Purpose Built Toolkit 1.0: Planning for Impact: A guide to impact-driven design

Jan 1, 2014

Best results occur when a project is built with purpose -- grounded in a clear and strategic mission that informs design decisions, with a scope that matches what its organization can afford to build, operate, and maintain. Planning for Impact is a prospective tool that serves as a guide to help funders and nonprofits looking to invest in or evaluate capital infrastructure strike the right balance between a project's mission, design, and feasibility. The tools follow this structure to help a project team navigate decision making throughout the process.

Often the scope of work associated with completing a capital project is limited to Design and Construction. However, a Purpose Built process goes beyond this, recognizing five phases necessary to achieve a successful capital project -- Visioning, Planning, Design, Construction, and Occupancy. The Visioning phase ensures the mission of the project is aligned with an organizational mission and positioned to achieve greater results. Planning highlights considerations necessary to ground the project mission in reality and prepare the organization to lead the process and anticipate the end result. The Design phase provides guidance for aligning the mission of the project with the project's form, fabrication, and function. Construction includes items for an organization to assess as the project is implemented. Lastly, as capital projects continue to evolve, the Occupancy phase provides resources to evaluate the success of the project in the short and long term and adapt the end result as necessary.

Capital projects are almost always complex and complicated; Planning for Impact aims to both convey this reality, and provide tested and informed methodologies that simplify and untangle the process. Our team hopes that future projects will benefit from this research effort -- fulfilling their inherent potential to help nonprofits achieve new and sustainable levels of impact.