In this blog, we will continue to discuss stage 2 of SROI analysis – Mapping Outcomes.
After establishing the scope and identifying the stakeholders, now that the stakeholders have been identified and involved in the process of SROI analysis, engagement and interaction with them will help in the creation of an ‘impact map‘. The map exhibits the relationship between inputs, outputs and outcomes. This intricate link between inputs, outputs and outcomes is often described as the ‘Theory of Change‘.
The second stage of the SROI analysis will broadly include the following:
- Designing the impact map
- Identifying inputs
- Assigning monetary value to inputs
- Clarifying outputs
- Describing outcome
1. Designing The Impact Map
In this stage, you will begin by defining or designing the impact map. Your impact map is like a blueprint of the SROI analysis. It will include information about the organization and the scope of the analysis. You will also feed in information about stakeholders and ‘intended or unintended’ changes based on the analysis completed in the previous stage.
Carrying forward the example we referred to in the previous blog, this phase of analysis will require the NGO to fill in the top section of the impact map. The process will begin by listing out the name of the NGO, its objective and the scope of its project. It will then list out its stakeholders, such as the local government, the civic body, residents, volunteers, etc., in the first column. The intended/unintended changes for these parties will be listed out in the second column.
Residents near the West Java area were listed as the stakeholders by the NGO in the first column. The second column mentioned that this group is likely to experience an improved quality of life as an ‘intended change’ brought about by the project. In this manner, the exercise was carried out for the rest of the stakeholders and the first two columns in the impact map were filled accordingly.
2. Identify Inputs
Next up is the need to identify various resources (inputs) that go into the project or the activity. This will be the next column that will be filled.
The NGO will need to identify what are stakeholders contributing towards making the activity possible. While the investment (input)made by some stakeholders – like its investors and the local government – could be valued in monetary terms, some of the volunteers contributed their time while others provided meals for the staff. The NGO will need to factor in all possible investment, resources and inputs relevant to the project in the third column of the map.
Tip: Ensure including only those inputs that go into making the activity possible. Be careful of double-counting inputs.Tip: Ensure including only those inputs that go into making the activity possible. Be careful of double-counting inputs. Click To Tweet
3. Assigning monetary value to inputs
The next step will require assigning value to the non-monetized inputs. This stage will help in deciding if you would want to assign value to the non-monetized inputs such as volunteer time and contributions made in kind.
It is at this stage where the NGO will need to decide whether or not it would want to assign a monetary value to meals provided by some of its volunteers. Also, there are different ways of valuing volunteer time depending on the work being done. The NGO may decide to value volunteers’ time on an hourly basis, say, $6 per hour of volunteering.
Tip: One of the ways to determine whether or not to assign value to a non-monetized input is by understanding its role in achieving the output. If the project would not have achieved fruition without these inputs, then there will be a need for assigning value to them. However, according to the current convention in SROI, time spent by the beneficiaries on a program is not assigned a financial value.
4. Clarifying Outputs
At this point in the stage, it becomes imperative to state the outputs clearly or clarifying outputs. While the activity remains the same for all stakeholders, there will be the need to break it down into the outputs. For example, the activity of the project in the case of the NGO is the development of public spaces around West Java and the possible outputs that the NGO listed out included the construction of an open gym, green zones, public urinals, etcetera. Simply put, this stage deals with quantifying the outputs.
5. Describing Outcomes
The last chain in the second stage of the SROI analysis involves describing the outcomes. Now is the time to go back to your stakeholders and see if the ‘intended/unintended changes’ listed out previously match the outcomes for all the parties. The last column of the impact will require you to fill in the information describing the various ‘outcomes’ stemming out from the output.
You may even need to add a new party as a stakeholder-based on the outcomes. For example, the development of public spaces around West Java may attract more public to the area leading to an increase in traffic and pollution, as a result, if those at the receiving end of this change are impacted, then they need to be included as stakeholders.
However, outputs should not be confused with outcomes. The completion of the West Java development project is the ‘output’ in this case, whereas, when the local residents benefit from using the open gyms and the elderly paid fewer visits to the hospital as a result of better health, this translates into an ‘outcome’ which can be then be measured in monetary terms.
Tip: At this stage, engaging with your stakeholders becomes very important to get well-defined outcomes and map the ‘Theory of Change’.
Remember, there can be many more outcomes stemming from the ‘output’ and different outcomes will have varied effects on different stakeholders. Then, there will be intended outcomes, ones that were expected, and the unintended ones that can be both positive and negative. Some outcomes will be immediately visible while some may begin to surface at a later stage as part of a chain of events.
Tip: It may be a good idea to work through the entire exercise with inputs, outputs and outcomes in relation to one stakeholder and go on to repeat the chain for the rest of them. Relate outcomes to the right stakeholders, a stakeholder may actively contribute to the outcome but it isn’t necessary for them to be actively impacted by it. Other factors are equally important for the analysis, such as the objective of your organization.
The ‘outcomes’ column in the impact map can thus be filled, it will help in realizing the ‘Theory of Change’ for each stakeholder concerning the activity or ‘output’ covered in your scope. Be sure to include only material outcomes and relevant data. Exclusion of stakeholders, input or outcomes must be documented along with the reasons.
With this, we have reached the end of stage II of SROI calculation. In the next stage, we will help you understand how outcomes are evidenced and assigned a value.