Measuring Outcomes

The Centre for Social Impact believes identifying, evaluating and communicating best practice in the delivery of social outcomes is essential to create meaningful and sustained change. We measure what matters.

Current context for outcomes measurement

In a resource constrained social system, it is vital that we ensure our capital and capabilities are directed to the right places and purpose – and measurement is key to this understanding.

Organisations are measuring and reporting what they do and that is to be applauded. Much of what is measured is reporting activity as opposed to outcomes. What we need for a stronger social system in Australia is to better define what it is we measure and why.

A way forward

This is not data collection for data collection’s sake. Every number is a person, every case study represents someone’s life. This is knowledge that has a direct impact on community wellbeing, people’s happiness, health and welfare for this generation and those that follow.

To achieve this and to take a systems view, we first have to define ourselves – our organisations, our missions, our strategies, our activities – in terms of social outcomes. We then need to establish shared principles of measurement and to be courageous in our reporting and evaluating of where we are succeeding and where we are not. And take action as a result.

CSI and outcomes measurement

The Centre for Social Impact is interested in defining and evaluating the root causes of systemic failure – with a view to developing and communicating to anyone who will listen, a better solution for our future.

We want to ask questions like:

  • What is the real problem and what should we be fixing?
  • Is our focus on delivering social outcomes or perpetuating activity?
  • If we fix this problem, do we solve the real problem?
  • What connected issues should we be fixing?

We will collaborate and work across the system, applying design thinking principles to identify the root cause of the problem in order to find a solution that can solve the cause instead of the symptom.

We will help organisations better articulate their purpose, evaluate their activities in line with social outcomes, and communicate and report their results. This includes driving internal improvement for organisations so that all social purpose organisations continue to learn, develop and build their capacity to create positive social change

The Centre for Social Impact’s team of research specialists are experienced at leading, implementing and communicating social impact measurement by employing a range of methodologies including multi-layered outcome measurement frameworks that effectively serve individuals and organsiations and, ideally, systemic improvement. We believe that to be effective, the developmentof research and measurement methodologies must be collaborative and inclusive, cognisant of the shared purpose of all participants and sensitive to different drivers.

Our research team is also experienced in the use of methodologies including:

  • Social Return on Investment (SROI)
  • GRI Guidelines, Social Accounting
  • Most Significant Change
  • Third Sector Performance Dashboard
  • SE Balanced Scorecard
  • Results Based Accountability
  • Project Logic and Developmental Evaluation

Since 2008, we have developed a reputation across sectors for applying academic rigor to real world challenges. We understand challenges across sectors and can drive cohesion and shared knowledge. Due to our systems approach we are uniquely placed to identify opportunities for more effective, shared measurement.

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