Measuring community impact

Evaluating the impact of your community investment is essential

Any investor or funder will want to understand the value of their investment. Any board will want to know how resources are allocated and what is being delivered with those resources.

The operating environment is increasingly challenging and being able to prove the value of what is being delivered is crucial. Building homes is easier to quantify, but what about those less quantifiable outcomes.

  • Firstly, make sure that you are reflecting your organisation priorities. There needs to be a best fit for the way that you operate.
  • Secondly, communicating your overall impact is as valuable as the detailed measurement metrics associated with particular projects.

Useful tools

There are a wide range of tools on the market designed to measure the social and/or business impact of community investment projects. By their very nature, each community project is locally driven and delivered according to the neighbourhood and business circumstances that arise for that location.

The most commonly known tools include the Government endorsed Social Return on Investment, and the HACT detailed econometrics model, however these may not be the most effective tools to measure your organisation’s impact. You may wish to consider a bespoke tool which looks at a particular project outcome or a basket of projects. Many accountancy and auditing consultants offer bespoke tools which are tailored to your distinct requirements.

Some organisations have also developed their own internal measurement tools. It may be that recruiting your own team or working on a consortium basis to measure your social impact is the best option for your organisation.

HouseMark has teamed up with Midland Heart to launch, A Journey to social impact, the first guide to measuring social impact written from a practitioner perspective. Written by Stephen Russell, Research Manager at Midland Heart, the report is primarily concerned with demystifying how organisations can measure their social impact, covering the principles to undertake and embed social impact measurement. It also provides detail on the main approaches and methods that are available but often poorly understood.