help with specific deliverables that you need to achieve as part of a project. By attaching a deliverable to an impact activity, you can quickly build a narrative around each deliverable, grant or other larger thing.