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Collaboration Ireland is a consultancy operating across the Island of Ireland, working with charities, social enterprises and organisations of all sizes in the community & voluntary sector. We offer a range of services to support organisations to “collaborate” more effectively; strategic & business planning, governance & board effectiveness reviews, impact measurement and project management.

Over the coming months, we will be writing regular blogs on a range of topics relating to our work, and issues that are relevant to our clients, including Collaboration, Governance, Impact and all things Social Enterprise.

In this first blog of our series on Impact, we are proud to announce that Collaboration Ireland is now a Partner Member of Social Value International, the global network focused on social impact and social value. As a Partner of SVI we hope to promote the use of social value as a means to measure and report the social impact created by charities, community & voluntary groups and social enterprises throughout Ireland.

So what is “social impact” and “social value”? Throughout this series of blogs, we will explore these concepts in more detail, but to start off with, some useful definitions.

Social Impact

There are many “definitions” of social impact but, generally speaking, “Social impact is the effect on people and communities that happens as a result of an action or inaction, an activity, project, programme or policy”(1). According to the Impact Management Project, which over the past few years has sought to achieve a consensus around how to measure impact, which defines the 5 dimensions of impact (What, Who, How Much, Contribution and Risk) and we will explore these dimensions more in future articles.

 Social Value

“Social value is the quantification of the relative importance that people place on the changes they experience in their lives”(2). The most common methodology for measuring social value is the Social Return On Investment (SROI) process, which is at the roots of SVI and it’s parent organisation Social Value UK. SROI is typically expressed in a simple ratio, such as “for every Euro invested in a project, it created €x of social value to the local community”. It is important to note that while it is useful to express the SROI in this simple ratio, often published in graphic form with associated metrics, the detailed and rigorous process to be followed in determining this metric is complex and must strictly adhere to the seven Principles of Social Value.

Over the coming months we will explore in more detail the principles and processes involved in measuring social impact and social value, and will share with you our experience in this area through the use of the Social Value Engine developed in the UK and introduced in Northern Ireland by one of our partners, Rural Community Network.

To find out more about this subject, you can contact the author directly at duncan@collaboration.ie . You can also visit our website collaboration.ie to find out more about the services that we offer. Connect with us on Twitter @ CollabIreland or on LinkedIn at Collaboration-ireland

[1] https://www.goodfinance.org.uk/latest/post/blog/social-impact-what-it-how-do-i-measure-it

[2] https://socialvalueint.org/social-value/what-is-social-value/