A recent article by the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) discussed the importance of establishing shared social-impact measurement in order to strengthen the European social economy. According to SSIR, social impact measurement helps organizations working on similar social issues better understand the aggregate impact of their interventions and increase the impact of their collective efforts. It also helps individual organizations learn from and improve their activities, prioritize interventions, and access additional funding. While the article was focused on the European Union, the principles of social-impact measurement can be applied to any type of social-good network whether geographical or united by a common funder.
In order for a social-good network to build their impact measurement capabilities, SSIR recommends that social-good networks develop a strong impact measurement culture that includes: training staff to be data-driven, promoting social impact measurement frameworks and standardization, and enabling network-wide data sharing.
Training Staff to be Data-driven
According to the Harvard Business Review, creating a data-driven culture starts at the top with leadership. Leadership must lead through example and set the expectation that all decisions must be anchored in data. Leaders of social-good networks can ensure community-wide success by developing a data-driven culture of collaboration and continuous improvement that increases the capacity of participating organizations and dramatically improves outcomes for those receiving services.
Leaders also must set the expectation that staff must be proficient with data. Data proficiency is the ability to collect, manage, evaluate, and apply data to solve challenges. It is the critical thinking that social-good professionals must actively practice in order to ask the right questions and evaluate outcomes, while eliminating as much implicit bias as possible. Leaders also set expectations about what they expect staff to measure. This is accomplished by establishing a social-impact measurement framework.
Social Impact Measurement Frameworks
A social-impact measurement framework helps individual organizations to set better strategies, align their teams, improve performance, and increase their impact. Collectively, social impact measurement frameworks help the entire network understand the aggregate impacts of their efforts so they can focus on the programs and interventions that have the most impact.
The first step to creating a social-impact measurement framework is developing a logic model or road map that outlines the three types of data that need to be collected: outputs (what happened), quality (how well something was done), and outcomes (how clients are better off). The next step is implementing the data infrastructure to collect and share the data across the social-good network.
Enabling Network-wide Data Sharing
In order to drive system-wide social change, SSIR recommends that EU corporations and foundations should promote EU-wide data sharing related to social impact. This level of data sharing enables leaders to understand what programs and interventions have the most impact for the network as a whole. It also enables the network to invest in the most effective programs and scale them in order to create system-wide social change.
SureImpact is a user-friendly case management platform that acts like a collective impact outcomes generator. SureImpact is specifically designed to provide the data collection and impact reporting infrastructure that connects all members of the social-good ecosystem with real-time data, while also meeting the unique data-collection and reporting needs of each organization. SureImpact’s collaborative data model is designed to help individual providers to manage, measure, and communicate their social impact while also giving backbone organizations and funders the aggregate real-time insights that demonstrate what types of interventions are most beneficial to solve network-wide social problems and increase their social return on investment.
SureImpact and Measurement Resources are sister companies that partner to help social-good networks manage, measure, and communicate their unique social impact. Measurement Resources provides consulting services that help social-good networks use performance measurement to improve programs, outcomes, and lives, and to accelerate social change. SureImpact automates and simplifies the process of collecting and sharing this data. Together, Measurement Resources and SureImpact provide the industry expertise and powerful data collection and reporting platform to help social-good networks establish shared social-impact measurement that drives network-wide social change.
To learn more, check out our on-demand webinar “Turning Impact Measurement into Equitable & Thriving Communities."