Mythbusting: it’s too difficult to demonstrate social impact

More or less everyone involved in social enterprise agrees that demonstrating your impact is really important but not very many are actually doing it… my latest mythbuster for The Guardian‘s Social Enterprise Network.



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2 responses to “Mythbusting: it’s too difficult to demonstrate social impact

  1. I thought I’d copy my response here David, given the Guardian’s inclination to take offence at my comments:

    I wrote a social impact report (because I was asked to) for the SE100 index in 2011. It described our impact on childcare policy in Eastern Europe and the social business approach we used.

    Back in 1996 we’d made a point about measument saying:- Economics, and indeed human civilization, can only be measured and calibrated in terms of human beings. Everything in economics has to be adjusted for people, first, and abandoning the illusory numerical analyses that inevitably put numbers ahead of people, capitalism ahead of democracy, and degradation ahead of compassion.

    There was an interesting congruence with what Muhammad Yunus says of Grameen Danone, that the bottom line is the number of children removed from malnutrition since our focus was placing children in loving family homes. i wrote this impact story up for the Mix initiative run by Mckinsey and Havard last year.

    The thing is David, if we can’t find anyone to publish these reports – how can anybody know anything about what works or doesn’t?


  2. I think there’s also a concern that social enterprise might be left behind if they don’t at least try to start to make some effort in this area – many larger private firms have started to devote resources to ‘proving’ their added value/social impact as they’ve seen which way the winds started to blow with public procurement, and actually, it really isn’t that difficult, after all, if a sole trader can do it, why can’t others?
    (see –


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