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Mary lee rhodes - impact indicators

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  • 1. Measuring Social Impact: Looking for Inspiration Mary Lee Rhodes Trinity College Dublin Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013
  • 2. What’s the problem? 1)  Philanthropists, Government and Citizens are looking for ways to allocate scarce resources for maximum benefit 2)  GDP as a measure of social ‘progress’ has been roundly criticised 3)  A plethora of new proposals for measuring social progress have been mooted – no generally accepted standard as yet. 4)  Measurement approaches highly subjective Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013
  • 3. Sources of ‘inspiration’ •  performance objectives and outcomes measures as critical components of public service systems •  Rise of ‘Beyond GDP’ (‘well-being’) social progress indicators •  Research into housing ‘system’ in Ireland •  Board membership on Housing-related Non-profits and Government agencies •  Practical and Academic challenge of Social Impact analysis / reporting •  Need for credible measures of Social Return for emerging social finance market Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013
  • 4. What is social impact? •  Measuring cost-benefit: the production of social value (‘benefit’) that is greater/less than the resources (‘cost’) required to produce it (Arvidson et al, Bagnoli & Megali, Emerson et al, Gordon, Tuan) •  Social value: change in the conditions of (targeted groups of) human beings in specified areas, e.g., health, education, housing, employment, environment (Ashoka, REDF, GIIN – see IRIS database) •  Resources: financial, human, political, environmental, legitimacy assets that are expended in the creation of social value (Nicholls et al, Zappala & Lyons) •  Sustainability: economic, social and environmental future viability of the organisation / programme (Bagnoli & Megali) Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013
  • 5. What is well-being? •  Personal happiness: positive emotions, lack of negative emotions, energy, self-esteem, optimism, income/consumption (Oswald, Diener, Kahneman, Stiglitz) •  Agency & capability: ability to make choices, to fulfil one’s potential, to be engaged in one’s work / study, ‘positive functioning’ (Nussbaum & Sen, NEF) •  Environment & social interaction: positive relationships with family, community, wider society (Putnam, CMEPSP) •  Good governance: perception of fairness / equity in society, trust in government, having a ‘voice’ (NESC 2009) •  Sustainability: economic, social and environmental future viability of current levels of well-being (CMEPSP) Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013
  • 6. Overlaps & Divergence Well-Being FEELINGS SOCIETY* LOCATION/ POLICY Social Impact ‘ACTUAL’ CHANGE Sustainable positive change (or level?) in socially desirable public interest domains CONSUMPTION *‘Fair’ distribution across society TARGET GROUPS* ORGANISATION / PROGRAMME *More for ‘base of pyramid’ Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013
  • 7. Objectives in a public service system? ‘Value objectives’ based on a study of 63 organisations in housing in Ireland including public, non-profit, private, community and political sectors 1)  Utility: individual /organisational value achieved through exchange or allocation of goods / services 2)  Production: individual /organsational value achieved through the production of products / services 3)  Wealth: individual /organsational value achieved through accumulation of assets (value can be created or destroyed) 4)  Equity: systemic value achieved through narrowing the gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ 5)  Inclusion: systemic value achieved through increasing participation 6)  ‘Collectivity’: systemic value achieved through increasing level of consensus around policy / practices Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013
  • 8. Competing or complementary? SOCIETY Well-Being Social Impact TARGET GROUP FEELINGS ‘PRODUCTION’ ‘UTILITY’ (consumption) ‘EQUITY’ ‘UTILITY’ (satisfaction) INDIVIDUAL ‘WEALTH’ (cost) ‘COLLECTIVITY’ ‘INCLUSION’ ‘WEALTH’ (profit) Housing System Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013 ORGANISATION
  • 9. Key Issues for Research & Development •  Defining / producing social impact measures –  Omission of feelings, inclusion and “collectivity” in Social Impact literature –  Measures are notoriously difficult to define, to agree upon, to establish robust measurement strategies for, to aggregate / synthesize, etc –  What about sustainability: trade-off between current and future generations? •  Establishing cause & effect relationships –  Even if the measures can be agreed and strategies for collecting data established – determining what organisations, policies and/or environmental factors affect these measures is a major challenge –  Issues of attribution, deadweight, gaming etc. require attention •  Institutional accountability & transformation –  Should cause & effect relationships be established, these are likely to be complicated and have many interdependencies – making accountability difficult – defining accountability may need adjustment –  Institutional change is required and extremely challenging Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013
  • 10. References (Social Impact) •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Arvidson, M., Lyon, F., McKay, S., et al. (2010) "The ambitions and challenges of SROI". Birmingham: Third Sector Research Centre. Bagnoli, L and Megali, C (2009) Measuring Performance in Social Enterprises. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Accessed at: http://nvs.sagepub.com/content/40/1/149. Last Accessed: 15/01/12 Emerson, J; Wachowicz, J and Chun, S (1999), Social Return on Investment: Exploring Aspects of Value Creation in the Nonprofit Sector. REDF Box Set - Social Purpose Enterprises and Venture Philanthropy in the New Millennium (17) Flockhart, A (2005), Raising the profile of social enterprises: the use of social return on investment (SROI) and investment ready tools (IRT) to bridge the financial credibility gap. Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 1 (1), pp.29 - 42 Gordon, M (2009), Accounting For Making a Difference. Social Enterprise Magazine. 25.11.09. Leviner, N; Crutchfield, L and Wells, D (2007), The Impact of Social Entrepreneurs: Ashoka's Answer to the Challenge of Measuring Effectiveness Putnam, R.A. (2000) Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community, NY, NY: Simon Shuster Nicholls, A., Mackenzie, Somers (2007) Measuring real value: A DIY guide to Social Return on Investment, New Economics Foundation Tuan, M (2008), Measuring and/or Estimating Social Value Creation: Insights Into Eight Integrated Cost Approaches. Prepared for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Impact Planning and Improvement Stiglitz, J., Sen., Fitoussi, J-P. (2009), Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, Zappala, G. and Lyons, M. (2009) "Recent approaches to measuring social impact in the third sector: An overview". The Centre for Social Impact Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013
  • 11. References (Well-being) •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Diener, E. & Seligman, M. (2004) “Beyond money: toward an economy of well-being” Psychological Science in the Public Interest, vol 5: pp. 1-31 Kahneman, Daniel (1999), ‘Objective Happiness’ in Kahneman, D., Diener, E. & Schwarz, N. (eds), Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology, New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation Michaelson, J., Abdallah, S., Steuer, N., Thompson, S., Marks, N. (2009), “National Accounts of Well-being: bringing real wealth onto the balance sheet”, London: New Economics Foundation (NEF) NESC (2009) Well-being Matters: A Social Report for Ireland (vol 1), Dublin: NESC Nussbaum, M. & Sen, A. (eds) (1993) The Quality of Life, Oxford: Clarendon Press OECD (2001) The Well-Being of Nations: The Role of Human and Social Capital, Paris: OECD Oswald A (1980) ‘Happiness and economic performance’ The Economic Journal 107:1815–1831. Putnam, R.A. (2000) Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community, NY, NY: Simon Shuster Ryan, R. & Deci, E.L. (2001) “On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being” Annual Review of Psychology, vol 52: pp. 141-166 Stiglitz, J., Sen, A., Fitoussi, J-P. (2008), Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (CMEPSP) Issues Paper, Stiglitz, J., Sen., Fitoussi, J-P. (2009), Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, White, A. (2007) “A Global Projection of Subjective Well-being: A Challenge To Positive Psychology?” Psychtalk, vol 56, pp. 17-20 Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action 8 March 2013

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