CSI announces bold $12M project to catalyse social change on a national scale

The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) today announced the launch of an ambitious new project aimed at improving social impact on a national scale. Amplify Social Impact™ (Amplify) will provide a range of solutions to help the social sector measure, understand, and achieve social change.

Amplify will incorporate a platform of online tools, a set of research reports, and a series of events across Australia that will help improve social outcomes in five important social issue areas: Housing, Education, Work, Social Inclusion, and Financial Wellbeing. The $12M project has received $5m in stage-gated funding from The University of New South Wales (UNSW) to get it started, and CSI is in the process of forming partnerships and fundraising to enable the achievement of the full project.

The online platform is an integral part of the overall Amplify strategy. It incorporates the following tools:

  • Australia’s Social Pulse™ which reveals how we’re tracking in key social issue areas over time, across the country, and across cohort
  • Indicator Engine™ which helps organisations find the right indicators to measure so that they know when, where, and how they’re making a difference
  • Yardstick™, the programs, outcomes, and impact database, which reveals the programs, strategies, and initiatives across the country that are achieving outcomes and impacts, providing opportunities for replication and improvement

In addition to the online platform, CSI is building an evidence base for key issue areas so that we will have both detailed insights and a benchmark by which we can measure social change. We will then bring people together at “Connect and Convene” events to generate ideas and form a national plan of action.

“In Australia, we spend $500 billion on social purpose, yet more often than not, we have no insights into how effectively we’re helping people,” said Professor Kristy Muir, project owner, and CEO of CSI. “Amplify is our answer to that. This is the first project of its kind that connects evidence, people, technology, and data to reveal the pathway to social impact in Australia.”

UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor Enterprise, Professor Brian Boyle said that the university was proud to support such a worthy initiative. “The vision of Amplify so clearly articulates into our 2025 strategy of improving and transforming lives and advancing a just society. This project brings together the best of academic research and innovation and will undoubtedly create lasting social impact in Australia, and beyond.”

The project has received consensus across the spectrum of the social sector, from small community organisations through to large NFPs. Dr Elli McGavin, National Head of Policy, Research and Social Justice for The Salvation Army said that Amplify was the first project of its type that looks at enabling social change in this multi-faceted way.

“The social sector is often under-resourced, with inconsistent benchmarks by which to understand and measure social issues. Amplify provides an opportunity to develop a national view on these key issues and bring collective intelligence to the impact we are achieving.”

Bec Reidy, Community-Network Developer with Bidwill Uniting agreed. “For us, as a small not-for-profit, we want to understand not only the impact of our work but also the bigger picture. We want a robust understanding of the issues we’re trying to solve, and a way to tell if our work is making any difference. With a good, standardised outcomes-measurement strategy in place, we’ll know we’re in the best possible place to ensure future funding. More and more, this funding is reliant on demonstrating our outcomes.”

The Amplify project has received the initial stage of seed funding from UNSW, and with that expects to release the evidence base for the first social issue area – housing – in June this year, with the first series of “Connect and Convene” events happening in September on the same issue. Australia’s Social Pulse in beta and the Indicator Engine are due to launch in June 2019.