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Books and Guides

This resource provides an overview of different tools and resources, with links to further information, that nef consulting uses for evaluating and assessing impact. These include:

- Social Return on Investment (SROI)
- Multi-Criteria Appraisal (MCA)
- Outcomes Evaluation
- Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA)
- Social Cost-Benefit Analysis (SCBA)
- Social Value Appraisal
- Local Multiplier 3 (LM3)
- Prove and Improve Toolkits

Jargon Buster provides short definitions of technical terms (e.g. outcome, impact, indicator) with links to more detailed explanations and examples.

Iridescent Ideas CIC and marketing social enterprise Poached Creative are demystifying social impact reporting with the publication of a white paper for social enterprises Why Impact?.

This paper explores some of the key issues around social impact reporting that were uncovered via a social media campaign in Spring 2014 and encourages social enterprises to get started (if they haven’t already). It covers:

- Reasons to measure and demonstrate social impact
- Common challenges
- What good social impact reporting looks like
- Resources and support available.

Understanding the difference between outputs and outcomes is important. Outputs relate to “what we do.” Outcomes refer to “what difference is there.”

The SROI Network have developed a timeline so that you can learn about the development of the SROI methodology and a short history of The SROI Network.

What is social impact? How do I get involved? This flyer from SIAA’s Start Social Impact scheme will answer some of your questions.

L’Avise, l’ESSEC IIES et le Mouves ont publié un petit précis de l’évaluation de l’impact social.

Cette publication est le fruit de travaux collectifs de près de 20 structures rassemblées autour d’une même volonté : proposer des repères à toute entreprise sociale, association ou structure d’utilité sociale qui souhaite enrichir ses connaissances sur le sujet.

Qu’est-ce que l’évaluation de l’impact social ? A quoi et à qui sert-elle ? Comment la mettre en œuvre ? Quels exemples concrets ? Ce petit précis apporte des éléments de réponse et donne des repères indispensables pour évaluer l’impact d’une entreprise sociale.

This interactive graph from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) provides a wheel of all measures of national well-being. It presents the breadth of measures used in the measurement of well-being, and allows comparisons between the most recent data in the time series for each measure.

This guide from Quality Matters provides an introduction to three commonly used methods for planning impact measurement for social service organisations: Logic Model, Theory of Change and Social Return on Investment (SROI). The aim of the guide is to provide readers with sufficient information to understand these models and select one that will most suit the needs of their organisation.

This is the first in a series of issue briefs from the Center for American Progress that looks at Social Impact Bonds (SIB) and their value to government agencies. Subsequent pieces will focus on getting the SIB agreement right; models for SIBs and their long-term potential; defining and measuring outcomes for SIBs; and appropriate roles for government agencies in the SIB process.

This brief document by the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) defines the role and value of impact assessment (IA), including all disciplines, and explains how IA relates to decision-making. It is written for technical people unfamiliar with IA, for decision makers on the fringes of IA, and for people new to this field.

The Network of Network on Impact Evaluation (NONIE) seeks to provide guidance for effective, rigorous impact evaluation. Three sub-groups have focused on particular approaches: experimental and quasiexperimental designs; other approaches to rigorous impact evaluation; and approaches suitable for specific types of aid assistance instruments such as Sector-wide Approaches and General Budget Support. This is the first of three sections produced by sub-group 2. This section (Section 1) provides an overview of impact evaluation – its definition and the context for impact evaluation in development. It sets out four different tasks involved in impact evaluation:

• Identifying impacts that are valued;
• Gathering evidence of these impacts
• Assessing the contribution of the intervention to these impacts
• Managing the impact evaluation

It provides an overview of methods and approaches that are useful in undertaking these different tasks and through this improving the rigour of impact evaluation, and provides some illustrations from evaluations that have used these methods and techniques.

Event Reports

SIAA’s 2013 annual conference, Beyond Measurement, took place on December 10th at ESSEC Business School in France. This publication provides reflections on the day and access to further resources.

External Databases and Resources

SImetrica specialises in cutting-edge research on social impact analysis and policy evaluation. SImetrica’s resources include publications on a wide range of disciplines related to social impact analysis, including:

- The philosophy of policy evaluation (normative ethics);
- The application of social impact frameworks including cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis and social return on investment;
- Statistical and econometric analysis for causal inference;
- Valuation of non-market goods and outcomes;
- Behavioural science.

The Impact and Effectiveness Hub from The Guardian contains articles relating to insight, advice and best practice from the community and is part of the Voluntary Sector Network.

IMPACT Magazine is a free, student-run publication at the University of Pennsylvania focused on social impact. Released in print and online, each edition of IMPACT Magazine has a different social impact theme, such as Education, with the purpose of informing, engaging, and inspiring readers about the ongoing issues and action affecting youths, particularly in Philadelphia.

Opinion and Comment

Tris Lumley from NPC discusses the challenges of impact measurement and how the technical aspects of impact and measurement (which outcomes should we focus on? how can we measure them? what tools and systems should we use to measure them?) can be overcome by good leadership.

