Thursday, May 08, 2008

Metrics for Social Entrepreneurs

I found this website aimed at social entrepreneurs quite useful.

It lists some approaches for measurement:
"Social entrepreneurs now have a smorgasbord of measurement methodologies to choose from in addition to developing project-specific metrics (i.e., families served, reduction in arrests, units built, jobs created). They include:

• Balanced Scorecard Methodology (New Profit Inc.)
• The Acumen-Mckinsey Scorecard (Acumen Fund)
• Social Return Assessment Scorecard (Pacific Community Ventures)
• AtKisson Compass Assessment for Investors (AtKisson)
• Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (World Bank)
• OASIS: Ongoing Assessment of Social Impacts (REDF)"

They also extract Five principles of metrics that are often mentioned in discussions

1. Do have a set of success metrics
Funders and investors want to know that you have a way of measuring your success.
2. Tailor your metrics to your mission
If you are running a non-profit, then focus on social impact; if you are running a for-profit, you need the third bottom line - ROI.
3. Measure what you can in real time, but understand that social change is often measurable only over a longer period.
Try to find polling and survey organizations that are measuring the long-term trends and use their free published data.
4. Learn about established methodologies for social measurements
Applying them will save you work, get better results, and signal investors that you are serious about metrics.
5. Look at the cost-benefit of your metrics
Determine what percentage of your operations should be reasonably dedicated to success measurement and set it aside in your proposal and operating budgets.

Personally, I think that the issue of Return on Investment is crucial for any social entrepreneur. You need to be able to prove to your donors that they are getting value for money - Too many times teachers are trained at the cost of training and astronaut.