Resources » Topic » Social Return on Investment (SROI)

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Books and Guides

The results of the 2016 Social Value International survey on the understanding and use of the Social Value Principles.

If you already know what difference you make – and you can prove it, this guide is not for you. And if you are an experienced evaluator with an understanding of cost-benefit analysis, you will find it too basic. (Have a look at the SROI Network’s “Guide to Social Return on Investment” instead). But if you want to understand more about how your organisation makes an impact – and how much this matters – then read on.

This supplement highlights some of the issues around the links between SROI and commissioning policy.

This supplement explains how SROI can be used by investors if they want to integrate SROI approaches into investment decisions.

Supplementary Guidance document that accompanies “A Guide to Social Return on Investment (2012) and focuses on Principle 2. Within the context of all of the Principles of Social Value, “understand what changes” is pivotal. It is so closely intertwined with many of the other principles that it is essential it is applied well. The aim of the guidance is to help you know how to collect the information you need about ‘changes’ and how to analyse this information in order to produce a set of well-defined outcomes. This guidance is essential for anyone looking to maximise value and increase well-being, equality, and environmental stability.

The purpose of stakeholder involvement is to reduce the risk that an analysis of change arising from an organisations activities misstates the change. The principle says that involvement is required to ‘inform what gets measured and how this is measured and valued by involving stakeholders. The focus of this supplement is on involvement in general and not on the specifics of what is measured, or how it is measured or valued.

This supplement expands the guidance in relation to determining materiality in SROI analyses that would be made public.

A blank, Excel template of the impact map to help calculate social value.

2012 edition of the Guide to Social Return on Investment

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 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

This paper, by Daniel Fujiwara for HACT, sets out the methodology and analytical approach underlying the work on community investment and social value. The paper explains the Well-being Valuation approach, provides details of the datasets that the analysis draws on, describes the statistical method in technical detail, and introduces the broader theory behind social impact.

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.

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.

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.

This guide is part of the Cabinet Office and Scottish Government programme to support SROI, including the development of a database of indicators to support SROI analysis. The purpose of this guide is to standardise practice, develop the methodology, and provide more clarity on the use of SROI. It has been written for people who want to measure and analyse the social, environmental and economic value being generated by their activities or by the activities they are funding
or commissioning.

This is the first catalog of methods for the Double Bottom Line Project that for-profit and nonprofit social ventures and enterprises can use to assess the social impact of their activities. It analyses feasibility and credibility of 9 methods and provides examples of them in use:

– Theories of Change
– Balanced Scorecard
– Acumen Fund Scorecard
– Social Return Assessment
– AtKisson Compass Assessment
– Ongoing Assessment of Social Impact
– Social Return on Investment
– Benefit-Cost Analysis
– Poverty and Social Impact Analysis

Case Studies

This report presents an evaluation of social return for the BeHealthy Programme (BHP) implemented by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in Russia with the financial support of the Mondelēz International Foundation (MIF). The programme is part of the Mondelēz Global Community Partnership Initiative to promote active, healthy lifestyles – a critical component of the company’s wellbeing mission.

The evaluation measures the impact of the BHP over a seven-year period (2008-2014) in three schools located in three different Russian regions where the programme was implemented: school no. 18 in Novgorod, Ropsha school (Leningrad region) and school no. 2 in Sobinka (Vladimir region).

Mondelēz International is a global snacking powerhouse and the company behind many of the world’s best-known snack brands including Oreo, Cadbury and Toblerone.

Their ‘Be Healthy’ programme was launched almost 10 years ago, read the SROI case study.

These case studies from Social Audit Network are intended to share experiences between organisations working in the social economy around their social impact reporting, and also to share with local authority commissioning and procurement staff to show them what can be achieved! The case studies are not just about social accounting and audit (SAA), but include where organisations have used SAA as a framework alongside social return on investment (SROI), cost benefit analysis (CBA), and other tools.

Event Reports

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.

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 Global Value Exchange is an open source database of Values, Outcomes, Indicators and Stakeholders. It provides a free platform for information to be shared enabling greater consistency and transparency in measuring social & environmental values. The site empowers users by giving them a voice to share their experiences and allow them to become the ‘creators of knowledge’.

This is a beta website to help improve access to information on investment and finance for charities and social enterprises. In its first phase you can explore information about social investment, social impact measurement and the project itself. As the website grows we will include broader information on wider finance and investment for charities and social enterprises.

This is a useful guide to Social Return on Investment (SROI) from Social E-valuator. SROI is an approach to understanding and managing the value of the social, economic and environmental outcomes created by an activity or an organisation.
This resource centre contains an introduction, guides, principles, myths and challenges and links to other organisations of interest.

Impact Reports

This report presents an evaluation of social return for the BeHealthy Programme (BHP) implemented by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in Russia with the financial support of the Mondelēz International Foundation (MIF). The programme is part of the Mondelēz Global Community Partnership Initiative to promote active, healthy lifestyles – a critical component of the company’s wellbeing mission.

