What are social impact metrics?
A defined system or standard of measurement to track progress of change by your organization. Impact-oriented organizations use either standard metrics or custom metrics to track change.
- Standard metrics
Generally established by research institutes, they tend to be categorized around thematic areas or organization type. Examples of standard metrics include: IRIS, BOND, GuideStar, Robin Hood, GIIRS, etc.
- Custom metrics:
Sometimes based on standard metrics, these are created by an organization to be more relevant to their particular context and intervention.
- Metrics set:
A grouping of metrics organized around a specific program or activity. This can be a good practice when an organization is managing diverse portfolio.
What are Outcome Metrics?
Outcome metrics capture any impacts actually created by an organization. They differ from activities and outputs because they are meant to track the results (usually on the lives of beneficiaries) generated from those indicators.
Some organizations use outputs to imply impact created (e.g. 300 beneficiaries trained) rather than diving deeper and using outcome metrics to demonstrate that those outputs have had a positive effect (e.g. after training income increased from x% to y%).
Here are a few characteristics with further distinguish the importance of using outcome metrics:
- They track a change that has occurred because of an organization's efforts
- They communicate to your organization the extent to which you are (or are not) achieving your impact goals (and/or your very mission).
- They enable you to communicate to beneficiaries just how much your intervention/programs can help their communities
- They encourage transparency with funders, and can help mobilize capital towards the most effective programs
Read More: What you should know about Standardized Social Impact Metrics?
Difference between Goals, Targets and Metrics (or Indicators)
Using the structure of the Sustainable Development Goals as an example (set by the UN in 2015 in an effort to tackle poverty and protect the earth), we can see that each "impact" goal defines specific targets to reach within the next 15 years.
Goal 1: Poverty End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Target: To be achieved by the year 2030, a reduction of at least half the percentage of people of all ages living in poverty according to their own national definitions.
Indicator: Example, indicator 1.1.1, on the proportion of the population below the international poverty line.
Why is measuring impact important?
By measuring what matters, your organization is able to gain credibility with funders, donors, and public. The insights you get as funder from data-driven impact learning into your portfolio and outcomes helps in making future investment decisions.
- INVENTORY OF BUSINESS INDICATORS
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) maps existing business goals/targets against other popular indicators such as GRI. You can review commonly used indicators and other relevant indicators that may be useful when measuring and reporting your organization’s alignment to the SDGs. Consult this list for a complete database.