Measuring social impact is the process of gauging how an organization’s activities change a community’s lives. The approach focuses on the social change experienced by the beneficiaries. To measure social impact, an organization needs to collect real-time data. Organizations measure social effects to prove that their activities make the world a better place, align the results with organization strategy, use that information to solicit funding and marketing purposes, and use surveys to understand the audience’s views in order to make any necessary adjustments.
Who to Involve in Measurement
Organizations should consider involving internal stakeholders in the measurement process. Later, they should apply the external stakeholders who might be funders, beneficiaries, or partners who can help them brainstorm. Bringing stakeholders together allows organizations to add value to their evaluation work.
What to Measure
At this stage, the organization should identify important outcomes for itself and the general public. Liaising with stakeholders helps an organization to determine the results that should be measured. Some of the metrics an organization can use to measure social impact are whether their activities helped reduce carbon emissions, the number of people who currently have a sustainable flow of income, and the number of people their organization has rehabilitated from drug dependency.
How to Measure
After identifying what to record, an organization can gather data in various ways. Many organizations are inclined to use several methods and combine them to get a broad picture.
It’s helpful to take a before snapshot so there is data to compare with an after-program assessment. If a program runs for an extended amount of time, the organization will have a lot to analyze. Additionally, an organization can decide to collect data during a specific time of the program, much like a project snapshot. The primary aim is to collect real-time information from the people impacted by their activities.
To get effective results, an organization should mix both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. Qualitative data features subjective data like videos, images, and quotes. On the flip side, quantitative information features financial and numerical data.
It is imperative to ensure that an organization’s data collection method is appropriately sensitive for the target population. Organizations are advised to stick to one measurement method for a specific period to track progress from one season to another.