I’ve compiled the best tools and resources you’ll need if you’re serious about measuring impact. Now: if you’re lazy and want to do this right the first time, you may just want to skip to this post on how to measure impact where I explain how to use these tools in a step by step manner.
But I know how you are; you want the entire tool box… the whole enchilada. Well, here it is. The best 15 Tools and Resources for measuring impact!
(1) A Guide to Actionable Measurement
A Guide to Actionable Measurement outlines the three principles of the Gates Foundation’s approach to actionable measurement: 1) Measurement should inform specific decisions and/or actions; 2) We do not measure everything, but we do strive to measure what matters most; 3) The data we gather help us learn and adapt our initiatives and strategies. The guide includes a results matrix, results hierarchy, definitions of related terms, and measurement guidelines intended to shape internal decisions about the depth, breadth, and rigor of measurement across grants and within strategies.
(2) Social Return on Investment (SROI)
The SROI concept, essentially a cost-benefit analysis, is used by charities, donors and nonprofit organizations to rate the results of their endeavors with firm evidence of impact and created value. The idea of social return on investment was pioneered in the 1990s by a U.S. venture fund called REDF and has since caught on. There is the SROI Guide, SROI Lite (download PDF) SROI Calculator and the SROI Framwork.
(3) Impact Reporting and Investment Standards
An initiative of the Global Impact Investing Network, the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) provides a common language of indicators and metrics to define operational, social and environmental performance. IRIS is a set of standardized metrics that can be used to describe an organization’s social, environmental, and financial performance. IRIS’ independent and credible performance measures help organizations assess and report on their social performance. IRIS metrics span an array of performance objectives and include sector-specific metrics for areas such as financial services, agriculture, and energy, among others.
A data management tool by that provides a streamlined way for organizations or funds to track, benchmark and report on financial, operational, environmental, and social data across an investment portfolio. PULSE runs on the Salesforce platform and can be integrated with an organization’s customer relationship management (CRM) program and other front office solutions such as deal tracking and pipeline management software. In a nutshell, PULSE helps managers consolidate and centralize extensive data, making it easy to access, search and use.
(5) Global Impact Investing Ratings System (GIIRS)
The Global Impact Investing Ratings System (GIIRS) provides independent, third party ratings and analytic for the impact investing industry. Both companies and funds can be rated by GIIRS to assess social and environmental impact. GIIRS ratings are similar to Morningstar investment rankings or S&P credit risk ratings but don’t take into account financial performance.
(12) The B Impact Ratings System
The B Impact Ratings System is a dynamic assessment tool from B Lab that measures a company’s social and environmental impact. It is comprised of two parts: the B Impact Assessment and the B Impact Report. The B Impact Assessment is a free, web-based tool comprised of 60-200 questions divided into five Impact Areas that provide a holistic view of a company’s business: Leadership, Employees, Consumers, Community, and Environment. The B Impact Report is the simple, one-page report (view sample report) that a company receives after completing the B Impact Assessment.
(6) The HIP (Human Impact + Profit) Scorcard™
The HIP (Human Impact + Profit) Scorecard™ is a tool that demonstrates how increased human impact (human, social, and environmental results) drives higher revenue, lower costs, and tax benefits for organizations from all sectors – business, social, and government. It measures five categories: health, wealth, earth, equality, and trust. HIP also assesses five management practices that drive sustainable, profitable growth: vision, measures, decision-making, accountability, and financial alignment.
(7) Methodology for Impact Analysis and Assessment
The Methodology for Impact Analysis and Assessment (MIAA) is a methodology outlined by Investing for Good in their recent publication, The Good Analyst. This framework offers a detailed series of indicators and scorecards that can be used to examine an organization and its impact. The three main areas covered are: 1. Mission Fulfillment; 2. Beneficiary Perspective; and 3. Wider Impact.
(8) The Organization Report
This tool is a report that provides information that social impact investors can use to determine whether the investment opportunity is a good match for their personal interests, where specifically they may be able to add value both with money and in-kind resources, and how an investment may result in increased social impact. Learn More
(9) Social Audit
This tool is used as part of the audit services provided by the Social Audit Network. A Social Audit can be conducted at one of three levels, including a self-audit option. The audit uses social accounting to determine that an organisation’s claims can be credible (proved) and used to demonstrate organisational development (improvement). Social accounting is the process of collecting information about the activities an organisation carries out which affect its stakeholders.
(10) Social E-Valuator™
This is an online software tool to help an organization or project/investment with each aspect of the impact measurement process. The social e-valuator™ project software follows a ten step approach to assessing social impact. By providing clear explanations and sample cases, the social e-valuator™ guides through each steps of preparing a social return on investment analysis.
(11) TBL Scorecard
The TBL Scorecard, developed by the Triple Bottom Line Collaborative, is a tool used to measure what TBLC has called TBL deals. The requirement for this designation was that a TBL loan needed to have at least one metric or impact in each of the three categories of social returns: economy, equity, and environment. (Download PDF)
(13) BACO Ratio
This tool quantifies a potential investment’s social output and compares it to the universe of existing charitable options for that explicit social issue. The BACO calculation is driven by three factors: financial leverage, enterprise efficiencies, and technology leverage.
(14) BBB Wise Giving Alliance Seal
This tool is an accreditation designating that organizations meet BBB’s code of business practices: build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor promises, be responsive, safeguard privacy, embody integrity. Learn More about the Charity Seal Program.
(15) Political Return on Investment
PROI is a tool that attempts to quantify and measure an organization’s political return on investments. This tool can be used for vetting and assessing an organization’s impact before a contribution, or for assessing its impact after a donation. This tool assesses six sectors: advocacy, electoral, idea generation, infrastructure, leadership and media. (download PDF)
(16) Bonus – Your Common Sense!
Ok, pardner…unity consciousness time! Please mind share below by sharing your thoughts and experience with these tools. Which of these tools work for you? Which do find to be the best at measuring impact? Which are you most excited to try out?