Helping you understand, measure
and communicate your Social Impact
You only get one chance to tell your story so make the most of it.

Back to basics: what is social impact measurement?

 
 
At Gauge NI we help organisations to understand, measure and communicate their social impact. Social impact, and how to measure it, can seem like a complex subject so we are writing a ‘Back to basics’ blog series to help explain it without the jargon.
 
Our first post in the series looked at what we mean by social impact, now we are asking what is social impact measurement?
 
Social impact measurement 
 
Organisations measure their financial impact through audited accounts; they measure their environmental impact through examining carbon footprint and CO2 emissions. Increasingly organisations from across all sectors are also choosing to measure their social impact.
 
Social impact measurement examines the contribution an organisation makes to its end users, the community it operates within and to society in general.
 
There is a wealth of freely available resources to help you measure your impact. The Inspiring Impact ‘Resource Hub’ lists some 214. So from the outside, social impact measurement, or assessment, can appear highly complex. However, our experience (supported by additional evidence for PWC) is that once you have grasped basic principles and become familiar with some of the key terms, the process quickly becomes clearer.
 
Impact Measurement Terms  
 
Some of the confusion around impact measurement stems from a misunderstanding of the language used.  We’ve put together the following definitions of commonly used impact measurement terms and related them to the example of measuring the impact a training programme for people with learning difficulties.   
 
 
A very simple and accessible guide is provided by the Big Lottery Fund, in our opinion, a truly outcomes focused funder.  
 
Impact Measurement Tools 
 
There are a wealth of impact measurement methods and tools available. Which you choose for your project will depend on the subject matter you want to measure, the amount of information available and the time and budget resources available to you. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common tools used in impact measurement:
 
 
At Gauge we are specialist providers of Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluations. In our next Back to Basics post we will be looking in more detail at what SROI is, when it is appropriate and some examples of SROI evaluations we have carried out for clients. 
 
Do you have experience of using any of the impact measurement tools we have mentioned or some others? Let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn about your impact measurement experiences.
 
If you’d like to have a chat about impact measurement and how it could work for your organisation give us a call on 02890 234414 or email info@gaugeni.co.uk.
 
Call us: 028 9043 6400
Gauge NI: 15-17 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 4GN