Start Social Impact

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There is currently a lack of understanding and often confusion around the topic of social impact analysis. In addition, there is still limited awareness of social impact analysis as a profession and therefore a limited pool of practitioners who enter the field, often from a variety of backgrounds.

SIAA Start Social Impact programme seeks to tackle some of these issues through signposting information and opportunities for an entry level audience.

What is social impact analysis and how do I get involved?

Entry level resources and training opportunities are listed in the SIAA Resources Centre. Students are also eligible for a 20% discount on SIAA membership.

Take a look at how some of our members got involved


Impact and Advocacy Manager, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), CAF Global Alliance, UK

Luis specialises in economic and social impact analysis across international development; public policies for poverty and gender equality; and, development and humanitarian assistance. He has a strong international development background having previously worked for the UNDP, UNICEF, NGOs and international governments in several countries. Luis was awarded with a PhD in Social Policy by the University of Bristol after his research on economic and social impact of structural adjustment in Africa and Latin America.

Luis is responsible of the impact portfolio of CAF offices in America, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, India, Singapore, South Africa and United Kingdom. He is also responsible of CAF’s philanthropic global advocacy initiatives.

1. How did you get into Social Impact Analysis?

After years in academia and working with international organisations on their performance using results based management approaches and monitoring and evaluation.

2. How would you define Social Impact Analysis?

A new discipline that articulates knowledge from different scientific efforts to try to establish and measure the results of the activities carried out by all types of organisations and their positive or negative effects in the society, economy and the environment for present and future generations.

3. Can you describe a recent project you have worked on?

I am working with 9 of our offices in 9 countries developing their social impact strategies using a theory of change approach. I am also increasing their capacity to be able to measure the impact of certain donations that we facilitate internationally.

4. Can you explain a methodology that you have followed recently or one that you use frequently?


Midot, Israel

Midot is a non-profit organization (NPO) working to promote effectiveness among social investors and NPOs in Israel. We believe that in order to achieve greater impact for beneficiaries, social investors and NPOs must constantly seek to achieve their desired outcomes and approach their daily work in a very professional and methodological way. We aim to ensure that measuring tools in general, and the tools developed by Midot (the Hebrew word for both ‘measurement’ and `virtue`) in particular, will serve as fundamental components in the functioning of NPOs, and that effectiveness and impact will serve  as a central criteria in the considerations of social investors (donors).

1. How did you get into Social Impact Analysis?

We joined the international “movement” of Social Impact enthusiasts through research and constant consultation with peer organizations world-wide, learning and following market’ needs and trends. Initially our working model, or theory of change, was designed to respond to burning questions concerning the Israeli non-profit sector: transparency, informed decision making, and evidence-based results. Our social Analysts were trained in-house to be able to diagnose a charity, following our self-developed scale and multi-dimension methodology, and evaluate their performance and added value, based on charity’s outcomes.

Through our adolescent stage we changed our focus to effectiveness. In an effort to find the “Holy Grail” of impact measurement, we examined available methods and tools that will help us analyzing non-profit organizations and determine their likelihoods of being effective.

As Midot approaches its mature stage, we develop new products and services to serve a growing need in the Israeli philanthropic industry. We now understand that social impact matters to donors more than ever. It matters to Midot as well, being an actor who perceives itself as a catalyst for change towards a more strategic philanthropy.

2. How would you define Social Impact Analysis?

Social Impact Analysis (SIA) is a systematic approach that allows stakeholders to identify long term results of a service or a product, and its influence on the beneficiaries, and make informed decisions. Social Analysts use a variety of methods and tools to evaluate social interventions, and to assess their impact.  The goal of SIA is to drive improvements that increase the value of the service provider, or its model, and consequently to improve the quality of the life of the end client.

3. Can you describe a recent project you have worked on?

Midot was commissioned by five philanthropic foundations to map a defined field of activity within the industry, where hundreds of non-profit organizations provide services to hundred thousands beneficiaries. Midot will submit a report, following a year-long rigorous analysis that will analyze the social issue, define the field and its borders, map the various actors that play a role in the field, and describe their models of operation. The report will then also examine evidences for success of different interventions, as well as self-reported outcomes, and evaluate several best practices. The authors of the report also offer recommendations to donors and charities alike as for the application of shared measurement platform, metric and indicators. The goal of this report is to help charities improve their work by learning from others, expose the field to potential investors, and to create common language among stakeholders.

4. Can you explain a methodology that you have followed recently or one that you use frequently?

Midot offer various services to charities and to donors. One of our products is an analysis report, which follows a diagnostic process conducted by a Social Analyst, and is aimed at providing stakeholders with a foundation for informed decision making.

