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Books and Guides
The Maximise Your Impact guide was developed within “Know Your Impact: Social Impact Management Tools for Young Social Entrepreneurs” by Estonian Social Enterprise Network, Koç University Social Impact Forum, Mikado Sustainable Development Consulting and Social Value UK. The “Know Your Impact: Social Impact Management Tools for Young Social Entrepreneurs” is funded by Erasmus + programme of the European Union.
“This guide is brilliant. I run several social enterprises and advise lots of others and have a background in social research and think this is the best impact guide I’ve read. It’s clear, not patronising, practical, intelligent. I shall be recommending widely. Thanks to all involved.“
Jessica Prendergast, Onion Collective
The Seven Principles of Social Value are a principle based framework for accounting for, measuring and managing social value.
The Principles were originally developed in 2009 and were updated in 2015 following the merger of the SROI Network and the Social Impact Analysts Association. This report explains the thinking that underpins these Principles.
This handbook was written by Jaan Aps, of the Estonian Social Enterprise Network, with the help of the Erasmus+ program. It covers steps for developing a theory of change and how to use stories to test this theory.
This is an except from Measuring and Improving Social Impacts: A Guide for nonprofits, companies, and impact investors by Marc J. Epstein and Kristi Yuthas. All organisations have social impacts: some are positive and some negative. Measuring and Improving Social Impacts is about how you can learn to make decisions that will improve the positive social impact of companies, foundations, nonprofits, and impact investors.
This book addresses the five most fundamental questions faced by companies, and nonprofits, and investors seeking to maximise their social impact:
– What Will You Invest?
– What Problem Will You Address?
– What Steps Will You Take?
– How Will You Measure Success?
– How Can You Increase Impact?
This report from the GECES Sub-group on Impact Measurement features the standard to allow social enterprises of all sizes to better measure and demonstrate their social impact and so help them in their discussions with partners, investors, and public sector funders.
This document from PwC in the Netherlands provides information for social entrepreneurs on how to turn your ambition to have a positive impact on the world into a business case and offers four guiding principles on what ‘social’ investors want.
The Practical Guide is a resource that distills best practice in impact measurement into five easy-to-understand steps and provides practical tips and recommendations for how to implement impact measurement at the level of the social investor and in the social sector organisations that they support.
The Good Investor, authored by Adrian Hornsby and Gabi Blumberg, is a guide for investors who make investments into companies, organisations and funds to generate measurable social and environmental impact. This guide is structured around incorporating impact assessment into the various stages of the investment process, progressing from the investors’ initial exposure to investment opportunities, through the screening and analysis, and onto making investment decisions, monitoring and evaluating, and reporting on the impact achieved.
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 short handbook by Juliet Michaelson on measuring well-being is produced by the Centre for Well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) with input from nef consulting. It is designed primarily for voluntary organisations and community groups delivering projects and services, to help them kick-start the process of measuring well-being outcomes.
The Public Services (Social Value Act) was passed at the end of February 2012. This is a brief guide from Social Enterprise UK to how it is likely to change things and how it should work in practice.
This guide written by Alan Kay from the Social Audit Network includes reference to the range of frameworks and methods developed to help organisations explain and account for their performance and impact. It is a “roadmap” to the social accounting and audit process and has been written for social enterprises, social economy organisations and voluntary sector organisations that wish to regularly account and report on their social, economic and environmental performance and impact.
Mission, Inc.: The practitioner’s guide to social enterprise, by Kevin Lynch and Julius Walls Jr, is a practical book that focuses on the day-to-day challenges and opportunities faced by social enterprise practitioners, to help create highly successful businesses.
PHINEO analyses non-profit organisations in terms of their effectiveness and their projects’ potential to make a lasting impact.Their special analytical method takes all of the components of philanthropic work into account. They focus on organisation-related and project-related criteria geared toward the needs and expectations of social investors. Download an overview of their approach in Phineo: Doing Good – Achieving The Best.
This is a State of the Art Review of Big Data written by Duncan Ross for Nominet Trust. It is aimed at anyone who is interested in using Big Data and data science to improve society. Big Data can provide social organisations with opportunities to improve and reshape their services. It represents a combination of a series of trends: the rapid growth in data creation, the ability to store this data at a reasonable price, and the ability to apply sophisticated techniques to it in order to extract knowledge.
This paper from the UK Department of Health and Cabinet Office provides case studies of how five social enterprises have measured their social value. It presents the conclusions of an action research project to assist social enterprises and commissioners to understand better the wider impacts of service delivery and quantify the value in monetary terms.