This post is part of a short series on Social Impact Measurement, and the second part of a two-part piece by Felix Beaulieu for On Purpose. This post focuses on potential future models for impact measurement, and the limits, opportunities and risks that come with each of these.

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This post is the first in a short series on Social Impact Measurement for On Purpose. In the first of a two-part piece, Felix Beaulieu describes the converging trends which have driven the need to define and measure social impact, and why this is necessary.

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This blog by Tamsyn Roberts from Cabinet Office UK for the Civil Service Quarterly provides clear explanation of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) and how they work. It includes case studies and a handy diagram.

Elizabeth Woodson from Stanford University talks about the opportunities for students to foster social impact.

Training and Courses

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania’s undergraduate degree program offers business and more — an innovative program that combines business and liberal arts on one Ivy League campus. Social impact courses for undergraduates span areas such as health care management, finance, management, economics and public policy, legal studies and business ethics. A flexible schedule allows students to pursue academic interests within Wharton and beyond.

Wharton’s undergraduate program also offers a secondary concentration in Social Impact & Responsibility, housed in the Legal Studies and Business Ethics department.

Courses include:
- Corporate Responsibility and Ethics
- Health Care Quality and Outcomes: Measurement and Management
- International Business Ethics
- Knowledge for Social Impact — Analyzing Current Issues and Approaches
- Social Impact & Responsibility

The Fund Raising School, an international leader in fundraising training and professional development, and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, a nationally ranked leader in nonprofit management education, offer the Program Evaluation for Mission Impact course at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). It is one of four required courses for the new Certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership. This course focuses on the techniques and application of evaluation methods to assess the effectiveness of nonprofit programs.

Cornell University offers various courses that focus or touch on social entrepreneurship or innovation. The list includes Social entrepreneurs, innovators and problem solvers, Social Justice and the City: Preparation for Urban Fieldwork, Making a Difference: By Design and Leadership in Nonprofit Environments

The Australian School of Business at the University of New South Australia offers a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact focuses on building the professional capacity of social managers and entrepreneurs of the future, across the corporate, government and third (not-for-profit) sectors, enhancing their capacity to lead organisations creating social and environmental value and to operate in a changed cross-sector social landscape where the dynamism of the market is also directed at social innovation.

The Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford offers an online and distance learning course in Social Entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs are gaining international attention motivated by the desire for change and to see the world as it can be, not as it is. Students in the course will learn how social entrepreneurs have developed creative solutions to address social problems. The intention of the course is to develop knowledge, appreciate of the role of social entrepreneurs that create social change, deepen students understanding of the world around them, and to inspire you to use your skills and knowledge to be as Gandhi said, ‘the change you wish to see in the world’.

Essex Business School at the University of Essex offers a Masters in Social Entrepreneurship. It responds to the increasing demand of socially-oriented entrepreneurs whose missions go beyond earning profit. Social entrepreneurs do not ignore pressing social problems such as poverty, disease, over population, war and terrorism. They employ their entrepreneurial characteristics to develop innovative solutions to make society a better world for life.

By studying this course, you will: enhance your theoretical perspective on social entrepreneurship; develop innovative approaches to addressing persistent social problems in society; learn from distinguished academics and practitioners with substantial professional and social sector experiences; work closely with social entrepreneurs locally or internationally; and participate in the unique Social Venture Academy (SVA) to develop and pitch ideas about potential ventures to social business experts.

Cass Business School at City University London offers PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Grantmaking, Philanthropy & Social Investment. There is a growing recognition, that in addition to a common body of knowledge all managers need in order to succeed, there are critical specialist areas for managers which provide a sound understanding of all aspects of their work and a springboard for further career progression.

This charity degree course is the first of its kind in the UK and Europe and reflects the increasing interest in funding and the need for transparency and accountability. Students will develop a clear understanding of the practices and principles of funding.

Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia offer a Postgraduate Diploma of Social Impact Assessment. modules include Social Impact Assessment and Cross Cultural Negotiation, Urban Social Impact Assessment, Methodology in Local and Community Studies and Human Geography Research.

At the University of Westminster, the Master of Business Administration of a module in Social Entrepreneurship. This module requires students to use our experience and skills learnt on our MBA to solve real life problems in real life situations, rather than simply testing theory. It is supported by a UK based charity called The Great Generation, that identifies an overseas organisation that are community-driven and tackle real needs, and that require the support of volunteers.

There is a growth in the number of entrepreneurs starting businesses with social and environmental purposes at their heart. This MA from Goldsmiths, University of London, enables you to develop a critical understanding of and practical insights into modes of social enterprise. This Masters programme, with an exit route at Postgraduate Diploma level, is aimed at people seeking to either:

- develop a sustainable model for a new or existing social enterprise (for example, a business relating to a ‘product’ or ‘process’ arising from your practice, to community, or to a form of ‘expertise’, ‘consultancy’ or ‘knowledge’)
- understand how to create the infrastructure and environment for new social enterprises to flourish in a variety of contexts (for example, city, rural, regional or national)

Created for professionals in nonprofit organisations, this graduate-level certificate from Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota offers specific knowledge and skills related to human resource development, organisational evaluation, finance, conflict resolution, and decision-making. The Nonprofit Management Certificate curriculum is designed for individuals who do not have formal training in the business aspects of managing a nonprofit organisation.

