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Impact scorecard - tracking, targets and benchmark

A social impact scorecard is a tool that quantifies and tracks the social and environmental impacts of investments or projects.

In today’s world, businesses are expected to do more than just make a profit. They are also expected to have a positive impact on society and the environment. This concept, known as social impact, has become increasingly important for companies looking to build a sustainable and responsible brand.

But how do you measure social impact? How do you know if your efforts are making a difference? This is where a social impact scorecard comes in. In this article, we’ll explore the scorecard approach to measuring social impact and why it’s essential for businesses today.

What is a Social Impact Scorecard?

A social impact scorecard is a tool used to measure and track a company’s social performance. It is a set of metrics and indicators that help businesses understand the impact they are having on society and the environment.

The scorecard approach is based on the belief that what gets measured gets managed. By tracking and reporting on social impact, companies can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to create a positive impact.

Why is a Social Impact Scorecard Important?

A social impact scorecard is essential for several reasons:

  • Transparency: In today’s world, consumers and investors are increasingly interested in a company’s social impact. By having a scorecard, businesses can be transparent about their efforts and show their commitment to making a positive impact.
  • Accountability: A scorecard holds companies accountable for their social performance. It allows them to set goals and track progress, ensuring that they are continuously working towards improving their impact.
  • Benchmarking: By using a scorecard, companies can compare their performance to industry standards and best practices. This allows them to identify areas where they are excelling and areas where they can improve.
  • Sustainability: A scorecard helps companies build a sustainable business model by focusing on long-term social impact rather than short-term gains.

What Metrics Should Be Included in a Social Impact Scorecard?

The metrics included in a social impact scorecard will vary depending on the company’s industry, size, and goals. However, there are some common metrics that most businesses should consider including:

  • Environmental Impact: This includes metrics such as carbon emissions, water usage, waste management, and energy consumption. These metrics help companies understand their impact on the environment and identify areas for improvement.
  • Social Performance: This includes metrics related to employee well-being, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement. These metrics help companies understand their impact on society and how they can contribute positively.
  • Economic Impact: This includes metrics related to job creation, economic growth, and supply chain management. These metrics help companies understand their impact on the economy and how they can support local communities.
  • Governance: This includes metrics related to ethical business practices, transparency, and accountability. These metrics help companies ensure that they are operating with integrity and are meeting their social responsibilities.

How to Create a Social Impact Scorecard

Creating a social impact scorecard can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some steps to help you get started:

1. Identify Your Goals

The first step in creating a social impact scorecard is to identify your goals. What do you want to achieve through your social impact efforts? Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint? Increase diversity in your workforce? Support local communities? By setting clear goals, you can determine which metrics to include in your scorecard.

2. Determine Your Metrics

Once you have identified your goals, you can determine which metrics to include in your scorecard. Consider the impact your company has on the environment, society, and the economy, and choose metrics that align with your goals.

3. Set Targets

Setting targets is crucial for tracking progress and ensuring that your efforts are making a difference. These targets should be specific, measurable, and time-bound. For example, if your goal is to reduce carbon emissions, your target could be to reduce emissions by 20% within the next year.

4. Collect Data

To measure your social impact, you need data. This data can come from various sources, such as internal reports, surveys, and third-party sources. It’s essential to have a system in place for collecting and organizing this data to ensure accuracy and consistency.

5. Analyze and Report

Once you have collected the data, it’s time to analyze it and report on your findings. This is where your scorecard comes in. By presenting your data in a clear and concise way, you can communicate your social impact to stakeholders and identify areas for improvement.

Real-World Examples of Social Impact Scorecards

  • Patagonia: The outdoor clothing company has a comprehensive scorecard that tracks its environmental and social impact. It includes metrics such as carbon emissions, water usage, and fair labor practices.
  • Unilever: The consumer goods company has a Sustainable Living Plan that includes a scorecard to track its progress towards its sustainability goals. The scorecard includes metrics related to greenhouse gas emissions, waste reduction, and sustainable sourcing.
  • Starbucks: The coffee giant has a Global Social Impact Report that outlines its progress towards its social and environmental goals. The report includes metrics related to ethical sourcing, community engagement, and environmental sustainability.

