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Social return on investment

understand social impact and social return on investment

There is no single agreed definition for social impact – in our view it is how you change the world for the better. Our social impact identifier© tool helps by identifying themes that you could consider but the specific impact of an activity or organisation needs to be defined much more tightly.

Why is it worth bothering?

Whether you are a business, a charity or a social enterprise if you can explain how you impact people or things in a way that shows why you are really important and add value to the world then you will be more successful.

Businesses call it their USP or the benefits that they offer, for charities and social enterprises it can be summarised as social impact. In either case it will attract more money either from people who buy the services or products or people who fund them.


If you can’t convince with your impact measurement and hence show why you are different/important then why should you get money?

In addition, if you are looking for social investment then the investor will be keen to understand the Social Return on Investment (SROI)

According to the SROI network

“SROI is an approach to understanding and managing the value of the social, economic and environmental outcomes created by an activity or an organisation. It is based on a set of principles that are applied within a framework.”

How inspire2aspire can help With Social Return On Investment

When we work with organisations we focus on five key areas:

Who – who are the stakeholders that are impacted or want/need  to know about the social impact you make
What – what are you doing, what is the impact you want to track
How – how can it be simply and consistently measured (impact Measurement) and shown to link to your activity – the danger is how do you show the link between the practical activity and the bigger and wider outcome
Communicate – communicating the impact in a simple clear way which can be easily understood
Track – tracking over time and gathering lots of data adds power and credibility and provides the social return on investment information to adjust what is being offered as things change

We can provide an objective perspective and help you develop a robust theory of change showing how your activities lead to wider impact across the community and helping you embed this way of thinking into new project ideas which generally will make launch plans stronger and more likely to attract funding and/or early success.

If you don't get it right social impact measurement can eat up resources and then not be easy to understand. We have a social impact think tank which identifies innovative and simple ways to track and measure your social impact and to help create a measure that will differentiate you.