The challenges of impact measurement in community organisation are well known – finding the financial resources and the capabilities can be both challenging and time consuming. This is particularly true in small community organisations. But it is worth it!
The good news is that there are more opportunities and support now than ever before to help on the impact measurement journey.
- The lessons learned by others. Many organisations have already started on their social impact measurement journey. Some have published their results, such as Mission Australia with their report on Impact measurement and client wellbeing. Most organisations are also very happy to meet and share the learnings and the benefits of their impact measurement journey with sector colleagues.
- Conferences and workshops. Particularly driven by the rise in Social Impact Bonds in Australia, and in outcome-based government contracting, there are often webinars, workshops and conferences on social impact and social impact measurement. SIMNA will keep you in the loop of these events.
- Starting small. To build a compelling case about why social impact measurement matters to your organisation it’s worth considering a focus on a specific program or activity and the impact it has on the lives of people you’re trying to help. This will not only start the conversation about impact measurement, but also build interest and skills in staff and volunteers.
- Linked administrative data is one of the most exciting changes happening in impact measurement. It links multiple data sources (such as homelessness, health and corrections data) to identify trends, risks, opportunities, benefits and outcomes in systems or populations. As this field matures, access to linked administrative data will become more easily accessible to measure social impact.
- Connecting with others on the social impact measurement journey. SIMNA events, website and newsletter provide great opportunities to broaden your knowledge base and networks of people who are passionate about making and measuring social impact.
Do you measure impact in a small community organisation? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your measurement story.
Resources to help you get started:
- Measuring outcomes for impact in the community sector in Western Australia. The Bankwest Foundation and the University of Western Australia Centre for Social Impact (UWA CSI).
- The Compass: Your guide to social impact measurement. Centre for Social Impact.
- Impact measurement and client wellbeing. Mission Australia.
Helen Sheppard, National Manager of Community Programs, Australian Red Cross and SIMNA Board Member