The Centre for Social Impact’s (CSI) ThinkOutcomes 2017 conference recently took place in Sydney, with a focus on getting back to basics. A who’s-who of guest speakers and panelists discussed their experiences throughout their journeys and provided great insight into the challenges and benefits of social outcomes measurement.
Following each presentation a stimulating discussion took place, allowing new and experienced practitioners of impact measurement to share their knowledge.
Three key themes rose from the discussion.
1. Social Impact – More than Measurement
Both small and large organisations agreed on the wide ranging benefits of implementing impact measurement, not only for users and beneficiaries and funders, but also for employees, managers, and the general public.
Organisational culture came up as a key benefit of social impact measurement. Providing feedback to the people on the ground to help them see that what they are doing is making a real difference.
At Socialsuite, we believe the faster you achieve this feedback cycle, the more effective your organisation’s efforts will be. Socialsuite Analytics’ real-time dashboards and reports can help you get information to the people who need it, when they need it most.
2. “What gets measured gets done”
This quote, originally from Peter Drucker over 40 years ago, has never rang more true, and was re-iterated throughout the conference. The shift towards social outcomes measurement, in not just the not-for-profit industry but business in general, has led to large scale changes in thinking about how best to achieve an organisation’s purpose.
A great example of this was provided by Lisa O’Brien, CEO of the Smith Family, as she discussed the challenges she faced over the past few years, and how social impact measurement helped to ensure the Smith Family are on track to achieving their purpose.
Purpose driven impact was heavily discussed. The idea behind purpose driven impact is to decide on your organisation’s purpose before creating a data collection plan and implementing impact measurement.
Designing down after you have decided on your purpose focuses your efforts towards your organisation’s key goals. For a helpful 6-step guide to deciding on your organisation’s purpose follow this link.
3. It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint
A key point for organisations that are uncertain on how to progress with impact measurement was the importance of getting started and not worrying about how small their next steps were. Many smaller organisation’s mentioned their paralysis on how to proceed from their current stage on the impact measurement journey.
The conference’s message to these organisations was – don’t stop moving. Any number of smaller steps can help you refine and improve on your journey. Iterating and refining will lead to constant improvement.
Where to Next?
Social impact measurement is here to stay. Measuring your impact provides massive benefits to all areas of your organisation.
Running a for-profit business without tracking and reporting on your financial position is incredibly unsustainable.
Now, social impact measurement has the tools and resources to improve your impact, secure funding and continue to improve your organisation’s efforts, purpose, and values.
Interested in getting started with outcomes measurement? Get up and running with Socialsuite’s Get Started Pack.