Resources » Topic » Principles and Standards
Books and Guides
This report by Lizzie Trotter, Jim Vine, Matt Leach and Daniel Fujiwara from HACT, produced in conjunction with Value Calculator, places robust values on the social impact of community investment activities. It includes values as well as practical guidance on how to apply them to achieve a basic assessment of social value using the Well-being Valuation approach.
The SROI Guide from The SROI Network, and related supplements provided, sets out a step by step approach to completing an analysis of social return. Essentially SROI maps out the value of your work using a set of principles.
The guide includes
- Social Return on Investment for social investing
- Social Return on Investment and commissioning
- Social Return on Investment - an introduction
Making Sense of Data and Information in the Social Sector, from Markets for Good, is a collection of selected readings from the previous year with ideas about how to upgrade the system for sharing knowledge in the social sector. The b-Book provides a range of perspectives on the most critical data-related challenges facing the social sector, and how these challenges can be addressed. Posts were chosen for their high readership, topic diversity, and thought leadership. The authors debate new and recurring hurdles in the social sector, like capacity and capital constraints; how qualitative data, including stories and beneficiary insights, can be incorporated into data-driven decision processes; and big-, medium-, and small-data management.
These documents explain the relationship between Social Return on Investment (SROI) and 1) Social Accounting and Audit (SAA), 2) GIIRS Ratings & Analytics (“GIIRS” stands for the Global Impact Investing Ratings System) a comprehensive, comparable, and transparent system for assessing the social and environmental impact of companies and funds with a ratings and analytics approach analogous to Morningstar investment rankings, and 3) IRIS (Impact Reporting and Investment Standards) standardized performance indicators to help an organization understand its impact in a credible and comparable way.
Evaluation has the ability to provide a wealth of information for grantmakers, as well as the organizations and communities they serve, to learn from. When done well, evaluation increases the capacity and improves performance of grantees. GEO provides funders with best practices to incorporate evaluation into their grantmaking through “four essentials:” Lead, Plan, Organize and Share.
This document from the SROI Network details the seven principles of Social Return on Investment (SROI).
The stories charities and social enterprises tell about the difference they make can engage, inform and inspire stakeholders. Clearly communicating the impact of your work is important. This document, developed for the sector, by the sector, offers a guide to help you think about how you should communicate your impact, and what you should communicate. This document sets out principles of good impact reporting, to help charities and social enterprises tell their own story about impact.
By using these principles to demonstrate their impact, charities and social enterprises can have a strong influence on how they are perceived. They can help to shift the prevailing focus away from concerns about administration costs or chief executives’ salaries, and towards what really matters: the difference they make in people’s lives.
IRIS is an initiative of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), a nonprofit organisation dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing. This three-page background document gives an overview of what IRIS is, why IRIS was created, and how IRIS benefits investors, fund managers, and companies.
This report from the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector convened by Independent Sector outlines 33 practices designed to support board members and staff leaders as they work to improve their operations. We encourage staff and volunteers to examine the Principles carefully and determine how they should be applied to their organization.
The Good Enough Guide helps busy field workers to address these questions. It offers a set of basic guidelines on how to be accountable to local people and measure programme impact in emergency situations. Its ‘good enough’ approach emphasises simple and practical solutions and encourages the user to choose tools that are safe, quick, and easy to implement.
This pocket guide presents some tried and tested methods for putting impact measurement and accountability into practice throughout the life of a project. It is aimed at humanitarian practitioners, project officers and managers with some experience
in the field, and draws on the work of field staff, NGOs, and inter-agency initiatives, including Sphere, ALNAP, HAP International, and People In Aid.
The Good Enough Guide was developed by the Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB). The ECB is a collaborative effort by CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam GB, Save the Children, and World Vision International.
On March 26, 2003, The Goldman Sachs Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation hosted over fifty funders at Goldman Sachs offices in New York to discuss the issues surrounding assessing social impact and social return on investment (“SROI”). We were pleased with the high level of interest in this topic and the insights articulated during the day’s discussions. Our focus was on two thematic fields: education/youth development and community development/employment.
The purpose of the meeting was twofold:
- To convene a cross-section of charitable and double bottom line funders to discuss and learn from various approaches to assessing social impact and social return on investment in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors
- To begin a dialogue on developing a common set of expectations for metrics or standards that could be used in the education/youth development and community development/employment sectors to assess the social impact of philanthropic and other social purpose investments.
In September 2011, 30 leaders in the field of social impact measurement came convened at an Impact Summit, where they discussed how to embed impact measurement throughout the UK social sector. This report by Benedict Rickey and Tris Lumley from NPC, and Matthew Pike from View, sets out the results of that discussion. It sows the seeds for the development of Inspiring Impact.
External Databases and Resources
The good evaluation of a project or a policy needs on the one hand thorough application of methodology up to the highest professional standards and is on the other hand a creative thought exercise: what do we really want to know and how to find out.
