Embedding value

Embed the concept of social value in your organisational structure and culture

Finding a successful approach to effectively measuring social value within your organisation can mean can mean taking a whole organisation approach where social value is embedded within the core of your business - not just community investment activities or procurement.

National Housing Federation-sponsored research, based on case stuides, has identified four crucial elements to embedding any social value approach into an organisation.

1. Gain high level support and legitimacy for the approach

In gaining support, it is essential that the organisation is clear about the purpose of the exercise and how the results will be used. Failure to do this may lead to a constant questioning of the appropriateness of the approach and worse still, results which do not seem to be appropriate or useful to the organisation.

2. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach

The diversity of approaches to community investment reflects the diversity of the sector. Any approach to social impact measurement must be capable of capturing and reflecting the mission of the organisation.

3 . Discuss, agree and be transparent on the methodology

Subjectivity is inherent in any social impact measurement exercise and a lack of transparency as to how this subjectivity is dealt with may undermine the credibility. The elements of any evaluation such as deadweight and attribution need to be considered.

4. Educate staff, provide skills and resources

Social impact measurement is seen as a difficult task and this is often compounded by expecting someone without the requisite skills or training to undertake it. To minimise barriers to data collation and collection, raising awareness amongst a wide range of staff is beneficial and may help to prioritise and embed it. Allow time for the approach to social value to develop and embed within your organisation – accept it probably won’t be right first time, but the next time it will be better.