The University of Delaware offers a Nonprofit Management Certificate Course. Started in 1990, this 16-week course teaches participants how to handle the key management challenges facing nonprofit organisations: Strategic planning, technology, financial management, human resources, fostering leadership, lobbying and advocacy, designing and evaluating programmes, marketing and fundraising. To date, over 370 people have successfully completed the Nonprofit Management Certificate Course. This course runs in the spring (February-May) and meets each Thursday (8:30 am-4:30 pm).

ESSEC is one of the foremost business schools and Grandes Écoles in France and one of Europe’s top business schools. At ESSEC IIES (Institut de l’Innovation et de l’Entrepreneuriat Social), training is offered in social impact measurement as well as various programmes relating to analysing the social impact of social enterprises.

The Verbandsmanagement Institut (VMI) at the Universitat Freibeug/Schweiz in the Czech Republic offers an elective module in Performance Measurement in Nonprofit Organisations, which provides an overview on theories and concepts of performance management in private NPOs.

The Center for Philanthropic Studies at the University of Amsterdam conducts research and educates professionals in all areas of the Dutch philanthropic sector. Since 1995, the Center has been the leading unit for research on philanthropy in the Netherlands and in Europe. The Center offers postgraduate courses in Philanthropic Studies

The Erasmus Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (ECSP) at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Non-Profit Management, and Effective management of philanthropic “NGO” organisations.

In January 2009, the Centre for Nonprofit Management at the School of Business, Trinity College Dublin, in association with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, launched the Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship – a unique and innovative programme with the primary purpose of creating an intellectual ‘home’ for research, education and dialogue on social entrepreneurship in Ireland. The Centre offers courses on nonprofit organisation and management and social entrepreneurship and social innovation.

The Social Impact Assessment course from the University of Johannesburg Sociology Department is a structured, accredited short course in Social Impact Assessment. It is offered both as a module as part of a structured MA and as a certificate course and provides training in social and economic impact assessment, and it is the only degree of its kind in South Africa.

INSEAD Business School offers an Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change, a program about human relations and behaviour applied to management. Aimed at HR professionals, coaches, consultants and executives seeking new ways to make an impact on their organisation, this programme integrates business education with a range of psychological disciplines, and enables an understanding of yourself and others at a fundamental level – and to use that knowledge to create more effective organisations.

The Centre for Social Impact is a collaboration of four universities: the University of New South Wales, Swinburne University of Technology, The University of Western Australia and The University of Melbourne. Their mission is to improve the delivery of beneficial social impact in Australia through research, teaching, measurement and the promotion of public debate.

The ‘how to’ training modules from Better Evidence for a Better Start (BEBS) at Dartington describe how to apply some of the key concepts to develop a strategy for the Better Evidence for a Better Start project. The purpose of this training is to provide local coordinators with the information and skills needed to develop a strategy for their areas. The modules were presented by the Social Research Unit at the ‘how to’ training event on the 22nd November 2013.

The six modules in this training are:

- how to develop a strategy
- how to interpret the Area Wellbeing Profile
- how to interpret the ‘What Works’ data
- how to chart resources
- how to review policy
- how to monitor implementation & outcomes

This is a presentation that was was delivered by Heléne Clark, ActKnowledge and Andrea A. Anderson, Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change at the American Evaluation Association in November 2004. The presentation explains Theory of Change (TOC) and the difference between TOC and Logic Models.


This video, from The Social Investment Business (SIB) Group and the Good Analyst, explains what a Theory of Change is and how you can use it as a key step in deciding what you will need to measure to evidence your social impact, using the example of The Rooftop Garden Project.

In this TED talk, Toby Eccles from Social Finance UK explains Social Impact Bonds (SIB), which help fund initiatives with a social goal through private money and the government pays back the investors (with interest) if the initiatives work. He discusses the SIB in Peterborough where it is being used to reduce reoffending rates and in Essex where they are supporting children in care.

This video is from the 2013 Net Impact Conference. Chip Conley, Founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels & Head of Global Hospitality of Airbnb, provided the closing keynote speech: Change Starts with an Idea.

Abt Associates President and CEO Kathleen Flanagan discusses how donors have shifted their perspective to determine the effectiveness of their programs from measuring outcomes to measuring impact with Devex President and Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar.

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This is the first video in a series of 3 short videos that describe FSG’s concept of collective impact.

Working Papers and Research

In the early 1990s, a non-profit social enterprise, The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund [REDF] began to analyse its social return on investment (SROI) as a means to illustrate the value generated through an investment in its programmes, expressed in monetary terms. As the methodology developed, it became a key tool for REDF to more effectively evaluate its achievements against its objectives, manage its performance and communicate results. While the true value of many social impacts can not be monetised, the SROI calculation is a straight forward approach to demonstrate value creation for society to social investors of all profiles.

This paper from the London Business School, nef and Small Business Service provides a guide to understanding and using SROI.