Impact mapping standardization in Estonia

by Jaan Aps, Chairman of Estonian Social Enterprise Network and owner of Stories For Impact 

Estonian Social Enterprise Network is currently in the process of creating an online portal for inserting, structuring, analyzing and publishing societal impact information of Estonian social purpose organizations.

The beta version of the portal will be tested until early winter, while the launch will take place in Spring 2016 at the latest. Click on the picture below to see a snapshot of its main objectives, methodological approach and technical functions:

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Any social enterprise or other social purpose organisation has just one justification for its existence: to create positive changes that would not have happened otherwise, as effectively as they can.

When officially establishing the Estonian Social Enterprise Network in 2012, our founders recognised that providing a solution for the Network’s members related to impact mapping was one of its essential objectives. While social enterprises have perfectly adequate systems available to analyse their finances and employee turnover, many struggle with defining and mapping their impact. There are a variety of reasons, of course; setting vague goals and having limited resource are just two of them.

By now, we have developed a standardised solution that is already a generally accepted impact mapping standard for Estonian organisations with a social purpose. It has been tried out by many of the members of the Estonian Social Enterprise Network (as an informal criterion for membership). Creating an online portal is a logical next step.  Click on the picture below to see the details of our journey:

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The idea may raise many questions and serious doubts. Reinventing the wheel? Trying to achieve the impossible? Etc. From our point of view, however, currently available global solutions (and / or their dissemination) do not serve national-level change-makers attempting “to change the way society accounts for value” well enough.

Some of the very basic principles of our approach have just been published in Social Impact Analysis Handbook with the help of Erasmus+ program. It serves as a good starting point to reflect upon the concept of “number of specific target groups = number of specific theories of change” that has helped us to work out a standardized methodology for mapping societal impact.

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