This publication from CFG, NPC and ACEVO, is not a ‘how-to’ guide. The publication aims to bring the Principles of Good Impact Reporting to life through first-hand accounts and case studies from a range of charities and social enterprises that believe in the importance of demonstrating their impact. It offers some perspectives, tips and advice from stakeholders across the sector.
The Public Services (Social Value) Act has now been in operation for a year. This report from Social Enterprise UK looks at the challenges of implementation so far and gives recommendations for the continued success of the act. This report was produced from the discussions and workshops at the Social Value Summit, co-produced by Social Enterprise UK and Landmarc on January 28th and 29th 2014.
In March 2013, Social Business International and the University of Northampton hosted the Inaugural E3M European Conference themed around the topics Markets, Money, Models and Measurement. It took place e in the context of
the EU Social Business Initiative. The European Commission was a conference partner and seven senior
Commission officials from DG Internal Market, DG Employment, Social affairs and Inclusion, DG Research and
Innovation, and BEPA attended the event.
The aims of the event were to promote business opportunities between social enterprises from different
countries within the single market, to share knowledge and to shape the policy agenda on social business
going forward at EU level and in member states.
On 24th January a group organised by E3M with Baker Tilly, CAN, and Big Society Capital, hosted by Bates Wells & Braithwaite, E3M founder members, came together to challenge the picture of social impact measurement as a purely funder or commissioner-driven need. This report by Jim Clifford, Kate Markey and Natasha Malpani documents the results of that challenge.
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 Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN) is a platform, supported by the Cabinet Office, working with social entrepreneurs around the world. It utilises the learning, models and expertise from the UK and from all other country members who join. It will be a peer learning service for support agencies, with the potential to open out to social entrepreneurs themselves as a virtual social incubator at a future point.
The Research Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship (RISE) is a research project whose mission is to study and disseminate knowledge about the markets, metrics and management of for-profit and nonprofit social enterprise and social venturing. RISE was a program at Columbia Business School from 2001 to 2010. RISE is currently run as a personal project of Cathy Clark, Adjunct Assistant Professor of CASE at Duke.
Intentionality CIC’s resources centre is a space where you can learn more about Intentionality and it’s work, as well as discovering excellent examples of social impact measurement and reporting from charities and social enterprises. It includes impact reports, guides and case studies.
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.
Venture Philanthropy and Impact Investing from the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) is a compilation of resources on venture philanthropy, grant philanthropy, social investment and impact investing.
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.
Proving and Improving is a quality and impact toolkit for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprise for exploring practical ways to measure their impacts and demonstrate the quality of what they do and how they operate.
Tools include AA1000AS, The Big Picture, Co-operativesUK, CESPIs, DTA Fit for Purpose, Eco-mapping, EFQM Model, EMAS, GRI Guidelines, Investors in People, ISO 9001:2008, Local Multiplier 3, PQASSO, Prove It!, Quality First, SIMPLE, Social Accounting, S.E Balanced Scorecard, SROI, Star Social Firm, Third Sector Performance Dashboard, Volunteering Impact Assessment Toolkit.
Proving and Improving is supported by Charities Evaluation Services’ National Performance Programme, which is funded by Capacitybuilders’ and is led by Charities Evaluation Services (CES) in partnership with acevo, the New Economics Foundation (nef), New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) and Voice4Change England.
FRC Group has been producing impact reports, social reports and sustainability reports every year since 1999. FRC Group is a leading social business, running commercial businesses that produce financial profits and create a social dividend by giving people in poverty and unemployment the opportunity to change their lives. A selection of their reports are available to download on their website.
This paper from Avitus reports on their impact from 2012-2013. Avitus is a social enterprise which to improve the well-being of people with mood disorders and to reduce stress, burnout and depression in the Estonian society, and boost parental knowledge and parenting skills among parents living in Estonia in order to prevent future mental health problems among their children.
UP Global is a non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership, and strong communities.
Intentionalty CIC’s Impact Report documents its impact between 1st May 2012 – 30th April 2013. Intentionality CIC is a social enterprise and well-being consultancy with a particular interest in the meeting point of the two – where social enterprises set out to intentionally improve the well-being of individuals, communities and society.
This is a Social Impact Report by the Timewise Foundation in partnership with nef consulting (the new economics foundation) and supported by KPMG. The TImewise Foundation’s vision is for everyone to be able to find the flexibility they need in their careers, without reducing their value in the workplace.
This report gives an overview of Co-Operatives UK’s impact in 2013. Co-operatives UK is a national trade body that campaigns for co-operation and works to grow the co-operative economy through action to promote, develop and unite co-operatives.
