Measuring impact is the recognized way to show the value your organization is delivering to its beneficiaries and society as a whole. Here are five reasons why measuring impact is important.
1. Clear Social Return on Investment Means Access to Finance with Values-Aligned Investors
Impact is an increasingly important item on investors' agendas, and one that is proving hard to ignore. For organizations looking to access funding, getting ahead by embedding good impact practices and measuring relevant impact will ensure your social enterprise stands out from the crowd in a competitive bidding process.
Demonstrating exactly how you deliver on your mission, being able to communicate the social value expected from an investment, can make the difference between securing funding and missing a valuable opportunity.
2. Measuring impact is the sign of a well-run ship
Impact can be a form of performance monitoring, and if you are embedding impact measurement within your organization then it sets up very visible ways of judging the success of an organization and showing that it is delivering to its beneficiaries.
It is a signal to donors, investors and beneficiaries that your organization cares about improving its delivery, and is willing to be held accountable for its performance.
This transparency increases engagement from external donors and can also help to motivate employees and volunteers as they see the progress they are contributing towards.
3. It helps tell your story to stakeholders
Communicating your work effectively builds engagement with stakeholders. Stakeholders such as donors or impact investors increasingly want to see the return on their investment, whilst wider stakeholders want to know how your work is progressing.
Using empirical data as evidence of your outcomes and benefits helps build your narrative. Telling a good story needs facts and impact, not just output.
Data is essential in order to make the most of your outcomes, whilst testimonials play a strong supporting role. It is even better if this narrative can be readily re-told, so that your story is being disseminated and gaining social proof.
4. Impact reporting is here to stay, and will gain momentum
Use of the term 'impact' may change, but the key principle will remain the same: the need to effectively demonstrate your performance as an organization. As the impact agenda moves forward to include more empirical benchmarking using core indicators for particular areas and beneficiary groups, being ready with your relevant impact indicators and data will help to ensure your competitive advantage over those organizations that have not embedded impact measurement within their strategy.
5. Impact measurement is about achieving your purpose
As a social organization, your mission and purpose is central to your existence and reason for being. Delivering on that mission is why you carry out your work, so having definitive proof of how you are achieving your aims and to what extent is paramount. Impact is a valuable tool for ensuring more is done better, for the benefit of society. The question is not whether or not to measure impact, but how to do it effectively and efficiently, and how to ensure that it is embedded into your organization.