Make An Impact CIC

GUEST BLOG: Heidi Fisher, Founder of Make An Impact CIC

To monetise or not? This is something I’m asked about regularly by you when you’re looking to evaluate (or predict) the impact of services.

Now I love Social Return on Investment (SROI) but it is not suitable for every organisation or worth doing. Based on my 20+ years’ experience of doing this work here’s a quick decision tree to see if SROI is right for your organisation:

1.      What activities and outcomes do you deliver?

If you’re mainly delivering health, social care, employability, skills and training, or criminal justice/offender management services then it’s worth looking at SROI as there are lots of existing financial values for these types of outcomes.

There are some other areas that also have financial proxies, such as environment which are mainly carbon and energy savings, but these tend to be more limited. You can still do SROI and use techniques such as the Value Game to get your clients to assign monetary values to the outcomes achieved.

2.      Where does your income come from?

If your income is mainly from the public sector it’s worth considering SROI as you can identify potential savings for the public sector, whereas if your income is mainly from grants or donations from Trusts and Foundations or individual consumers or businesses they’re unlikely to be interested in SROI. They will be more interested in stories, case studies and feedback (basically your qualitative data).

3.      Are your activities or your main sources of income likely to change in future?

If your plan is to do more work in any of the areas mentioned above or to have more income from public sector contracts SROI would be worth considering in the future. Your other option is to do a predictive SROI – identifying the SROI your future activities will deliver rather than an evaluative SROI (which looks at the SROI your activities have already delivered).

A word of caution

The real value with assigning financial values to the impact that you have is that it makes it quite simple for people to understand. So, you know your SROI is £6 for every £1 you spend on your services. So it very much simplifies everything you do down to one number. But the issue with that is that you then lose all the story and the depth of what you’ve actually delivered.

Which is why, although I do love SROI, I prefer a balanced approach where you have the financial numbers where they’re appropriate, but you still tell the story of what’s actually happened in terms of your impact. You’ll also appeal to people that love numbers and those that love words as you’ll have a mix of both.

Heidi Fisher | Founder, Make An Impact CIC | Connect


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