'What is your social impact?' A question most organisations operating in the field of sustainability or social change have encountered on more than one occasion. At the start of 2016 it is no longer just about limiting your organisations negative impacts, it has instead become precedent to put substantial efforts towards creating positive impact. In order to understand if your organisation is indeed creating positive impact, you need to measure it. But when it comes to social impact measurement, where do you start?
Ondernemende oplossingen voor maatschappelijke problemen kunnen een enorme impuls krijgen wanneer (lokale) overheden bij deze ondernemingen diensten of producten inkopen. Dit vraagt om inkoop op een slimme manier vorm te geven en daarbij niet alleen kijken naar de laagste aanschafprijs. Helaas is in de praktijk dat laatste vaak nog doorslaggevend, zelfs wanneer het criterium Economische Meest Voordelige Inschrijving (EMVI) wordt toegepast (waarbij kwaliteit en prijs met elkaar in verband worden gebracht). Om naast aanschafprijs ook maatschappelijke impact mee te laten wegen bij het maken van inkoopbeslissingen, is een nieuwe uitdaging waar o.a. Nederlandse gemeenten nu voor staan. Steun bij het invullen van deze uitdaging kan echter worden gevonden in de nieuwe Europese aanbestedingsrichtlijn die vanaf april 2016 ook in Nederland van kracht wordt. Deze richtlijn biedt meer ruimte voor het behalen van sociale en duurzame doelstellingen.
That was the central question of last weeks Round Table we co-organized with Deloitte. Together with 25 professionals from different sectors – impact investors, philanthropists, social enterprises and NGO’s- we shared experiences on the topic of impact measurement and how to account for it.
The connection between business and society is a popular topic. The social and environmental issues we face on a global level are becoming so significant that there are plenty of business opportunities in contributing to solving them. This is not only interesting from a risk and reputation management perspective. Sustainability can be a platform for profitable growth while solving wicked social issues.
Last week’s “critical mass” event in London – organised by Social Value International and Good Deals collaboratively– brought together a unique blend of social entrepreneurs, impact investors, public servants, government officials and everyone “in between” to discuss how social value can be created, leveraged and be accounted for. Or rather: how critical mass – enough supporters and practitioners to sustain a movement - can be achieved for social value and social value creation. Part of the answer to this lies in bridging the reality gap in social impact measurement.
Impact measurement often requires organisations to collect more data. But with more information, the risk of information overload and attention fragmentation increases. How can we cope? How can we become data-driven without data driving us crazy?
The first national Social Impact Bond conference in the Netherlands, organized by START Foundation, is a fact. It was even the first national conference on Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) globally, since SIBs are still a relatively new phenomenal. Worldwide there are nearly 50 SIBs up and running of which 3 are launched in the Netherlands. Clearly, some people think this will become much bigger than it currently is.
In the philanthropic sector, measuring social impact is still perceived as a challenge. The number of projects a social investors funds, combined with their diversity often result in large time and resource investments for both the investor and the investee (or grantee). Many social investors therefore feel they do not have the means to measure more than a few outputs, like the number of participants or workshops, or the total amount of volunteer work. Although this is a good starting point, it only scratches the surface of what the project or program has established, and tells you nothing about the true impact (and value) it has created. Has the target audience really been reached? Have their circumstances been changed? Only by giving a voice to the beneficiaries will you be able to decide if the right investment choices have been made.
Currently there are $7 trillion in assets held by the wealthiest 1,000 people in the world. An increasing number of “High Net Worth Individuals” (HNWI) are giving a way (parts) of their fortune to philanthropy. This trend was boosted by The Giving Pledge, an initiative from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in which 137 HNWI have already commited to give more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes during their lifetime or in their will. A good example is the Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who has recently announced to give away his entire $32 billion fortune to philanthropy!
We all love Excel. For making spreadsheets, analysing data, or simply making some calculations. But when we are measuring and managing social impact, is Excel really the way to go?