The TechPaks initiative is a partnership between Tech Dump, PCs For People, Literacy Minnesota, Saint Paul Public Library and Ramsey County, bringing computers, internet and digital literacy training into the homes of Ramsey County residents who have experienced economic impacts due to COVID-19. Ecotone helped identify the projected impact that this initiative will have. 

The Importance of Impact Measurement and Management

Ecotone conducted an impact analysis to identify the projected social value that could be realized by this initiative. The analysis shows the full picture of the long-term projected benefits that providing these tools to households create. It also helps program leaders evaluate the effectiveness of the program as well as communicate how essential digital literacy is, especially in the COVID era. Having a quantified example to point to when explaining the importance of this initiative and similar ones provides proof that it can create lasting effects for the community. 

Illustrating the Current and Projected Impact of TechPaks

Ecotone identified:

  • A projected Social Return on Investment (SROI): For every dollar invested there is a projected SROI of $2.40 (figure based on 500 TechPak model)
  • An estimated 1.85 million dollar return on the estimated cost of 770,400 for the original TechPak model (figure based on 500 TechPak model) 
  • Monetized outcomes that create this return include:
    • Increased earnings from increased employment and promotion, and education due to digital skills gained
    • Increased earnings from connection to job opportunities otherwise not reachable
    • Increased educational attainment – GED and Post-secondary
    • Improved school outcomes for children with access to a computer
    • Improved quality of life / value of the personal use of a computer (for recipient only)
    • Improved quality of life for older residents through improved mental health 
    • Avoided GHG emissions from refurbished laptops. 

Ecotone’ Impact Value Map shows more detail on the outcomes created through the TechPaks initiative and who sees these benefits 

To arrive at the data illustrated in the Impact Value Map, Ecotone first created tools that:

Detail the logic used to identify impact:

Specify unique measures of performance to track impact:

Communicate the type of change that’s being created

Continued potential

This is an exciting project example because of the way that business, government and non profit came together for the TechPaks initiative. The Impact Overview is a visual representation of the impact that was created by this partnership.

Some of the people from TechPaks that worked on this with us also see opportunities to use this work in other projects the county is working on such as in the corrections department. They can use this project as an example of how it demonstrated the impact and how that can be applied in the corrections realm among others. 

Based on its analysis Ecotone made recommendations for future impact measurement, operational management, and strategic opportunities to consider pursuing. This includes using the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Impact Management Project’s 5 dimensions of impact as a way to communicate the type of change that the Techpaks initiative is creating, as well as continuing to track the participants of the initiative to better understand the complete impact its having and what community needs it is addressing. 

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