Social impact measuring – Where are you in the process?


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Do you use an impact measurement tool to measure the social impact of your project and organisation? Social impact measurement is an important tool for monitoring our impact and demonstrating the legitimacy of our activities, and at the same time a learning process that can inspire more and more innovations. This blog post is about two impact measurement systems and a related workshop.

The Social Impact Management Toolkit, created by the Cromo Foundation as part of an international partnership, provides a good opportunity to reflect on the impact of our activities for social change along with our mission. The idea is based on measuring the social impact of a given project according to the cycles of project management. The purpose of the toolkit is to find simple, easy-to-use online impact assessment tools for small and medium-sized organisations that are linked to each step of the project. The result is an online publication with a related tool recommendation, which is available in English here.

Impact management in 5 steps

Step 1. Defining the Overarching Societal Problem: Social impact is the medium or long-term change in a population’s well-being resulting from a given project, programme or policy. It can be positive or negative, intended or unintended.

Step 2. Mapping Assets and Needs: Solutions-based tools are essential: problem trees must be converted into solutions trees. Mapping based on the theory of change is important because this creates a focus on the paths of causality towards change – the chains of outcomes, and eventually impacts, that are expected to unfold over time as a result of our activities.

Step 3. Setting Objectives and Strategies: Do the project objectives fit into the organisational mission and strategy? The goal is to reach the result stages and differentiate between the different ends we want to meet – results, outputs, outcomes and impacts of a project.

Step 4. Engaging and Transforming: Indicators can be quantitative or qualitative. We can either use available indicators or create new ones. Indicators are the critical tools needed to produce impact evidence that can then be measured.

Step 5. Improving and Innovating: The ability to use data well helps us improve our activities and create innovation. Gathering data based on well-conceived impact and organisational objectives provides us with an opportunity to learn about how we can do better in our work and about what approaches are more suited to our environments.

One specific tool employed by MagNet Bank is the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) tool, which it uses to measure the impact of its customers . The essence of the ESG approach is to jointly measure the environmental, social and governance impacts of the organisation. The ESG impact measurement tool is more common in the business sector but can also be interesting and useful for measuring the impact of social projects.

What is ESG impact measurement for?

  • To demonstrate the social, economic and environmental impact of organisations
  • To evaluate and qualify organisations according to social aspects
  • To measure and improve the operation and efficiency of organisations

Among other subjects in the online workshop on February 10, 2021, we discussed these tools with the Hungarian SozialMarie 2020 Winners and Nominees as well as with Tamás Dudás, impact expert of MagNet Bank, Zsófia Tornóczi, coordinator and expert at SozialMarie, and the Cromo Foundation.

With the support of the impact expert of MagNet Bank, SozialMarie 2020 Winners and Nominees will now have the opportunity to measure their ESG impacts. Thank you to MagNet Bank for the pro bono offer!

Text: Zsófia Tornóczi

Illustration: Diana Polekhina, Unsplash