Suggested Time

Min. 4-6 hours for preparation and engaging with other stakeholders

Level Of Difficulty

M&E Capacity Required

Materials Needed

List of storytellers, workshop materials, visualisation tools


5. Report & Reflect


What changes are most relevant and lessons can be learnt and documented? What are the drivers of the change or lack thereof?

Impact Story Toolkit

Impact stories are a useful way to systematically documenting anecdotal evidence that expected activities occurred, and the perceived results thereof. This approach is useful in contexts where M&E or research capacity is limited. This is also useful in contexts where there is limited documented results or lessons.

The definition of ‘Impact’ in this approach may also include outcomes. Partners and stakeholders may verbally share their lessons learnt, personal experiences, or individual change stories. These might not necessarily happen at the wider societal level or contribute to the longer-term outcomes. Nonetheless, these are important stories of the changes that the project has influenced. The following steps are adapted from the DGMT Impact Story Tool. These provide a guide on how to use the template in collecting impact stories.

Steps to creating an impact or outcome story

There are 5 steps to collecting an impact story. These steps are clearly described below:

Step 1: Select your impact story tellers

  • Before collecting your Impact stories, you will need to identify a list of stakeholders you will collect the stories from.
  • Identify a list of individuals that are representative of each type of stakeholder and/or role in the project context.
  • The selected individuals should have significant experience in the initiative (i.e. more than 2 years involved in the initiative activities).
  • Schedule an appointment with each stakeholder to conduct an interview at least a week in advance.
  • Using the Impact Story Tool, create categories for the expected results.

Step 2: Unpack the change

  • Request the stakeholder to describe the what they understand has changed (impact/outcome) since the initiative, who affected the change, and what the value of the change is.
  • Discuss how the initiative is related to the change.
  • Encourage the stakeholder to provide as much details as possible (locations, dates, number of participants, etc).

Step 3: Catergorise the change

  • Using the draft list of categories, request the stakeholder to select which are most relevant to the initiative and the change shared.

Step 4: Attributing Change

  • Discuss whether the stakeholder thinks that the initiative has influenced the changed discussed, and to what extent. Request specific examples of the contribution of the initiative to the change.

Step 5: Verify

  • Request the name and contact details or reference document/source that can be used to corroborate the stories.
  • Depending on the number of stories collected you will either use a sample, or verify all.
  • The purpose is to confirm that the change discussed, is true and valid.

You can download the Impact Story Toolkit Guide and Templates from the links below:

Impact Story Guide and Impact Story Template

Outcome Story Templates in different languages can be downloaded from the links below:

Outcome Story Template (English and French)

Outcome Story Template (Spanish)

Additional resources can be found on the following links:

DMGT Impact Story Learning Brief and NCVO Impact Story Guide

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