SIAA International Survey – creating a dataset you can use

by Emma Tomkinson, Social Impact Analyst

The SIAA International Survey dataset will be launched in a workshop at the SIAA 2014 Annual Conference in Toronto, November 3 and 4. I (Emma Tomkinson) will present a couple of high level findings, and then encourage participants to analyse the data and present their own interesting conclusions. De-identified results will be published as an open dataset licenced under creative commons. This means that analysts are able to use them to draw their own conclusions.

This is a workshop where participants get their hands dirty analysing data on the state of play of impact analysts. Bring your laptops, dig into the data, and help us understand what’s happening on the ground across the world. Learn how you can use this survey to help understand impact analysis in your community.

As one of the SIAA Country Impact Groups Program objectives, Jarrod Ormiston and I developed a global survey of Social Impact Analysis. This involved working with SIAA to facilitate input from country impact groups and their stakeholders, as well as reflecting current literature and best practice.

We started off with the simple idea of trying to capture the number of social impact analysts, what they were doing and how they thought about their work. We also wanted to provide the opportunity for country impact groups to include questions to help them better meet the needs of their members. We quickly had too many questions and too many purposes, so tried to choose the questions that would provide the most interesting information in combination, particularly over time.

We wanted to build on similar surveys already in the field, in particular NPC’s Making an Impact survey of charities, Nonprofit Finance Fund’s State of the sector surveys and the survey disseminated in Australia to inform the establishment of the Social Impact Measurement Network of Australia (SIMNA).

We structured the survey under the following headings:

  • Background Questions
  • Doing Social Impact Analysis
  • Driving Social Impact Analysis
  • Using Social Impact Analysis
  • Perceptions of Social Impact Analysis
  • Networks Supporting Analysts.

Questions included in the survey depend upon whether the respondent is an analyst themselves, part of an organisation being analysed, a funder or another stakeholder in the analysis.

Repeating the survey in following years will create a longitudinal dataset that will reveal changes in the profession and practice of social impact analysis over time.


Emma Tomkinson, Social Impact Analyst and Australian representative to the SIAA Country Impact Groups program, will lead the workshop State of Play: an international survey of social impact analysis at Talking Data, SIAA’s 2014 Annual Conference. Read more about her workshop here.

If you are interested in completing in the survey click here.

This post was first published here as part of the Talking Data blog series for SIAA 2014 Annual Conference in November. Find out more here.

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