The Evolution of my Perspective on Impact

LEAP Summer Internship Experience

By Emma Hogeterp

 
 

In a country with over 170,000 non-profits, what does deep impact look like? How should we think about creating and measuring it? What does it mean to communities who experience issues linked to socioeconomic inequities?

I have thought deeply about these questions throughout my undergraduate career in Honors Business Administration at Ivey Business School and Honors Specialization Global Development Studies at Huron University College. Finding my “middle” between the business acumen I gained at Ivey and the social justice-oriented thinking I developed at Huron led me to the social impact space.

My summer internship at LEAP | Pecaut Centre for Social Impact gave me the opportunity to find that “middle.” For the first time, I was able to work through my questions about impact in hands-on work at the Centre. Although I worked on several exciting projects, three of them evolved my perspective on impact the most:

1. Due Diligence on Indigenous-Focused Charities – Through due diligence on Indigenous-focused charities, LEAP enabled me to apply knowledge from courses I had taken, including Decoloniality, in a real-world context. I learned that “impact” means very different things to different communities – for example, it may mean holistic wellbeing or Mino Bimaadiwizin (the way of a Good Life). As such, it is important to take the time to build relationships, understand the communities’ goals and ally with communities as we learn more about the charities and potential partners with LEAP.

2. The Google Impact Challenge (GIC) Year End Event – I had the privilege of supporting the GIC Year End Event and attending learning sessions alongside ten incredible non-profits.   Collectively, we reflected on the importance of impact measurement, and specifically Social Return on Investment (SROI). I now believe that a quantitative measurements are important for both informing stakeholders and assessing impact internally. However, solely using SROI to compare charities is like comparing apples to oranges – it is critical to inform quantitative analyses with contextual information such as stories from people participating in an intervention to get a full picture.

3. Screening Incoming Charities – By performing an initial due diligence screen on 39 charities, I become familiar with several interventions across education, employment, and health. I began to look for whether programs addressed the symptoms or root causes of an issue as well as how sustainable their outcomes could be. Identifying the interventions that were both deep and scalable was a key learning for me.

My gratitude goes out to the LEAP team’s commitment to supporting my development and giving me the opportunity to work on projects I am passionate about. I look forward to sharing my learnings with my peers during my final year of undergrad and pursuing a full-time career in social impact!