Our analysis uses a self-developed methodology, one that was shaped with consulting peer organizations, such as NPC, and existing tools, such as McKinsey’s OCAT. We use a generic and multi-dimension scale that evaluates the organization’s likelihood of being effective along several aspects: Planning, Performance, Learning, Leadership, Finances, Ethics, and Transparency. The process is voluntary, and its success is conditioned by the organization’s full collaboration with Midot. The analysis is based on site visit, interviews, questionnaires, documents, and on public information. Each organization is given a score that indicates whether it meets the requirements of the Midot seal of effectiveness. By the end of the process the organization is given a letter that elaborate on the analysis findings, and state recommendations for improvement.


We started working in this area last year with some research with the University of Birmingham which revealed how chaotic social impact measurement was in the housing sector.

We responded by asking Daniel Fujiwara, a Senior Econometrician at LSE who developed approaches to Wellbeing Valuation approach now used by Department of Work and Pensions, the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury,  to do some research on the Social Impact of Housing Providers using Wellbeing Valuation. This has been picked up enthusiastically as one of the first approaches designed around the needs of housing providers, whilst also being entirely compatible with developing government approaches to impact measurement.

We are now working with Daniel Fujiwara to develop practical and useful tools to apply the research, starting with a ‘Workbook’. This will be a comprehensive set of community investment metrics together with a user-friendly guide of what the metrics mean and how to use them. These will be published in October.

In parallel, we are working on a comprehensive social impact modelling, measurement and reporting system. Like our Open Data Community Insight tool, it will be a web-based system designed from the ground up to be user-friendly, to meet the needs of housing providers, and to be simple to deploy within organisations. The tool will also include a local economic impact element to enable the organisation to map of the impact of its business activities; in particular employment and procurement.

Managing Director, Intentionality CIC, UK

1. How did you get into Social Impact Analysis? 

I got into Social Impact Analysis as a combination of a background in the voluntary sector, some Masters research into the interplay between entrepreneurship and wellbeing, and a desire to start my own business. Out of that, Intentionality CIC was born, providing social impact consultancy to various voluntary and social enterprise sector clients.

2. How would you define Social Impact Analysis? 

Social Impact Analysis incorporates the understanding, measuring, maximising and reporting of the personal, social and environmental performance of a programme, project or organisation. In short, an understanding and a telling of a ‘story of change’ that takes into account the most important and valuable stuff of life.

3. Can you describe a recent project you have worked on? 

We’re currently working on providing social impact support and advice to all 30 social enterprises on UnLtd’s Big Venture Challenge, which involves raising their understanding of the field, advising them on tools and systems for measurement and data capture, developing measures for their impact on ‘soft’ things such as self-esteem, confidence or wellbeing, and equipping them to produce best practice impact reports to communicate their impact to their various stakeholders.

4. Can you explain a methodology that you have followed recently or one that you use frequently? 

We’ve recently used Social Return on Investment (SROI) with a client.  SROI attempts to assign monetary values to personal, social and/or environmental impacts so as to give them a common language alongside the financial inputs into a particular project or contract.  In this case, we assessed the impact of a social enterprise that creates apprenticeships for local young people on construction sites around London.  The report showed a positive social impact overall and revealed some interesting benefits for the construction industry and for society more widely, as well as for the young people themselves.

Phineo, Germany

1. How did you get into Social Impact Analysis?

After graduating from university with a degree in philosophy and political science I was looking for a way to “make a difference”. After working as an educational expert and for a European institution for a while I started being more and more interested in the nonprofit sector. I specialized in nonprofit management and monitoring & evaluation. After working in the field of Social Impact Analysis for about seven years now I think it is a great way to contribute to the important work of the nonprofit sector.

2. How would you describe Social Impact Analysis?

Nonprofit organizations play a crucial important role in addressing the world’s problems. Social impact analysis helps these organizations to understand and therefore to increase the impact they make with their work. It also helps donors to invest their money as effective as possible. Social Impact Analysis uses different approaches, methods and tools to analyze programs and interventions in the social sector.

3. Can you describe a recent project you have worked on?

Working as a Social Impact Analyst for PHINEO I’m responsible for conducting due diligence of NPOs with emphasize on organizations supporting underprivileged children, young people and their families. Based on the findings I prepare recommendations for NPOs on how to enhance their performance. Together with my colleagues I design training courses for NPOs on topics as theory of change, impact strategies, monitoring and evaluation. Recently I have authored a manual on social impact orientation for NPOs which have little experience with this topic.

4. Can you explain a methodology that you have followed recently or one that you use frequently?

The method PHINEO developed to analyze non-profit organizations allows us to gain a very comprehensive insight into a nonprofit organization and its work. Our method focusses on the organization itself looking at its vision and strategy, governance, finances and transparency as well as on the organization’s programs’ goals, concepts and the evidence of results.

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Take a look at SIAA Research Intern Sophie Pattison’s Starting Out in Social Impact blog!