Impact is defined as “the effect or influence of one person, thing or action on another.” This measurement is typically quantitative and can be a highly indicative way of demonstrating to donors and board members how each dollar touches those in need. While impact measurement has come to be a trusted tool under ideal circumstances, it has proven to be a moving target in the days of Covid-19.
As a small non-profit Kinneret Council on Aging has built our systems based on ‘size matters.’ Under normal circumstances we would follow the rubric, “the most impact is gained from those programs that touch the most people.” Today we are redefining ‘impact’ by looking at each person’s experiences. The science of measurement is being recast with the insight of human experience.
At KCOA, an independent living facility in downtown Orlando, public areas available for residents to meet and congregate have been severely restricted. To counter this, we have created new programs such as a pen-pal program with a local synagogue’s 7th grade Hebrew school class. We have 100 of our 308 residents actively reaching out on our newly created Resident Facebook page. We have one resident who has chosen to use this time to learn how to blow a shofar for the new year and two residents have gotten involved in making masks for a local hospice.
The numbers appear small. Yet, we are reaching those who want to be reached the most. Our residents have been given access. This has opened the door to connection, positivity and hope. Each experience has had a ripple effect and has spread throughout our community like a single flame lighting many candles.
While small growth has its place, we are not letting up on our commitment to large scale impacts. Just last month, we launched the creation of a large and very beautiful Zen-like garden to be enjoyed by all residents. Views can be enjoyed through the large windows that make the entire garden accessible from both inside and outside.
At KCOA, we haven’t found the perfect word to define our impact under Covid-19, but we have concluded that sometimes it’s not about “the science” of what we do but “the art.”