by Eleanor Radford, SIAA
Last week we announced the theme for our 2014 annual conference and we, at SIAA HQ, are very excited about it. Talking Data: Measurement with a message invites delegates working in the field of social impact measurement and analysis to come together for two days of workshops, hotspots and networking. We will be talking about how we can make our measurements deliver the right message with the most impact.
Building on the success of our 2013 annual conference, Beyond Measurement, it was important to choose a theme that kept the momentum going and addressed some of the unanswered questions. One such question, raised by John Gargani, Gargani + Company, was how do we communicate the impact data we collect? He explains that standards for communicating data are still evolving, which is “driven by a belief that better communication leads to more effective use of impact findings.” It is certainly hard to understate the value of communicating the data we collect well. Whilst we always communicate impact with a purpose, the effectiveness of that communication rests on many other aspects.
When considering these other factors, it is important to think about who we are talking to and how we can influence them. Do we write the same report for external stakeholders and internal decision makers? Of course, what is material will change depending on who the report is targeting. For the SROI Network, materiality is defined as “[determining] what information and evidence must be included in the accounts to give a true and fair picture, such that stakeholders can draw reasonable conclusions about impact.” Yet different reports will influence different readers in different ways. So if we are changing the content of a social impact report for our audience, how do we decide what to include?
Greg Thomson, Charity Intelligence Canada, argued, in a blog for SIAA, the importance of knowing what goes in a report for charities to receive funding. He wrote, “Our report on Social Results Reporting shows that we were only able to find 34% of the information that we would like to see.” He asserts that either they are not reporting externally on the data they collect for internal decision making or they are not collecting the right information. Perhaps, then, it is apt to talk about the extent to which methodology determines what goes in a report and what standards for reporting impact look like.
By bringing together delegates from across the field, we will be able to address questions of materiality, reporting standards and how we ensure that measurements deliver the right message. Talking Data will open up international discussion and inspire our delegates to explore new ideas and hone in on some important issues. Together we can not only get data talking but shouting from the rooftops.
The Social Impact Analysts Association‘s (SIAA) 2014 Annual Conference, Talking Data: Measurement with a message, will be held in Toronto on November 3rd – 4th in partnership with Social Asset Measurements and Charity Intelligence Canada. Tickets are now on sale!