Tag Archives: Demonstrating Social Impact

Book Review: In Search of Civilization: Remaking a Tarnished Idea

Book Review: In Search of Civilization: Remaking a Tarnished Idea Book by John Armstrong, published by Penguin Books Australia, 2009 Reviewed by Dr Joseph Collins In Search of Civilization helps us explore a philosophical journey about the idea of civilization.  It begins with seemingly benign propositions: civilization ‘shapes its members’ sense of right from wrong’, ‘it’s all to do with the sophisticated pursuit of pleasure’ and ‘it requires a high level of intellectual and artistic … 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

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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

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A Practical Guide for Engaging Stakeholders in Developing Evaluation Questions

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evaluation Series, by Hallie Preskill, Ph.D., and Nathalie Jones, October 2009. The finding of this report should come as no surprise: successful evaluation projects depend upon meaningfully engaging stakeholders early and often in framing the project’s questions. Happily, this guide shines a light on the important practical question of how to engage them. The authors note that to achieve meaningful evaluation results, organisations should solicit stakeholder buy-in from the start. ‘Stakeholders’ … Continue reading

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A Place in Society

The Economist Print Edition; 25 September 2009. When the GFC hit, financial innovation fell out of favour. Yet The Economist reports that the Third Sector is embracing it with abandon. The movement is premised on the belief that financial innovations can solve our most entrenched social problems. Recent events point to its growth in two distinct cultural contexts: San Francisco/ Silicon Valley and New York/ Wall Street. San Francisco hosted SoCap09, a conference infused with … Continue reading

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SROI Act II: A Call to Action for Next Generation SROI

by David Lascelles and Sam Mendelson, Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation; June 2009. ‘Act II’ comes with more humility and empathy than is typically attributed to the founders of the SROI movement. REDF (The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund) pioneered the SROI approach through applying it to their work in re-employment services. Responding to years of criticism during their evangelisation of SROI as the way to measure impact, they now characterise social return on … Continue reading

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Breakthroughs in Shared Measurement and Social Impact

The Foundation Strategy Group; 2009. The breakthroughs reported by the Foundation Strategy Group (FSG) refer to efforts underway to develop shared approaches to measure and report performance across organisations. This informative report highlights twenty such efforts, categorised into three types: Shared measurement platforms Comparative performance systems Adaptive learning systems The research also refers to consistent elements of success across the approaches. These include solid leadership and funding during the multi-year development period, voluntary participation, use … Continue reading

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The End of Charity: How to Fix the Nonprofit Sector Through Effective Social Investing

by David E. K. Hunter, Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal; October 2009. This author lights a fire under funders to promote social impact measurement through social investing. His claim is clear: “Social investing, if widely adopted, will help channel funding streams that are directed by measurable performance rather than feel-good stories, habits of giving and rank sentimentality. And social investing has the potential (yet to be realised) to advance a selection process that either forces poor … Continue reading

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Why Measure? Nonprofits use metrics to show that they are efficient. But what if donors don’t care?

by Katie Cunningham and Marc Ricks, Stanford Social Innovation Review; Summer 2004. Do donors really care about performance measurement? According to this Stanford Social Innovation Review piece: not really. Through interviews with individual donors, the authors reveal that the real motivations behind giving are a personal connection to the cause, leadership, or trustees. There is also a widespread belief in the donor community that there’s not much difference between organisations engaged in similar work. Individual … Continue reading

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A Guide to Social Return on Investment

published by The Office of the Third Sector, United Kingdom; 2009. How to measure organisational impact in the Third Sector is a long held conundrum. Now, however, there is a new pressure that confers an aura of urgency to the issue: the social marketplace. Advocates of the social marketplace understand the need for a universally recognised unit of measure for social returns. Given the lack of agreement in the sector, the UK government has stepped … Continue reading

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