This week we are continuing to share all things IMPACT through a series of blogs hosted by Social Value UK (SVUK). The series has already covered what impact management is, why it’s important, and how to apply it to your charity, with tips and tricks along the way. SVUK will also be hosting one more live webinar; to stay tuned on all things impact related and more, sign up to our newsletter here. Here’s Part 5:
On a call today, it was highlighted that there are 160 different impact measurement methods, tools, or techniques. I couldn’t tell you if that number is accurate, or what all those methods are, but what it did highlight is that we are in a forest of tools, resources and advice around impact management, which can make it a challenge to know where to start, or which tool, method, resource or approach to follow.
Some key points to remember when choosing what’s right for your organisation:
Audience and Purpose: It’s a point that has been raised throughout this blog series, but a really important thing is to remember the purpose of what you are trying to measure, and the audience – who are you trying to talk to about your impact and for what reason? This should help to guide you towards what tools or systems you are going to use.
Social Value Principles: It is also imperative to remember to apply the social value principles in whatever ‘tools’, methods, or approaches you use.
It may not be just one method: choosing one way to measure is not the end of the process, and one option isn’t necessarily isolated from another. Things can be complimentary and blended. In SROI for example, it is expected that both qualitative and quantitative methods will be used in the process – talking to people openly so we are guided by people’s own lived experience, and actually measuring amounts of change to provide quantities that we can manage.
If you do want to choose a supportive software provider a good place to start looking is through the Social Value International Software Directory.
Some software providers are accredited through Social Value International, showing that the software enables a user to capture the information required to complete a Social Value analysis in line with the SVI framework for accounting. Some providers that are active in the UK are:
The key to using each of these platforms is a core focus on involving stakeholders.
Some other supportive tools are available through members of the SVI network:
myGVE – The Global Value Exchange is a crowd sourced database of Values, Outcomes, Indicators and Stakeholders.
Social Value Self-Assessment Tool – A quick online self assessment to test how far you are applying the Social Value Principles, and to give guidance on how to get better at measuring and managing your social value.
Twine – tools developed by Power to Change to gather, track and analyse data – including volunteer and visitor information – to paint a clearer picture of your organisation’s productivity and impact.
Social Suite – have been offering a COVID-tracking free social impact assessment part of their software through the current crisis.
Another that has recently been highlighted to me is Impactasuraus – free, online, and simple to use.
A Tool Is Only Part Of The Process
If you do invest in some new tools, it is important to remember that finding a system is not going to replace developing your practice, individually and as an organisation. The tool is only going to be as good as your ability to use it.
Aim for collaboration, not a silver bullet: To choose what is right for you and your organisation collaboration and having a collaborative mindset is really important. None of us can fulfil every skill and every area of work. Maybe what you need isn’t a ‘tool’ or a new system. Maybe what you need is support from a specialist. There are lots of different consultancies focused on supporting all kinds of different organisations, sectors, and geographies. Some of these linked to the SVUK network can be found on the Consultants page: http://www.socialvalueuk.org/services-support/find-a-consultant/ . Or another option to reach out to someone on the Register of SVI Practitioners, accredited through Social Value International in impact management and social value practice: https://socialvalueint.org/assurance/accredited-practitioners/register-of-svi-practitioners/
It is also really important to have tools, and methods that are useful and usable for our organisations. Focus on building on what you already have in place, and supporting your embedded practice.