BRIEFING FOR MEMBERS
MEASURING SOCIAL VALUE
What do we mean by measuring social value?
Over the last twenty years there has been increasing importance attached to measuring the social value and social impact that various organisations create. The demand for measuring this value comes from all sides: funders who want to direct their money to the most effective projects, policy makers and government officials have to account for their spending decisions, and social organisations need to demonstrate their impact to funders, partners and beneficiaries1. This has led to a growing interest in terms such as „value for money‟, „value added‟ and „outcomes‟ as ways to measure a organisations ...view middle of the document...
Being able to demonstrate social value can be hugely beneficial especially during current times of spending cuts and increased competition over scare financial resources. Furthermore in the non-profit sector good managers are very precise about tracking costs and incomes but few use sophisticated impact assessment approaches to help allocate resources. It should be noted that while measuring social value is a worthwhile and valuable objective, it can also be a very difficult and complex process with a number of challenges. It is therefore important for organisations to be fully aware of all the costs (time and resources) involved before deciding how to undertake social value assessment. This briefing paper will explore the following questions: Why is measuring social impact relevant for diaconal organisations? What are the different approaches to measuring social value? What are the challenges and drawbacks to measuring social value? How to decide which approach might best for an organisation to take? What‟s next?
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Mulgan, Geoff: Measuring Social Value (2010) Wood, Claudia & Leighton, Daniel: Measuring Social Value; gap between policy and practice (2010) Mulgan, Geoff: Measuring Social Value (2010)
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Eurodiaconia is supported under the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity (2007-2013). Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission. Eurodiaconia is a federation of organisations, institutions and churches providing social and health services and education on a Christian value base throughout Europe. Eurodiaconia is registered as an AISBL in Belgium.
Why is measuring social value relevant for diaconal organisations?
Organisations who have engaged in the process of measuring social value report the following benefits4: Better placed to justify the impact of any external funding received and defend their role in providing services more effectively. Able to make a stronger case for additional funding and further investment in advance. Focus efforts on what really makes a difference. This helps an organisation to plan more strategically and allocate resources more effectively. Continuous improvement by regularly going through the process of social value assessment. Develop stronger communication of the value of their work to the people that really matter. Helps to ask, and find answers to, the right questions. “We change people‟s lives for the better. How do I measure that?” “There are many different groups of people involved in or interested in my organisation. All these stakeholders seem to want different things. How do I prioritise them?” “I want to bid for work on a new social project. They‟ve asked about social benefits that are part of working with my organisation. What‟s the right answer?” “They say that what gets measured gets valued, but how do I measure a new skill, access to employment or changing attitudes to elderly people?” Measuring and demonstrating the value...