This resource provides information on the methodologies behind how the European Commission (EC) evaluates their projects or policies. It includes:
- Evaluation guides: for the geographical and thematic evaluations, for evaluation managers or evaluators and for project and programme evaluations, including checklists
- Methodological bases: subject, timing, utilisation, roles, method
- Tools: to structure an evaluation, to collect and analyse data, to assist the formulation of judgements
- Impact diagrams/indicators: a set of intervention logics, outlining key chains of results and a menu of example indicators for some key EC intervention sectors
- Overall assessment: the development of these documents has been accompanied by a group of international evaluation experts.
The GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines offer Reporting Principles, Standard Disclosures and an Implementation Manual for the preparation of sustainability reports by organisations, regardless of their size, sector or location. The Guidelines also offer an international reference for all those interested in the disclosure of governance approach and of the environmental, social and economic performance and impacts of organisations. The Guidelines are useful in the preparation of any type of document which requires such disclosure.
Learning About Our Impact and An Introduction to Impact Measurement from The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) are both available from BIG’s Thinking About Our Impact page. Learning About Our Impact is a report on BIG’s impact in the last year. An introduction to Impact Measurement is a handy guide for those new to impact measurement.
More than 6400 publications have now been selected by TSRC for inclusion in the Third Sector Knowledge Portal - an easy-to-use online library of research, evidence, and analysis.
It has been developed by TSRC in partnership with the British Library and the Big Lottery Fund, and brings together over 6000 works such as: impact reports from third sector organisations; academic research projects; government studies; and more, in one collection of downloads, links and summaries.
The Learning for Social Impact site, part of McKinsey’s Social Sector Office, was developed to help funders, their grantees, and other essential partners achieve social change by offering best practices, guidelines, tools, insights, and practical help in developing assessment plans that drive social impact.
Information is included on what social impact assessment is, their perspective on learning driven assessment, designing a learning driven assessment and voices from the field.
Bond’s Effectiveness Programme, Effectiveness & Transparency, provides practical help for NGOs to prove and improve their effectiveness through tools, insights and support. Five ways the Effectiveness Programme can help:
Health Check: Determine your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses
Impact Builder: Get indicators and tools to measure the effectiveness of your projects
Evidence Principles: Assess and enhance the quality of your evidence
Transparency: Improve trust and transparency through openness
Value for Money: Understand what it means for your organisation
The SRS suggests a structure for the impact-orientated reporting of social activities. The standard aims at improving transparency, accountability, and comparability in the sector while at the same time reducing complexity and resource requirements for social organisations. While the focus of the standard is on impact reporting, a report according to SRS also covers the fundamental elements of reporting usually found in financial statements, from organisational structure to financial information.
Inspiring Impact is a programme run by a collaboration of UK voluntary sector organisations and aims to change the way the UK voluntary sector thinks about impact. They have developed a range of resources including the Code of Good Impact Practice, Funders’ principles and drivers of good impact practice, Blueprint for shared measurement and more.
Tris Lumley Head of Development at NPC and trustee of SIAA talks about embedding impact measurement in practice.
Working Papers and Research
The Single Market Act II states that “the Commission will develop a methodology to measure the socio-economic benefits created by social enterprises. The development of rigorous and systematic measurements of social enterprises’ impact on the community is essential to demonstrate that the money invested in social enterprises yields high savings and income”. The Social Impact Measurement (GECES) sub-group was therefore set up in October 2012 to agree upon a European methodology which could be applied across the European social economy. This paper provides a summary of the report on social impact measurement.
The Social Impact Analysts Association’s (SIAA) Principles of Social Impact Analysis Mapping Exercise provides a summary of principle sets, governing different approaches to, measurement, analysis, reporting and use of learning from social impact assessment and evaluations. This resource was developed by the SIAA Working Group on Principles.
This paper by Ruth Puttick and Joe Ludlow introduces the Nesta Impact Investments Fund and the standards of evidence they use to ensure their investments make a positive social impact.
Many charities are very good at telling people about what they do—their outputs. But often, they struggle to translate this into what their work is actually achieving. How have their activities led to tangible changes in the lives of those they seek to help? NPC’s report by Eibhlin Ni Ogain, Jane Thomas, Mathilde Williams, Sarah Hedley, Sarah Keen and Tris Lumley looks at how charities in the UK talk about impact, and provides advice on good impact reporting.
The report details NPC’s analysis of the annual reports, annual reviews, impact reports and websites of 20 of the top 100 UK fundraising charities, highlighting examples of good practice, and offer advice for charities wishing to take the report’s findings on board, and take practical steps towards communicating what matters, in the most effective way possible.
This paper by John Hailey and Mia Sorgenfrei for International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC) responds to the current climate in which NGOs are under pressure to invest in evaluation and impact assessment. Funding constraints, calls for accountability, and concerns about quality and effectiveness have led to demands for more sophisticated performance measurement strategies. The authors chart how, historically, performance measurement systems have undergone similar evolutions in the public, private and non-profit sectors: from product to process orientation; from quantitative to qualitative methods and indicators. The development and relief arena presents its own challenges, as it is characterised by complexity, unpredictability and continuous change. This paper flags up key issues for practitioners such as how to choose appropriate approaches, how to apply them in a culturally sensitive way, how to ensure stakeholder participation and how to mobilise adequate resources.