Who is Responsible for Creating and Maintaining a Social Impact Scorecard?

Creating and maintaining a social impact scorecard is a team effort. It requires collaboration between various departments, including sustainability, human resources, and finance. However, ultimately, it is the responsibility of the company’s leadership to ensure that the scorecard is regularly updated and used to inform decision-making.

Using the Social Impact Scorecard 

To use the social impact scorecard, stakeholders must first identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the initiative's goals. These KPIs are used to assess the initiative's impact across the four areas of the scorecard.

Relevance: This area assesses whether the initiative aligns with the organization's values and goals. It also looks at whether the initiative is relevant to the target audience.

Effectiveness: This area assesses the initiative's impact on the target audience. It looks at whether the initiative has achieved its desired outcomes and whether it has made a positive impact on the community.

Efficiency: This area assesses whether the initiative has been executed cost-effectively. It looks at whether resources have been used efficiently and whether the initiative has achieved a high return on investment.

Sustainability: This area assesses the long-term impact of the initiative. It looks at whether the initiative is sustainable and whether it can continue to make a positive impact in the future.

Why use the Social Impact Scorecard 

Impact Scorecard is designed for impact ecosystem players such as enterprises, asset managers, public agencies, and nonprofits.  With Impact Scorecard organizations can - 

  • Bring everyone to the table through better impact data, story, documents, and field management notes
  • Communicate and pitch impact results effectively
  • Align results with Sustainable Development Goals, Targets, and Indicators
  • Custom Goals and Targets
  • Align with Impact Management Goals
  • Communicate key indicators and results
  • Qualitative Results Analysis - AI-driven stakeholder's voice

The Impact Scorecard serves the following purposes:

  • Communicates the social impact of Investments or Projects
  • Allow organizations to refine their Impact Strategy to meet any Social Impact goals they may have set.
  • Simply the alignment of SDG indicators with the generated Social Impact outcomes.
  • Allows comparison of Impact between similar Investments or Projects in a portfolio or comparison with industry standards or peers.
  • Communicate the risks and assumptions recorded in the Impact Strategy.
  • Allows to predict or forecast Social Impact based on the Impact Strategy put in place by an organization.
  • Managed external services model
social impact scorecard
Qualitative insights offer a deeper level of understanding into stakeholder perspectives.

Nonprofits Impact Scorecard

In the nonprofit sector, impact scorecards are transforming how organizations approach and evaluate their work. An exemplary case is the YWCA of San Diego County, which utilizes an impact scorecard to measure their progress in empowering women and children to break the cycle of domestic violence and homelessness.

Key Metrics and Scoring

The scorecard focuses on several key metrics:

  • Housing Stability: Measured by the percentage of clients who do not return to a shelter within a year.
  • Economic Independence: Tracked through employment rates and average income increases.
  • Well-being: Assessed through client surveys on physical and mental health.

Targets and Baseline Collaborate

Impact Cloud Impact Scorecard is more than just reporting the quantitative outcome indicators. It was designed to report the results to funders in the easiest-to-understand manner. The scorecard provides an intelligent combination of qualitative and quantitative data that intends to provide deep insights without the need for manual intervention.

Imagine collecting qualitative data from your end beneficiaries and not using it to measure the impact you are creating. Leaving out qualitative data from impact measurement creates a big gap. Impact Cloud lets you smartly combine qualitative and quantitative data. 

Impact Scorecard provides the below out-of-the-box

  • Alignment of Indicators with SDG goals and targets.
  • A quick view of targets, forecast, and actual values (including the difference between targets and actuals) for the output and outcome indicators based on the funder's preference.
  • Compare partner's results within your portfolio based on common metrics and indicators.
Example Social Impact Scorecard Aligned With SDG
Social Impact Scores enable you to monitor your performance over specific reporting periods. They allow for the comparison of results against a portfolio, established baselines, and set targets, facilitating effective performance tracking

Each metric has a scoring rule, often a simple binary or scale-based measure, to reflect progress:

  • Housing Stability: 1 point for each percentage decrease in return to shelter rates.
  • Economic Independence: Points assigned based on the percentage increase in client income.
  • Well-being: Points based on improvement levels reported in surveys.