HCT Group is a social enterprise in the transport industry, safely providing over 17 million passenger trips on our buses every year. We deliver a range of transport services – from London red buses to social services transport, from school transport to Park and Ride, from community transport to education and training. We reinvest the profits from our commercial work into further transport services or projects in the communities we serve.
PerformWell is a collaborative effort initiated by Urban Institute, Child Trends, and Social Solutions in the United States. PerformWell provides measurement tools and practical knowledge that human services professionals can use to manage their programs’ day-to-day performance. Information in PerformWell leverages research-based findings that have been synthesized and simplified by experts in the field. By providing information and tools to measure program quality and outcomes, PerformWell helps human services practitioners deliver more effective social programs.
Training and Courses
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 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.
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)
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.
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.
Working Papers and Research
This paper from Nominet Trust, by Dan Sutch and Kieron Kirkland, explores the meaningful metrics that social tech ventures can use to evaluate the social impact of their work.
To ensure it supports the growth of the social tech venture, evaluation must be purposeful. This purpose comes from identifying, articulating and then evidencing the social, user and financial value of the venture and doing so with the appropriate metrics. These three values are explored in The Triple Helix of Social Innovation.
Is love an essential requirement for a successful social enterprise? Or is it actually a by-product, the mechanism or even the result of one?
This report, by David Floyd for Intentionality CIC, explores the role that love has to play in social enterprises and in the creation of positive social impact.
This report was written by Nick Temple and Charlie Wigglesworth from Social Enterprise UK. It is the largest and most comprehensive survey since the introduction of the Social Value Act, examining the views of commissioners, their progress in delivering social value, and the role of social enterprise.
This research paper by Neil Reeder, Gemma Rocyn Jones, John Loder and Andrea Colantonio (LSE) is the second in the Measuring impact beyond financial return series and follows on from Measuring impact and non-financial returns in impact investing: A critical overview of concepts and practice. It draws out points of convergence and divergence in approaches to impact measurement.
Testing out hypotheses set out in the first research paper described above, it is based on information derived from a series of interviews with established impact investors in the fields of the environment; social enterprise; microfinance; and social impact bonds.
This document provides an update on implementation of the UK Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.
The Social Value Act came into force on 31 January 2013 and requires commissioners to think about how they can secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits when procuring services. This report outlines how commissioners have responded to the act during its first year, and looks at the government’s plans to advance social value in the future.
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.
This report, from Forfás and DJEI, features the research requested as part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2012 on the potential of social enterprise to create jobs and identifies the actions required, in funding, procurement, etc., by Government and other relevant bodies and agencies to create jobs in this sector.
This paper from the UK Cabinet Office provides an update on the social investment market. They seek to support the growth of the market so that social enterprises can achieve more. They will do this by
– increasing the amount of money available for social investment
– increasing the demand for social investment
– creating an environment that encourages social investment opportunities
Charities and commissioners increasingly see collaboration as a way to access new funding, grow and improve services. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To avoid the risks, charities need to understand what makes collaboration a success. NPC and Impetus have joined forces to explore collaboration because they believe it has the potential to improve the sector’s collective impact. This report by Angela Kail and Rob Abercrombie highlights some of the less talked-about issues that connect collaboration with social impact.
The Impact Investor Project was established in 2012 as a two-year research partnership between InSight at Pacific Community Ventures, CASE at Duke University, and ImpactAssets. The goal was simple: supplant the guesswork and conjecture in impact investing with solid evidence of high performance and, in the process, expose the concrete practices of outstanding funds for use as the foundation for a more sophisticated and successful market.
Impact Investing 2.0 profiles twelve funds who work in vastly different sectors, from microfinance in India to sustainable property in the UK, and have accordingly pursued very different investment strategies and approaches to social impact.Their success across such a broad set of parameters offers many lessons for the industry and beyond.
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.
The Wheel has published a new report on the state of impact measurement in Ireland’s community, voluntary and charity sector. The report is based on research conducted by Sandra Velthuis, an independent consultant on behalf of The Wheel in November 2011. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation funded the project.
Ahead of Third Sector and New Philanthropy Capital’s annual Charity Impact Measurement conference
(London, 16 October 2012), Third Sector conducted a survey with over 240 organisations to explore current
trends in impact measurement. This report summarises the key findings and results of that survey.
This paper by Professor Fergus Lyon from Middlesex University and Dr Malin Arvidson from Southampton University sets out to explore the process of social impact assessment in charities, voluntary organisations, and social enterprises. The core
questions relate to why organisations embark on social impact measurement exercises; what guides decisions regarding the way organisations choose to investigate their social impact and how they use the results. It argues that social impact assessment and reporting constitutes an essential strategic tool for organisations in building and maintaining relations of different kinds between the organisation and surrounding stakeholders.