SIAA Launch 2011 – Are we preaching to the converted?

By Giles Gibson, Partner at The Mobile Collective and winner of SIAA’s launch ticket Twitter giveaway

At SIAA’s launch, on a rainy day in Kings Cross, what the organisation would be and what it would aim to achieve was still a matter for debate. Will it be an industry support group? Will it set and enforce guidelines? Or will it be a resource centre for the charity and not-for-profit sectors?

In the current financial climate, companies with traditional business models are failing left, right and centre. This means people are willing to consider new ways of doing business simply to survive. With an audience willing to listen to something new , there has never been a better time for social impact analysis to take centre stage. Such an opportunity won’t come round again for a long time.

The SIAA launch consisted of a room full of social impact experts, third sector practitioners and funders trying to work out a road map for the organisation and for the sector. Possibly, we were preaching to the converted, particularly as it was assumed that charities and third sector organisations are SIAA’s target market. Yet there is an appetite for social impact analysis beyond the social sector.

SIAA must take the lead in persuading the private sector of the performance, efficiency and strategic gains to be had by placing social impact analysis at the heart an organisation’s working. The dream is for any organisation worth its salt to have a Social Impact Officer working alongside its Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer. Social impact analysis cannot be viewed as a bolt-on option, a lonely item under AOB.

In order for SIAA to have the greatest effect is needs to stop preaching to the converted – that is, the third sector, which is already ahead of the game on social impact analysis – and work on influencing the private sector to adopt social impact metrics. The end result would be a greater social impact for all of us.

One response to “SIAA Launch 2011 – Are we preaching to the converted?”

  1. Brooks White says:

    If you could solve the problem in the NFP world you will have done wonders. I come from the corporate world and am interested in NFPs. While some are better than others, it is the lack of metrics and accountability that is glaring. It is what makes your members so vital. I spent most of my career as a lawyer for insurers. While many global insurers have sustainability offices, they often play around the edges because what they need is clean data over a period of years to be able to create new products at a determinable rate. Accordingly, when there are good analytics insurers will create products, banks and finance companies can issue social impact bonds and the like. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

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