On 13 October 2016 Eurodiaconia and Diakonie Deutschland hosted an event on Social Impact Measurement at its premises in Brussels. Dr. Volker Then and Dr. Konstantin Kehl of the Centre for Social Investment and Innovations (CSI, Heidelberg) presented their research findings on modalities for social impact measurement.
They touched upon the increasing pressure for social service providers to prove that their work has a measureable impact. Then and Kehl presented several ways how to do this on a micro-, meso- and macro-level and from economic, political, cultural and social perspectives. The crucial point discussed was the question of the causal relation between success of an action and the claimed social effect.
Often organisations do not have the language to make their impact understood, and sometimes data is collected that is not necessarily relevant, explained Risto Ravio from DG Employment in response to the presentation.
During a roundtable discussion, hosted by Eurodiaconia’s General Secretary Heather Roy, participants discussed already existing measurement concepts within organisations and how to use them efficiently and tailored to their needs. Also, organisations often already have important data but they do not know how to use it. The panellists stressed the importance of tailor-made approaches – there is no one-size-fits-all. Often it is not necessary to introduce completely new concepts of measurement but to think about how to use what is already there.
The central question in terms of social impact measurement remained: Is financial thinking the right approach to measure the impact of social work? Would not it be more important to think about the “impactisation” of money instead of thinking about monetarised impact measurement?
The full report “Possibilities to Measure Impact in Free Welfare Organisations” is available here. (DE)
An executive summary of the report is available here. (EN)