If you are running a social community or organization, then you must have been asked, “How’s it going?”.
How do you answer that?
“It’s going well!”, “We are doing really good”, “We are really successful”
But, how do you define well or good or successful in the context of a social community or organization? Unlike for-profit organizations, it is not possible to show revenue to define your success. But that’s not the only reason why it is important for you to do social impact measurement. There is a multitude of reasons why social impact measurement or SIM is important.
What is Social Impact Measurement?
Loosely defined, any positive change that occurs as a result of actions taken by individuals/organizations/social communities/ movements. The change could be for the people living in the society, communities, environment & climate or wildlife. There are many different ways of measuring it. You would need to look for a model that suits your activities and needs.
Why is it important to measure your social impact?
It is equivalent of a financial report for a social movement
If you are a not for profit social movement, you would most likely need to rely on your social impact measurement data to show your success to stakeholders. With the changing wind in the social sector, stakeholders want to know more than 10 beaches cleaned or 5 awareness rallies conducted.
It can help you raise fund and attract donors
Showing measurable impact will not just let you show the results to current stakeholders but attract more funds needed for running your movement. With the advent of websites like givewell.com or charitynavigators.org, it is clear that even individual donors don’t want to just give money to any organization. People want to be sure that the money they are giving away will be used well and to create an actual positive impact.
Pushes us to have a more long term vision
There is a lot of ambiguity about how to measure impact. Many organizations that don’t have a clear understanding of what is it, just end up defining their impact in terms of output or input. Whereas in reality, impact is what comes after that. And is in many cases related to systemic change caused by any action over time. So measuring your social impact can actually help you keep your head at the long term goal and make sure you stay true to your mission.
Important check for your self
Measuring impact also forces you to question everything you as an individual or as a movement are doing. Many actions make for a good photo-op or a good & a touching story to share, and many times movement makers get lost in that glamour. Keeping this in mind, following strict measures to measure your social impact can often work as a great checking point to make sure that the actions taken by you and others working with you are not done in vain.
Social Impact sector as a whole is going through a lot of changes like the advent of social enterprises, an increase in the use of technology, and one of the main reasons for these changes is the expectations of people from the social sector is changing. Social Impact Measurement is one of the tools that can help social movements be more transparent and accountable. And it is definitely here to stay.
Artemis Impact helps volunteer based social movements and endeavour to measure the output and impact affected by them as a result of time and human resources put in. Contact us for more information.