This section is about maximising your communication and impact. Your communications and impact strategy is a more comprehensive plan to achieve and maintain your outlined Pathway to Impact made at the application stage.
This section includes a step-by-step guide which takes you through each stage of the process, including setting objectives, developing key messages, identifying your audience and getting them involved and measuring success.
It also gives advice on planning and prioritising activities and allocating sufficient resources for them.
Opportunities for making an impact may arise at any stage during or after your research project. It is important that you have a strategy in place so that you can increase the chances of such opportunities occurring and are able to take advantage of them when they do.
The following template is designed to help you draft your impact strategy and should be completed once funded. For guidance on completing it, see the step-by-step guide above.
Top ten tips
- Begin your plan with a set of objectives that are clear, simple and measurable.
- Ensure that the objectives of your impact strategy don't simply restate the objectives of the project itself.
- Set out your key messages in clear, accessible language – audiences such as journalists and policymakers are overloaded with information and may not remember your messages if they are too complex.
- Try out your messages in different media, for example, a press release, a report, a newspaper article or a web page. This will help you find the most effective way of presenting them.
- Prioritise your target audiences and user groups according to their importance and influence relative to your objectives.
- Make sure you are using the most effective channels to communicate with your audience – think about the channels that your audience will prefer.
- Draw up a project plan that includes all the activities you intend to carry out, with deadlines, responsibilities and costs.
- Don't underestimate the time and money involved in carrying out your activities. Remember to include staff time as a cost.
- Ensure value for money by focusing on high impact/low cost activities and buying in specialist help where necessary.
- Build in some simple evaluation measures at the start so that you'll know if and how you have succeeded in meeting your objectives.