The evaluation measures the impact of the BHP over a seven-year period (2008-2014) in three schools located in three different Russian regions where the programme was implemented: school no. 18 in Novgorod, Ropsha school (Leningrad region) and school no. 2 in Sobinka (Vladimir region).

NOW provides training and employment services for people of all abilities. This is a social impact infographic card for their activities from 2012 to 2013.

This is a social impact report by Gingerbread in partnership with nef consulting, the social enterprise of nef (the new economics foundation). Together they developed a theory of change in 2010 which enabled them to build an outcomes framework to measure these changes and assess how much is due to Gingerbread’s work, and a Social Return on Investment (SROI) model that would enable them to put a monetary value on this work.

This Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis from nef consulting was commissioned by Christian Aid for the Filling the Gaps project in Kenya. This project designed to improve the demand-side factors necessary to achieve the successful adherence of PWHIV (people living with HIV) to their ARTs (anti-retroviral therapies) thus improving their quality of life.

This report by Joëlle Bradly for Leicestershire County Council uses the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology to explore the value of the Community Safer Sex Project (CSSP) in terms of who is affected by the project and what changes for them. The Community Safer Sex Project (CSSP) was established in 2001 to support the emerging Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. This SROI evaluation of CSSP found that for each £1 invested in CSSP supporting Connexions Leicester Shire to deliver sexual health services between approximately £7 and £9 is returned in social value. Through measuring and valuing the social and economic benefits of CSSP, the following outcomes were found to create the largest value:

– Reduction in teenage pregnancies for young people
– Young people make more informed proactive choices
– Reduced cost to public services of a teenage pregnancy
– Better support for young people taking risks reduces the cost of disengaged young people
– Improved access to emotional support for young people

This research study, carried out by Rick Rijsdijk of the Social Value Lab, examines the impact of the Vineburgh Development, a phased £37 million project being delivered over five years by Cunninghame Housing Association. Based on a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis, the research shows the considerable impact that housing led physical regeneration can have on the health, confidence, pride and general wellbeing of tenants. It has revealed significant positive effects not just on the tenants of these new homes, but also on the wider community of Vineburgh and other local stakeholders.

The NPO competence centre of the University of Economics of Vienna was tasked by Coca-Cola Austria with the Evaluation of the project “Initial Housing Aid – a project of the Vöcklabruck poverty network”. The project was awarded the first prize in 2010 under the initiative “Ideas against Poverty”. The “Ideas against Poverty” innovation prize was initiated in 2007 by Coca-Cola Austria together with “Der Standard” and the NPO competence centre. Its aim is to support the implementation of projects in the area of poverty alleviation and prevention in Austria by an initial financial aid.

The evaluation was done by way of a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis with the goal of assessing the added value for society generated by the project in an as comprehensive as possible manner.

The NPO Institute, Competence Centre for Non-Profit Organisations, was tasked by the Essl Foundation with the evaluation of the “Casa Abraham” project. The project, which was launched by Father Georg Sporschill, received the Essl Social Prize in 2008, which awards sustainable support and assistance for people in distress.

The evaluation was done by way of a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis with the goal of assessing the added value for society generated by the project in an as comprehensive as possible manner.

Fifteen London is a social enterprise restaurant based in East London, which runs an apprentice programme for young people in need of a second chance in life. This study by Just Economics forecasts the social value created by Fifteen London for the 2009/10 financial year.

Speakeasy is a sexual health project that offers courses to parents to help them acquire the knowledge and confidence to communicate with their children about sex. The project has been running since 2002. Since 2006 Speakeasy has been supported with central funding from the Department for Education.

The FPA, the independent national charity which administers the programme, commissioned RM Insight to conduct a forecasted Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis in order to quantify the social value created by Speakeasy in England for the 2010/11 financial year.

This SROI analysis by NPO Competence Center was based on the model developed by the New Economics Foundation and explored the entire fire brigade system in Upper Austria in 2010.

The NPO Institute, competence centre for non-profit organisations, was tasked by the Coca-Cola Austria with the evaluation of the project “Donate your old washing machine! The ecological-social redistribution of washing machines and dishwashers”. Under the initiative “Ideas against Poverty”, the project was awarded the first prize in 2009. The “Ideas against Poverty” innovation prize was initiated in 2007 by Coca-Cola Austria together with Der Standard and the NPO Institute at the WU Vienna. Its aim is to support the implementation of projects in the area of poverty alleviation and prevention in Austria by an initial financial aid.

The evaluation was done by way of a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis with the goal of assessing the added value for society generated by the project in an as comprehensive as possible manner.

Opinion and Comment

The results of the 2016 Social Value International survey on the understanding and use of the Social Value Principles.

In this blog from the SROI Network, Jeremy Nicholls discusses the relationship between the logic model or log frame approach, for example as also used in approaches like Results Based Accountability, and Social Return On Investment (SROI).

Tools

The results of the 2016 Social Value International survey on the understanding and use of the Social Value Principles.

