How to Measure Social Impact Through a Platform
Many impact organizations need help understanding, measuring, and communicating their impact. They are tasked with demonstrating social value and marketing campaigns to their C-Suites and other business departments, but the data they use to tell their story sometimes cuts it.
Several impact measurement frameworks have emerged, each with metrics and reference guides. They can be helpful tools to establish a measurement strategy, focus data collection, and benchmark your impact.
The selection and implementation of metrics are among the crucial parts on how to measure social impact. These are firm-level indicators that help to track social and environmental progress towards a set of goals, often defined around a theory of change strategy or a problem statement.
There are many frameworks for impact measurement, some of which can be adapted to a specific purpose-driven organization’s work and goals. For example, some are purely theory-driven, while others focus on operational outcome data (such as energy savings) or customer-based metrics.
For example, a solar home system company might already track its clients’ energy usage. This data can be used to report to investors on energy savings metrics.
Another common approach is to measure the lives impacted, which allows organizations to align their business and social missions in one focused effort. For example, if the company’s mission is to help job seekers find new roles, measuring lives impacted can make it easy to see if job seekers are finding jobs that meet their needs.
Once a set of social impact metrics is chosen, the next step is to monitor and evaluate them. The goal is to understand whether these objectives are being achieved and if there is any potential for improving them.
A typical example of attribution is when someone sees an ad on Instagram that prompts them to visit your store, where they purchase a product. Of course, seeing an online ad is one of many touchpoints that lead to that consumer decision, but it’s essential to understand which helped them make the final purchase.
For ecommerce and DTC brands, attribution is essential to understanding the impact of their marketing efforts on conversions. It helps marketers identify the most effective campaigns, channels, and user interactions within the social media journey that lead to conversions.
Attribution also makes it easy to pivot away from a strategy that’s not working and shift toward one that’s more effective long-term.
Attribution is essential to any social media strategy, but getting started with the right tool for your brand can be challenging. There are plenty of tools to choose from, but it’s crucial to pick the one that best suits your needs and goals.
Social impact platforms help you measure social impact by collecting direct data from stakeholders and beneficiaries. Whether you’re looking to woo donors, earn trust with customers, or iterate your social enterprise operating model, the right platform can empower you to report on your progress in real-time through shareable data dashboards.
The next step to measuring your impact is analyzing it using analytics. Analytics can identify patterns, compare coexisting trends, uncover correlations, and more.
Descriptive analysis is the simplest type of analytics, and it lets you communicate the trends you’re seeing in your data by presenting charts, graphs, and maps. Similarly, predictive analytics allows you to predict future outcomes and take action on those predictions.
Typically, prescriptive analytics considers all possible factors that could influence a scenario and suggests a course of action.
When choosing metrics to use in your social impact measurement framework, selecting the metrics that best reflect your goals and mission is essential. It will help you set a clear and concise target for your social impact program. Depending on your goals, this may include volunteer hours, emissions reduction percentages, or several funded initiatives.
Impact reporting is one of the most important aspects of a social impact program. Not only does it demonstrate accountability to your stakeholders, but it also serves as a foundation for future strategic decision-making.
A platform that offers a unified dashboard of all your social impact data can streamline impact reporting for investors, donors, and more. It also provides a single entry point into all your data, from surveys to social media and website metrics.
When a nonprofit, business, or individual makes a donation or volunteers on behalf of a cause supported by the company in the platform, the social impact metrics are automatically updated. It gives you a real-time view of your organization’s progress and lets you celebrate employees’ accomplishments in the good social field.
In addition, social impact platforms automate employee fundraising, donations, and volunteer efforts. As a result, it makes connecting your team easier, leading to better morale.
Measuring your social impact is essential for positive change in the world. It can also assist you in identifying areas for program improvement.
In the case of a technical innovation initiative in rural communities, measuring your social impact could include surveying beneficiaries about their experiences with your innovation. It would give you a clear understanding of how your innovation is helping them. You can also measure your social impact through metrics that address broader themes like diversity and inclusion.