The total score from these metrics offers a comprehensive view of the organization’s impact, guiding strategy and demonstrating efficacy to stakeholders and funders​​.

CSR Scorecard

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scorecards are pivotal for businesses to integrate social purpose with business activities. Deloitte Consulting LLP, for instance, underscores the importance of measuring the business value of social impact efforts through six key drivers:

  • Brand Differentiation
  • Talent Attraction and Retention
  • Innovation
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Capital Access and Market Valuation

For each driver, a scorecard can track performance and guide decision-making. For example, a CSR scorecard may assign points to the level of innovation in product development that leads to market expansion and increased revenue​​.

Build grants report and yearly reporting requirements

A typical program may have more than three programs. Each of them may depend on larger funders.   Define standardized organization metrics, core program metrics, and unique funder-specific metrics for reporting.  Align these results from the data collected, and you are done! 

Impact scorecards help these investors quantify social and financial returns, ensuring investments align with their strategic goals

Social Impact Index

The social impact index is a tool that measures the social impact of organizations and initiatives. It quantifies an organization's social impact, making it easier to track progress, set goals, and make informed decisions.

The social impact index can be used in various settings to measure the social impact of organizations and initiatives. For example, it can be used by non-profit organizations to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs to donors and stakeholders. Governments can also use it to track progress toward social and economic goals.

Use Case 1: Impact Investing

One use case of the social impact index is in impact investing. Investors can use the index to evaluate potential investments and make informed decisions based on the organization's or initiative's social impact. This can help ensure that investments are aligned with social and environmental goals and financial goals.

To develop a social impact index, it is necessary first to define the purpose of the index and the key indicators that will be used to measure social impact. For example, an organization working to reduce poverty might develop an index measuring income levels, access to education, and healthcare outcomes.

Similarly, a social impact index for an environmental organization might measure factors such as carbon emissions, renewable energy adoption, and waste reduction. By tracking these indicators over time, organizations can measure the effectiveness of their initiatives and make informed decisions to improve social impact.

Use case 2: Monitor Country or State Level Progress.

As businesses, public agencies, international development agencies, and impact investors align around sustainable development goals (SDG), it is essential to simplify SDG impact indicators aggregation. Many countries have already started to create theirs on SDG Tracker.

Examples of SDG Trackers:

  • Country-level overall SDG tracker
  • SDG Goal specific tracker
  • SDG Tracker for Public-Private Initiatives
SDG Targets & Indicators

Theme-based social impact indexes

Many impact rating organizations define standardized impact through governance, social, and environmental metrics.  While this rating-based approach allows 


Impact Scorecard is not a traditional scorecard for reporting results.  It is the most groundbreaking approach that brings both asset managers and assets or Grantmakers and grant seekers together using collaborative impact data learning.  It allows you to aggregate predefined impact metrics. It helps aggregate due diligence documents, files, images, video, and field notes so that impact ecosystem partners can provide collaborative impact into the overall process.

In conclusion, the social impact scorecard is an essential tool that helps measure and track the effectiveness of social impact initiatives. It provides a comprehensive view of the initiative, allowing stakeholders to assess its impact and make data-driven decisions. By using the social impact scorecard, organizations can drive positive change and make a meaningful difference in the world.

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Frequently asked questions

How does an Impact Scorecard differ from traditional performance metrics?
Unlike traditional performance metrics that primarily focus on financial outcomes, an Impact Scorecard evaluates performance based on social and environmental impacts. It assesses the broader effects of an organization's activities on society and the environment, not just its bottom line.
Who uses Impact Scorecards and why?
How is the Impact Scorecard used?