Assessment of the social value of your organization can be labor-intensive and costly. Usually the positive effects are felt outside of your organization and in the greater community, making it difficult to measure and outside of the usual assessment domain.
The information below was curated from the Social Enterprise Guide, a free resource published by the Social Enterprise Council of Canada focusing on the ability to measure performance in your social enterprise. The narrative centers on the Demonstrating Value approach, a key resource developed by a collaboration of social enterprises, funders and stakeholders. To tailor this to your social enterprise, refer to the Demonstrating Value Workbook.
- Assess your information needs - When you think of demonstrating your value, what information do you need to illustrate this? Compile a comprehensive list, and then priortize based on importance of information and the logistics of its collection.
- Start realistic and build steadily - Assessment takes a lot of money and time, and efforts can be enhanced and honed as time goes on. Identify the most important measures you want to articulate in your first year, focus your efforts, and add more measures as you perfect your evaluation strategies.
- Balance information for a holistic understanding - Report on both the enterprise and social values that exist within your organization. A healthy social enterprise will be aware of the interaction between the enterprise and the social goals, so make sure these are both represented in the information you choose to measure.
- Develop processes to collect evidence - Now that you know what information you want to capture and highlight, what will be your strategy to gather this data?
- Don't forget about the long term - Organizational sustainability takes into account both the enterprise goals and the social goals of your organization over a broader period of time. Measuring indicators of long-term success can generate more interest and buy-in but can be easy to overlook, such as employee retention, human capital, and community perceptions.
- Financial Intelligence for Social Enterprises - This resources covers topics such as core financial management practices and unique issues facing social enterprises.
- Organizational Sustainability Assessment Tool - Prepare yourself for the long-term future with this tool that guides you in assessing the various types of capital in your social enterprise.
- Tracking Cultural Empowerment and Awareness - With intangible measures that need to be interpreted tangibly, use this outline to see best practices and understand how other organizations have captured cultural engagement in your social mission.
- Maintaining Privacy and Confidentaility - When collecting your data to measure your value in the community, it is important to respect privacy of the individuals with whom you engage.
Other recommended resources for Social Enterprises:
- TechSoup Canada - "Donated software and technology resources for Canadian charities, nonprofits and libraries."
- Social Enterprise Council of Canada
- Small Business BC
- Social Innovation Generation
Also see these resources within the Small Business Accelerator program: