SIMNA is a knowledge sharing network for social impact measurement. Its purpose is to help foster the emerging practice of social impact measurement in Australia. Social impact measurement can be used by individuals and organisations to know and improve the social value and social impact they generate from their operations, programs or investments.
SIMNA acknowledges that the most material value created by not-for-profit organisations, charities and community organisations is social value. Businesses, social enterprises and other for profit and for purpose organisations can also create social value alongside commercial value.
SIMNA recognises that appropriate social impact measurement is necessary to answer the following questions in an organisation:
- How successful has it been in delivering its social purpose or mission?
- How effective and/or efficient has it been in achieving its social purpose?
- What aspects of its work can be improved based on the knowledge it has gained through measuring social impact?
- How successful has it been in understanding its social outcome value – both positive and negative?
- How successful has it been in using social measurement tools to deliver better outcomes for the people it serves?
- How successful has it been in communicating its social impact to a range of stakeholders?
- How committed is the organisation to investing resources in social impact measurement (regardless of outcome)?
- Could the financial and non-financial resources have been applied in a more efficient way, or in another way to achieve the same outcome?
SIMNA supports competency development by individuals and capacity building by organisations through sharing knowledge of, and promoting education and training in, social impact measurement. SIMNA also encourages and promotes gatherings, conferences or other initiatives to strengthen methodologies for measuring social impact.
Over time, and through its Members, SIMNA will advocate for the measurement of social impact across all sectors.
SIMNA Members make a commitment to foster the use of social impact measurement by sharing publicly available knowledge they have or are creating. The following Member practices are encouraged:
- Presenting insights, case studies and other materials at State Chapter meetings and sharing these presentations nationally with all SIMNA members
- Sharing reports, presentations, articles and other knowledge on the SIMNA website
- Contributing to SIMNA discussion groups and supporting other Members
- Engaging in the evaluation of methods for the betterment of the social measurement community in Australia
- Encouraging others to “have a go” and make a start on the social impact measurement journey and to become involved in SIMNA.
Capacity Building and Competency Development
To build capacity and competency in social impact measurement, SIMNA will
- Facilitate and promote education and training courses in social impact measurement
- Help members understand the qualifications that consultants and practitioners of social impact measurement have by developing relationships with accrediting organisations.
- Provide avenues for knowledge sharing both online and in person.
SIMNA Members can develop competencies and capacity in social impact measurement by:
- Accessing SIMNA documents and participate in online discussions
- Participating in SIMNA conferences and State Chapter meetings
- Participating in education and training courses
- Utilising expert and/or accredited practitioners in social impact measurement to provide advice and support.
Methodologies, Tools and Frameworks
SIMNA recognises that currently there is no standard method for measuring and reporting social value and social impact. SIMNA also does not advocate for any particular social impact measurement framework, tool or method. We recognise the plethora of choice in social impact measurement methodologies available to organisations and consultants and that choices will be made based on the specific requirements of the organisation, skills of the people using the framework and the stage of development of the organisation.
SIMNA encourages appropriate and respectful critique of different frameworks and initiatives to strengthen methodologies and to encourage better practice of social impact measurement in Australia.
To help members understand the qualifications that consultants and practitioners of social impact measurement have, we have relationships with accrediting organisations. SIMNA is also the Australian affiliate to Social Value International, connecting us with international organisations in over 45 countries.