Charities and social enterprises looking to access social investment can now use a new range of simple resources to help better demonstrate their social impact. The online tools, created by the Social Investment Business and The Good Analyst, bring together expertise and advice from leading social investors and successful social enterprises.
Successfully showing the impact an organisation makes is critical to their chances of receiving social investment. However, a recent survey of over 1,000 charities and social enterprises revealed that 25% of those organisations did not measure their social impact at all, and that a lack of resources and skills were the main barriers to prioritising impact evidence-gathering.
SIB’s own research with investees has shown that embedding social impact measurement had made them more effective at meeting the needs of their beneficiaries, and helped in speaking to funders and investors.
The new resources from the Social Investment Business and The Good Analyst provide a simple introduction to the principles of impact reporting, including useful hints and tips, and will help organisations planning to take on social investment identify the best way forward.
Keeley Charlick runs Sunnyside Rural Trust. The organisation helps people with learning disabilities gather meaningful work experience at their allotment and workshops in Hertfordshire. Hanging baskets put together by the Trust’s volunteer workforce adorn large parts of neighbouring Hemel Hempstead. Keeley is enthusiastic about the benefits of measuring the Trust’s social impact – both as a management tool to continuously improve the Trust’s service, as well as a great fundraising tool to help make the case to local councils, grant-makers and social investors for more funding for the Trust’s activities. Most importantly though, having a clear social impact story is a source of inspiration to the beneficiaries who can see evidence of how well they are doing by volunteering at the Sunnyside Rural Trust.
Keeley said: “Each charity needs to justify what it is taking out of the pot, be it local councils or other funders. It is essential we know our impact, know that we need that money and know what it’s going to do.”
Jonathan Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Social Investment Business Group said: “Proving social impact is crucial to help us bring more investment into the sector to put to work in communities across the country. We know that lots of ventures are doing fantastic work but those better at evidencing their impact will increasingly look more attractive to investors.
We have been making investments in impact-driven charities and social enterprises for over ten years and we know that support is critical to ensuring those investments are successful. As an engaged investor, we want to make it easy for those looking to take on social investment. That’s why we’ve worked with The Good Analyst to create some simple videos and case studies on evidencing social impact to help social ventures understand what investors want.”
Geoff Burnand, Chief Executive of The Good Analyst said: “The Good Analyst is delighted to be working with the Social Investment Business, one of the UK’s largest social investors, as they recognise the importance of measuring and evidencing social impact and embedding it into the investment process. SIB’s commitment to measuring and benchmarking the performance of their investments puts them at the forefront of industry best practice. At The Good Analyst, we connect money to social value by offering a set of pragmatic tools and advisory services that develop investors’ and frontline organisations’ internal capacity for impact measurement and analysis.”
The Social Investment Business will be one of the first social investors to undertake an annual social impact audit, the results of which will be benchmarked against the industry standards outlined in The Good Investor. The Good Investor Audit assesses how impact has been embedded at each phase of the investment process. Each organisation’s performance is scored against best practice guidelines at each stage and concrete recommendations are made for where improvements can be made.
In developing the impact resources, the Social Investment Business has drawn on more than 10 years’ experience providing simple finance to organisations that create the strongest social impact. It has invested over £320 million in over 1,200 charities and social enterprises, proving that capital can be used to create positive social change in communities throughout England.
Charities and social enterprises can find out more about why it’s important to evidence social impact and see our suite of helpful impact resources (including de-mystifying some of the jargon around impact) for charities and social enterprises looking to take on investment at sibgroup.org.uk/impact.