In this series, we have been tackling four area hot spots in short-term quarterly reporting. As we mentioned, you have to do more than the average bear as a social enterprise. You must be an Olympic athlete to pull off this type of business.
Our focus is on these four areas:
Business: Your Product/Service and Your Customer/Client
Social Impact: Your Measurement Options and Your Related Goals
Operations: Your Staffing and Your Processes
Marketing: Your Promotion and Your Sales
Access earlier blogs:
1 of 8: Business Enterprise-Products
2 of 8 Quarterly Goals: Business Enterprise- Customers
Today, we dive into the vast subject of Social Impact!
Your Measurement Options of Social Impact
For brevity, we will avoid participation in the vast arguments about social impact reporting. There are just as many theories as the millennial. Please keep in mind that everything Gingras Global reports out is from the 'field' or 'street' observations. Therefore, what we are about to suggest is a working model for social impact measurement as of the date of this article.
One more frame to consider. The strategy is set up to further the growth of your social enterprise but also communicate effectively with an impact funder. Goal setting and reporting through only one of the two will prove limited in the long-run.
Social Impact is about tracking and reporting. It is about building credibility for your organization with practical measurement tools.
The great news for you is that there are not a lot of options!
Follow the seven steps below and quickly determine your best measurement options.
Step One: Write down your social mission. This time, instead of keeping it short, let yourself ramble to include as many details and images of the outcome impact you would like to produce. Freethink.
Write down the profile of your social impact beneficiary.
Step Two: Make a list of those details and images of your desired impact outcome. This exercise is re-establishing and anchoring you to your mission. If you have not been challenged by outsiders already, you will be. It is critical that you and your team are firmly rooted in your WHY about social impact. These items in this list of Step Two will be your goal feeder in the next blog.
One last note in this step: Do this every quarter. Don't skip it. If you are transparent with yourself, these may change or tweak slightly over time and it is good! If you do not update them with your exact truth, you will be likely to bend or give yourself permission to not meet them.
Step Three: Run the social impact beneficiary and outcome list by your team. Obtain agreement and make changes before moving on to Step Four.
Step Four: Review the list in Step Two in the context of disagreement. What if a funder or other critical partner does not agree with items on your list? Are you grounded enough not to change them? This is a major factor in your social impact and the place where many bend.
Social Impact, like philanthropy and art, is in the eye of the beholder. You must understand that these details are important to you and your team and may hold little value to another. Or, they may only value a few items on your list and tell you to scrap the rest. Don't do it!
Once you feel comfortable that you and your teammates will stand on your desired outcome list, we now move on to Step Five.
Step Five: Take your agreed upon list of desired impact outcomes. Group them into one of three categories: Resource Sharing, Social Staffing, or Product/Service Impact. Let's break this down:
(a) Did the impact outcome that your organization provided happen because you provided something out of your organization such as money, products, or time? Did you give the beneficiaries a percentage of your revenue or profit? Did you offer a product or service from a buy-one-give-one model? Did you or your team serve your recipient with time? An important note here: Do NOT include any volunteering. ONLY include volunteering or serving that is unique to your social impact beneficiary.
(b) Did the impact outcome generated happen from hiring your intended social impact beneficiary? If yes, then this is social staffing.
(c) Did the impact outcome generate because your product or service has impact embedded within it? Does your product or service generate impact as it is purchased and used?
In general, products or services that have to do with improving health or environmental conditions fall into this category. If this is where your impact is generated, then you must answer one more set of questions:
(i) Is the impact generated upon product production? or
(ii) Is the impact generated upon product purchase? or
(iii) Is the impact generated upon product use?
Review all of the items in your intended social impact outcome list and place them in a grid/table with a category for all three types: Resource Sharing, Social Staffing, Product Impact. In Step Six we will place more items next to each one.
Step Six: Let's do this! Place the possible unit of measurement next to each list item in the grid/table made in Step Five. There is a way to grab a unit of measurement for each list item. Here are some examples:
(a) Resource Sharing Category: units can be dollars and units of products -easy to track. This needs to be tracked from within your organization.
(b) Social Staffing: units can be hours on the payroll, dollars on payroll, dollars paid over a living wage, dollars paid for additional services such as GED classes, etc. Again, this data needs to be tracked within your organization
(c) Product Impact: The first and most important item to track here is the product or service unit. Is it one wheel/sweater/muffin/hour? What is your product or service unit? Write it down here. Again, this information should be tracked within your organization.
All of the items written here so far are your Natural Data. This is data that comes from within your organization; this data is generated from the ordinary processes of running your organization. Knowledge of your Natural Data will be a major key in establishing your credibility. We created a podcast in 2015 on Natural Data. To listen to the podcast, click here.
This new list of natural data is the epicenter of your best social impact reporting and goal setting. You will use this list for many strategies.
-The next area of this blog is attaching a monetary value to your units of measurement. You may not need this for goal setting. We only suggest you tackle it while your pen and paper are out! -
Step Seven: Now we place a monetary value, if available, to the units of measurement. If you have items in the Resource Sharing or Social Staffing areas, go back and place a dollar value per unit item in next to each unit item. It is easy.
The tricky category is the Product/Service Impact category. This dollar valuation often depends on outside information- which is dangerous!
Let's side step for a moment to discuss formulas. A formula is a combination of data to express a relationship. 2 + 4 = 6 or red plus blue equals purple. Both statements are formulas whether they are numerical or text, right? They are both expressing what happens when you put different items together.
Ideally, we only want to use formulas with your own natural data. Why? Because you can always have access to it and it belongs only to your organization which increases the value of your work.
However, when your product or service has embedded impact, you often must rely on someone else's data in addition to your natural data. Furthermore, whenever your are reducing something (air pollution, etc.), you will always rely on some outside data to express relationships.
To assign a dollar value, you may need to source another entities' data. Here is an example: You make a product that keeps people from overheating in the extremely high temperatures, and your target social impact beneficiary is the elderly. Your natural data is how many products you produced. You will need to contact either a group of users for testimony data or an organization that is performing research on this issue. Assume you located a university hospital that has documented the cost of health care/health care related issues due to overheating with this population group. Assume they know that the health care system is burdened by $40,000 of costs per patient that has a body temp over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Assume they know 1000 patients per year overheat. Assume your product keeps temperatures down below 95 degrees. You see where we are going here?
This is the only way to place a dollar figure on the Product Impact. The most important point here is that you must differentiate between your natural data and outside data and formulas. Obviously, document the source of your outside data/formulas if you are required to report such things.
Now that we have discussed your measurement options, you will be ready to set goals around these choices. In the next blog 4 of 8: Quarterly Goal setting for Social Impact, we will easily set the goals for social impact!
Gingras Global ~ Speak Truth. Demonstrate Impact. Declare Life ~