Videos

Michael Weatherhead from new economics foundation (nef) talks about a research project carried out for Christian Aid on their Filling the Gaps project in Kenya, funded by Comic Relief, using a Social Return On Investment (SROI) approach.

Working Papers and Research

The results of the 2016 Social Value International survey on the understanding and use of the Social Value Principles.

En los últimos años, ha aumentado el interés tanto por medir el impacto global creado por una empresa, en especial la gestión de aquellos que no están incluidos en las cuentas tradicionales de Pérdidas y Ganancias, como por la necesidad de que estas medidas se concentraran en cambios reales producidos en la Sociedad, más que en los resultados de la empresa.

El SROI es un proceso de comprensión, medición y comunicación de los valores social, medioambiental y económico creados por una organización. El método se basa en el Análisis Coste-Beneficio, si bien se distingue de éste en que no sólo se utiliza por agentes externos al proyecto que quieren saber si una determinada inversión en el proyecto es viable o no, sino que además es una herramienta para que tanto gestores del proyecto como inversores tomen decisiones basadas en la optimización de los impactos sociales y medioambientales del proyecto.

Palabras clave: Sroi, impacto social, Grupos de interés, análisis coste-beneficio, tasa de descuento.

The SROI method and investments impact.
Cuadernos de la Asociación Española de Fundaciones DICIEMBRE 2011

Hugo Narrillos.
Economista. Coordinador en España de The SROI Network (www.thesroinetwork.org).

Ziel dieses Working Papers ist die Betrachtung der derzeit populären Konzepte des Social Impact Measurements und insbesondere der SROI-Analyse vor dem Hintergrund bereits länger bestehenden Konzepte der (ökonomischen) Evaluation. In Anknüpfung daran wird das logische Modell bzw. die Wirkungskette, als Grundlage für Evaluation und quasi als Pendant dazu, die „Theory of Change“, die im Stiftungs-Bereich propagiert wird, thematisiert. Als eine spezielle Methode des Social Impact Measurements, die jedoch ebenso den Cost Benefit-Analysen der ökonomischen Evaluation zugerechnet werden kann, wird schließlich auf die SROI-Analyse mit ihren Vorteilen und Chancen sowie Nachteilen und Schwächen eingegangen.

This working paper from Olivia Rauscher, Christian Schober, Reinhard Millner and the NPO Competence Centre aims to analyse the popular concepts of social impact measurement and, in particular, of the SROI analysis against the background of concepts of (economic) evaluation that have been known and applied for a long time already. In this connection, the logic model or the impact chain, as the basis for an evaluation and, so to say as its counterpart, the “theory of change”, which is playing an increasingly important role in the area of foundations, is discussed. Finally, the SROI analysis with its advantages/opportunities and disadvantages/weaknesses, is examined as a special method of social impact measurement, which, however, can also be placed under the category of cost benefit analyses of economic evaluation.

This paper by Daniel Fujiwara from the LSE launches a national discussion on identifying the evidence needs to prove the impact of adult learning for decision making at local and national level. This piece of research flows from two pieces of NIACE work: on behalf of the Local Government Association exploring the changing strategic role of adult learning and skills in communities; and our work for the Skills Funding Agency completing Social Return on Investment (SROI) analyses with a sample of Adult and Community Learning Funding projects, in partnership with the SROI Network. Using the Well-being Valuation (WV) approach, this paper shows that adult learning adds value to many wider agendas.

This report from the Centre for Social Justice is a policy report from the Social Return on Investment (SROI) Working Group chaired by Dr Stephen Brien. It argues that a core aim of government is to improve social outcomes; yet for most government expenditure the real value of outcomes is rarely considered or even understood. It shows recent governments to have placed more emphasis on the management and monitoring of public services, but it is not obvious that this has delivered better value for money – the true effectiveness of most policy is still poorly understood. If government cannot determine where public spending delivers results and where it does not, both the taxpayer and society as a whole will continue paying for ineffective and inefficient programmes.

The paper proposes a framework through which both central and local government can improve the effectiveness of public spending. This framework is based on a number of social value approaches explored in the Review. The government needs to clearly articulate outcomes, and develop the internal capability to enable timely and accurate measurement of both the outcomes delivered and the costs incurred. Outcome-based government means focusing on those initiatives that genuinely change people’s lives: more often than not, tackling root causes rather than simply treating symptoms. Changing life outcomes can transform the lives of individuals and their communities, and result in savings to the taxpayer.

This paper by Dr Malin Arvidson, Professor Fergus Lyon, Professor Stephen McKay and Dr Domenico Moro from the Third Sector Research Centre examines the position and origins of Social Return on Investment (SROI) before identifying some emerging challenges. It draws out implications of these challenges for those using impact tools and those interpreting the results of SROI exercises. It also identifies a future research agenda that can strengthen the method. While the issues raised here are essential to developing SROI further, they are also valid for more general discussions regarding the proving and improving of the social value added by organisations.

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.