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Understanding not just what has changed, but how

Slay, J. (2014). To maximize impact, evaluate more than just outcomes. Arabella Advisors Greater Good Blog. 17 June 2014, www.arabellaadvisors.com/2014/06/17/to-maximize-impact-evaluate-more-than-just-outcomes/ As this Knowledge Connect has shown, outcomes are the changes that matter. And there are many good reasons why we need to continue to focus on outcomes in order to make better decisions.  But the missing piece in this puzzle is that a focus on what changes is not enough: we need to know how … Continue reading

Posted in Demonstrating Social Impact, Issue 20: Spring 2014 | Leave a comment

Measurement pathways and evidence for impact

Schorr, L. (2012). Broader Evidence for Bigger Impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 10(4), 50–55. No matter the sector trying to measure impact or the approach taken, understanding what types of evidence are credible, rigorous and reliable is a critical factor.  In this 2012 article Lisbeth Schorr (Lecturer in social medicine at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Social Policy) presents a case for a broader understanding of evidence and … Continue reading

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Making measurement meaningful for not-for-profits

Lumley, T. (2013). Raising the Bar on Nonprofit Impact Measurement. Stanford Social Innovation Review, www.ssireview.org/blog/entry/raising_the_bar_on_nonprofits_impact_measurement, accessed Sept 2014. Tris Lumley, the Director of Development at NPC and international thought leader and practitioner in the field of social impact and investment, argues that impact measurement must be tailored for and driven by not for profits. In “Raising the Bar on Nonprofit Impact Measurement”, Lumley examines the actors in the social impact system and their roles in … Continue reading

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Social impact measurement amongst social enterprises

Barraket, J. & Yousefpour, N. (2013). Evaluation and Social Impact Measurement Amongst Small to Medium Social Enterprises: Process, Purpose and Value. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 72(4), 447–458. Works like those of Epstein and Yuthas and the IIRC are aimed across sectors. Other experts write specifically about outcomes and impact measurement for particular groups. Professor Barraket, the recently appointed Director at the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne, and her co-author Yousefpour, for example, examine the … Continue reading

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Measuring change in advocacy

Hestbaek, C. (2014). Closing in on Change – Measuring the Effectiveness of your Campaign. New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), www.thinknpc.org/publications/closing-in-on-change/, accessed Sept 2014. The biggest changes in our society often start through a campaign. Organisations that focus on advocacy can act as the catalyst for fundamental shifts in the law and how we treat other people (or animals, or the environment). For this type of work, success can often be perceived as “all or nothing”– either … Continue reading

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Including outcomes as part of an organisation’s overall performance

International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) (2013). The International Integrated Reporting Framework, www.theiirc.org/international-ir-framework, accessed 28 Sept 2014. Just a few months prior to the release of Epstein and Yuthas’ book, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC*) published a conceptual framework for the preparation of a concise, user-oriented “Integrated Report”. Integrated Reporting demonstrates the linkages between an organization’s strategy, governance and financial performance and the social, environmental and economic context within which organisations operate. By reinforcing these … Continue reading

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Measuring and improving social impact

Epstein, M. J. & Yuthas, K. (2014). Measuring and Improving Social Impacts A Guide for Nonprofits, Companies, and Impact Investors, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, California. At a time when there is much discussion, rhetoric and theory around social impact investment and social impact measurement, Epstein and Yuthas’ Measuring and Improving Social Impacts is a very useful, clear and practical guide. Mark Epstein (a Professor of Management at Rice University, Houston & previously of Business School, Harvard Business … Continue reading

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Spring 2014: Think Outcomes

From the Editor: Associate Professor Kristy Muir, Research Director (Social Outcomes), the Centre for Social Impact Around one in five people in Australia have a mental illness and almost one in five a disability, increasing their risk of being out of work, having a lower level of education and being socially isolated. We have rising health and aged care costs, but a shrinking workforce and the highest level of youth unemployment in more than a decade. … Continue reading

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Recent approaches to measuring social impact in the third sector: an overview

by Gianni Zappalà & Mark Lyons, CSI BP No.6, 2009. Summary by Gianni Zappalà. There is a growing interest in the measurement of social impact. In some countries, there are moves towards making the use of some form of social impact measurement framework or model compulsory for those Third Sector organisations that receive government funding. Three such social impact measurement approaches are gaining traction in Australia: Social Accounting and Audit (SAA); Logic Models such as … Continue reading

Posted in Demonstrating Social Impact, Issue 5: Summer 2010 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector

Draft research report, The Australian Government Productivity Commission; 14 October 2009. This commissioned study by the Australian Government has an ambitious ambit. It seeks to measure Third Sector contributions to Australian society at the aggregate, organisational, and program level. In doing so, the Productivity Commission states that it aims to enhance organisational performance, transparency for stakeholders, and related public policy. Chapter Three reveals the Commission’s evaluation approach. The Commission employs the theory of change model … Continue reading

Posted in Demonstrating Social Impact, Issue 5: Summer 2010 | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment