How to Measure Social Impact

How to Measure Social Impact

The goal of social impact is to affect positive change in communities on a local or global scale. Businesses and organizations that prioritize social impact can spark productive and meaningful change.


Social Impact Definition

Any improvement that confronts or resolves inequalities and injustices in a community is referred to as having a social impact. Businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, among others, can all make a difference on a small and large scale. Instead of focusing on financial or personal gain, groups that advocate for social impact consider the impact their actions have on the surrounding community. Because social impact advocates address systemic issues, the work and outcomes of social impact necessitate a series of actions rather than a single event.


Types of Social Impact

There are four different types of social impact:

1. Direct impact: Organizations and businesses create direct impacts through the use of their products or services. Direct impacts can be quantified and measured because they outline how an organization's interactions produce results.

2. Indirect impact: The most common type of indirect impact is partnerships. When a company or organization collaborates with community partners to effect social change, the results are a type of indirect impact.

3. Negative impact: The inverse of positive impact, negative impact refers to any change that has a negative impact on a community or the environment. An increase in pollution is an example of a negative environmental impact.

4. Positive impact: Any beneficial improvement initiated by an organization is a form of positive impact. Positive business impacts include improving gender equality in the workplace and implementing well-being workshops.


How to Make a Social Impact

Consider the following steps for developing and implementing a systemic change social impact initiative:

Determine which social issues you want to address. You and your organization can address a wide range of issues, from social justice concerns to environmental concerns. Consider holding a meeting with key stakeholders to determine which issues are most important to you all. Consider how various social issues relate to your mission statement as you discuss them. During this first stage of decision-making, you and your team should select a social challenge that is related to your purpose, so that your vision can be more easily integrated into your business strategy.

Consider your objectives. Outline short-term and long-term development goals to make your vision a reality after deciding on a social issue to focus on. Setting benchmarks provides your team with actionable steps. Create a project timeline as you outline your goals so that everyone is on the same page.

Know your resources. Identifying your organization's resources aids in determining how best to support local communities. Consider the financial resources you have available to devote to social impact projects. Volunteers, facilities, and supplies are also resources, so include them on your checklist.

Make contact with community partners. Connect with other changemakers in your community to form long-term alliances. You and your team can scale projects and make a bigger impact by collaborating with other groups and volunteers.

Plan and carry out development initiatives. Create a development program that addresses your social issue using your goals and resources. Discuss how your organization can incorporate social impact work into your business model to foster commitment to initiating change.


How to Measure Social Impact

When assessing your social impact, concentrate on quantifiable metrics that can be used to track and report your progress.

1. Create a social impact assessment. Create a social impact assessment in order to create annual reports. Interview team members who volunteered or contributed to the project to gather anecdotes and first-person accounts of the positive impact. Use this qualitative data in conjunction with your metrics to create a report that summarizes your work.

2. Ascertain quantifiable metrics. Create various frameworks for collecting data on your progress as a team. Consider comparing your supply chain's carbon footprint from different years to highlight your decrease in emissions and commitment to combating climate change, for example, if you want to outline your organization's sustainability practices. Integrate software that measures quarterly donations, volunteer hours, and other forms of social impact metrics into your company's system to streamline data collection.

3. Describe the five Ws. "Who," "what," "where," "when," and "why" are the five Ws. Outline who or what your social impact helps, as well as when and where you started the project, as you review your progress. Explaining these details provides a solid foundation for communicating your findings.