This month’s featured topic focuses on Measuring your Impact - Impact Analysis for your Venture. The National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NCVO) defines impact as ‘the difference your organization makes.’ With the help of this month’s Featured Topic, you will be able to develop the skills and techniques necessary to evaluate and assess the impact of your organization. Impact Analysis is one of the most vital aspects of sustaining a successful social venture, and through the help of books, articles, websites, videos and other resources provided as part of this month’s Featured Topic, you will be able to acquire the tools required to ensure your venture’s success and positive impact.
Big Ideas Summary
The recent global financial crisis has led to many governments, individuals, and corporate foundations being more selective about where they invest their money. It is therefore vitally important that social ventures be able to show the successful impact of their organizations and projects. Social Impact Advisors, Greg Hills and Marc Pfitzer, recently wrote: “Only by tracking both the social and business results and how they’re connected can organizations hope to have a large-scale social impact.” It is therefore integral for social ventures to evaluate and analyze their impact on a continual basis, and by using the tools and techniques provided in this month’s Featured Topic, you will be better prepared to analyze the success and impact of your social ventures.
Video 1. Thought leadership in social return on investment. In this short video, Executives from Social Asset Measurements discuss the positive impact that SROI can have on organizations and foundations.
Video 2. Testimony from Social Asset Managements’ clients about the impact that the Social Return on Investment Methodology has had on their organizations.
Video 3. A presentation given by Karim Harij, Co-founder of SocialFinance.ca, entitled: Measuring Social Enterprise Impacts and Benefits: Emerging Approaches and Issues. Examines the SROI methodology and provides a number of useful impact analysis resources.
Video 4. A Ted Talk given by Melinda Gates about what not-for-profits can learn from Coca-Cola when it comes to marketing and Impact Analysis. She discusses the importance of Real-Time Data analysis and the need for constant impact analysis within organizations.
Twitter Accounts to Follow
Website 1. Through the use of technology, Social Asset Measurements Inc. (SAM) helps non-profits, for-profits, as well as the public sector, measure the impact of their organizations.
Website 2. By using the Social Return on Investment Methodology (SROI), SAM is able to customize the following SROI steps to better suit individual organizations and foundations:
- Scope Setting
- Mapping Outcomes
- Evidencing Outcomes
- Establishing Impact
- Calculating the SROI
- Reporting, Using, and Embedding
Website 3. Social Asset Measurements' Blog is on impact metrics, provide you with insights from a number of SROI advisors.
Website 4. The Global Impact Investing Network is a non-profit organization that focuses on increasing the degree and effectiveness of impact investment.
Website 5. For those projects that are focused on working with people, The Outcomes Star, is great tool for helping you measure the impact of your project. The Outcomes Star consists of 15 different versions that will allow you to adapt these measurement tools to your particular project.
Article 1. In his article, Best Bits: Measuring and Demonstrating Impact, director of undergraduate programs at the University of Southampton, Dr Pathik Pathak discusses the vital need for social enterprises to ‘pack the biggest social punch in order to win funding, investments and contracts.’ Dr Pathak goes on to examine the importance of impact evaluations, and how they can help social ventures ‘pack that big punch.’
Article 2. In her article, Measuring the impact of your organization's work, Liza Ramrayka suggests that it is imperative that organizations and social ventures direct some of their resources towards measuring their impact. She explains that in the ongoing competition for funding, many decisions are being based on whether organizations ‘have outcomes measurement systems, and not whether they run a service efficiently.’ Ramrayka provides readers with tips and free online tools that organizations can make use of to measure the impact of their work.
Article 3. The Grameen Foundation is a Washington, DC, based organization that focuses on helping social enterprises determine their client’s needs and assessing the impact and efficiency of their programs and organizations. In this TriplePundit interview, Grameen Foundation’s VP of Poverty Insights, Steve Wright, discusses what the organization offers and how it can help other social enterprises. Read Raz Godelnik’s article, Grameen Foundation Helps Social Entrepreneurs Measure Their Impact, to learn more about the Grameen Foundation and how they are helping social enterprises.
Article 4. A Business Impact Analysis Checklist: 10 Common BIA Mistakes, provides you with the 10 most common mistakes made when conducting a Business Impact Analysis. From paying too much attention, to paying too little attention, Executive Principal of Risk Masters Inc. Steve Ross, discusses what to be aware of and which pitfalls to avoid when generating your BIA.
Article 5. Developed by NGO-IDEAS.net, the NGO-IDEAS "Impact Toolbox": Participatory Monitoring of Outcome and Impact, provides you with a combination of tools to help you assess and monitor your project outcomes and impacts. The tools offered in the ‘Impact Toolbox’ are simple and participatory, both in terms of time and financial requirements, and can be easily applied to both NGO activities or other grassroots organizations and projects.
Article 6. In this short article, DoSomething.org, provides social entrepreneurs with a list of 11 Things to Know About: Measuring Your Impact. It examines how not-for-profit organizations can go about measuring their impact and implementing performance metrics.
Article 7. Once you’ve measured your project’s impact and collected all the data, what do you do with all that information? Jeff Bladt and Bob Filbin, explain how to translate all that data and information into something guiding and useful in their article, A Data Scientist's Real Job: Storytelling.
Book 1. Created by The World Bank, The Handbook on Impact Evaluation: Quantitative Methods And Practices provides readers with a comprehensive overview of the methods and practices used in impact evaluation. Referencing a wide spectrum of research and broad-based literature, The Handbook draws on real world examples to examine everything from evaluation approaches to experimental and non-experimental methods for designing impact evaluations. The Handbook will help you understand the nature of impact evaluations and what methods and models can best be used to develop such evaluations.
Book 2. Written by leading corporate web site consultants Robert W. Buchanan and Charles Lukaszewski, Measuring the Impact of your Website, provides you with all the tools and tips you may need to evaluate and maximize your website’s impact. The book examines the importance of assessing such essentials as site traffic, customer behavior, and return on investment. The book offers guidelines, tips and advice on how to measure, evaluate and optimize the impact of your website.
Book 3. Is my program meeting its goals and objectives? Is my program effective? How can outcome information be used to improve my program? Robert L. Schalock’s book, Outcome-Based Evaluation, seeks to answer these questions and many more. Schalock’s book covers a vast range of social service evaluations including: education, health, mental health, aging, and substance abuse. This is a great book for those looking for advice and suggestions on how to best apply Outcome- Based Evaluations to their own projects.
Book 4. Enterprise Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis: Best Practices, by Andrew Hiles, focuses on the riskier side of business ventures, and provides readers with guidance on how to best understand, identify and control the risks confronting businesses. The tools presented in this book are integral for both business success and survival. Hiles makes use of real case examples to demonstrate the best practices in risk management and assessment. Hiles suggests that by picking, matching, and tailoring from the cases and examples provided in the book, individual organizations and projects could develop their own ‘right way’ of risk management.
Book 5. Available as an interactive textbook on WorldBank.org, the Impact Evaluation in Practice is a great resource that provides an overview of what impact evaluation is about and why organizations should implement such measures. The book examines common evaluation practices, the formulation of evaluation questions and how to adapt these to your organization’s policy so as to determine the type of evaluation that will be best suited for your organization or project.