Our Social Impact Framework

We have a framework that shapes our thinking, research, education programs, events and advocacy. We call it our Social Impact Framework. This is the logic for how we will work to achieve our vision. It connects our actions to a defined outcome and it identifies five elements of change that we believe are key to building a stronger social system in Australia.

Our focus is the whole social system and contributing to systems change rather than single-issue activities and programs. We are preoccupied with messy, multi-faceted issues - wicked problems - for which there are no singular sector-based or program response.

We want to work in collaboration with organisations from across sectors, throughout Australia and around the world, to courageously combat social challenges where there has been too little change, no change, and where change is required urgently. We have no intention of shying away from finding the most effective solutions and we will relentlessly pursue those solutions with the most effective outcomes as our goal.

Elements in our Social Impact Framework

The Centre for Social Impact’s framework consists of interdependent elements that we believe are key to improving social impact in Australia. We see these elements as our priorities for driving change as we champion a vision for a more effective social impact system.

So what do we believe are the fundamental elements for improving the social system in Australia?

Firstly, we believe that we need to develop markets for the effective delivery of social outcomes in which organisations and individuals better define themselves and their objectives in terms of social outcomes. These organisations and individuals dedicated to social purpose will effectively measure and transparently report their achievement of outcomes and investment will reward and incentivise the more effective delivery of social outcomes.

We also need to foster and scale a pipeline of social innovation including risk averse investors with a strategic focus on researching and developing innovation that meets priority needs and delivers effective outcomes.

Without great leadership, management and governance of social purpose organistions, positive change won’t happen. We believe this is key.

Finally, to ensure a more joined-up and coordinated approach to change, we need effective models of collaborative and participative social design and implementation.

Our social impact framework outlines the focus for our research, advocacy, knowledge dissemination, teaching and measurement. In the immediate future we will establish expert advisory groups and communities with a focus on each element in our social impact framework and we will establish measureable goals for our achievements in these areas.

How will we know we have succeeded?

We won’t succeed tomorrow - we know that.

But in 10 years the Centre for Social Impact would like to see the Australian social system far improved in its capacity to recognise the signifiers of disadvantage and hardship for which there are geographically, culturally or multi-issue components. And the system will be equipped to respond effectively.

We will work towards developing a theory of change under each of the elements in our framework – including measureable indicators of improvement. We take responsibility for these indicators and we will answer to them.

Systems thinking

Taking a holistic, adaptive and systems-led approach to creating sustained and meaningful social change.

Measuring outcomes

Identifying, evaluating and communicating best practice in the delivery of social outcomes.

Funding outcomes

Aligning funding and investment with the most effective social outcomes.

Scaling innovation

Establishing and fostering a pipeline of social innovation that translates to meaningful impact.


Adopting and promoting effective collaborative and participatory approaches to creating a stronger system.


Developing great leadership, governance and talent for social purpose organisations.

Sign In or Register