5 Important Factors in Measuring Social Enterprise Value

Last Updated: April 27, 2017

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.

Key resources from the Demonstrating Value library:

Other recommended resources for Social Enterprises:

Also see these resources within the Small Business Accelerator program:

Non-proft Accelerator Guide

Guest Blog post by Social Enterprise Council: What is Social Enterprise? (2009)

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