Impact substitution

Limbering up for tomorrow’s Social Impact Camp, I’m trying to work out what I actually think about the current ongoing debates around the subject. I enjoyed last month’s event, particularly the presentation by Rob Greenland but, though Rob succeeded in outlining the challenges faced by smaller organisations trying to measure their impact, the search for workable solutions goes on.

SROI may be a great idea (and practically useful to large organisations) but as someone running a real economy micro-business (that according to the latest research is also a social enterprise medium to large business), I find it it hard to imagine a point where I’ll have time to read enough of the literature to understand it, let alone implement it as a measure of the work we do.

Discussing how to assess the impact of one of our projects – a national magazine by and for people with mental health difficulties – with participants at an action learning set on social enterprise organised by London Civic Forum last week, the consensus seemed to be that it was best to go for qualitative methods of reporting such as case studies of individuals involved in the project. That certainly is valuable but it’s difficult to plot on a graph.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Impact substitution

  1. A problem with quantitative data on impact is that it can seem a little soulless – and if it doesn’t look like much of an impact is being made, soul-destroying. I think that case studies of individuals are more likely to have a positive impact upon the development of the organisation.

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