Social Return on Investment
Social Return on Investment is a research approach to assess effectiveness and help decision-making.
SROI is informed by stakeholders who experience social, economic and environmental outcomes as a result of the projects or interventions of an organisation, and we represent this as a theory of change.
SROI uses qualitative insights to develop appropriate ways to quantify change, measuring what matters. Drawing from cost-benefit analysis SROI turns outcomes into financial values, putting what matters on the balance sheet.
What makes SROI unique is that it considers value from the perspective of each relevant stakeholder. This leads to a better understanding of the true value to society, making it easier for decision-makers to account for holistic impact.
SROI was developed in the UK by nef, the new economics foundation. nef consulting has worked with organisations to demonstrate their social, economic, and environmental impact better, helping them evaluate success, and plan for the future.
We run monthly SROI training courses, and Masterclasses on different SROI topics .
Read SROI case studies by clicking the boxes below.+ Case Study: Growing Social Capital in Kirklees
Measuring what matters is an increasing challenge for local councils as they are required to move away from narrow unit cost into areas of outcomes and social value. This is perhaps particularly true for social care where finding ways to quantify the “triple bottom line” - social, economic and environmental impact - sits alongside a new relationship with the community.
The findings show that for every £1 invested in The Nerve Centre, £1.99 of additional ‘value’ is created. For The Denby Dale Centre, £1.94 of additional ‘value’ is created. And for Meltham Sports and Communtiy Grou the additional ‘value’ was £2.75.
It was clear that there were benefits to the groups simply by telling their story and articulating what they were there for. Focus groups and interviews with volunteers and service users showed that a focus on increasing a person’s friendships and contacts through being involved with the groups can improve their well-being, quality of life and increased independence in their own neighbourhood or community.
For all the Trustees and Management Teams of the three organisations, this work helps them make a strong business case to future funders to invest in their organisations and the range of activities and services delivered by them. It will also put them in a stronger position to think about developing new services or activities, how to sustain the organisation into the future in the fast changing landscape with personal budgets and to recognise the full value of what they do.
For the council, the results of the studies are helping them explore how they can best evidence the impact of investment and how the principles of social return on investment can be used in a variety of settings across commissioning, contracting and community investment.
Measuring your wider impact helps you understand and promote your real value.
Coventry City Local Enterprise Growth Initiative, now ‘Enterprising Coventry’, is a programme providing a wide range of support services to help local people start their own business, assist an existing business or help people move into work. nef consulting worked closely with Coventry City Council for over a year to create an SROI reporting and valuing model that rigorously quantifies the added value of social and economic well-being outcomes and skills created by the programme.
The collaboration has provided Enterprising Coventry with a measurement system that includes a sophisticated set of social outcomes data collection tools, training for practitioners and the internal administrative capacity for on-going future impact measurement.
The Prince’s Trust runs a number of programmes to help young people into employment, education, volunteering or training (EET). The Team programme is an intensive 12-week, national programme for 16-25 year olds designed to help them overcome barriers that may be preventing them to becoming EET. nef consulting was commissioned by the Prince's Trust to test the theory of change and build a socio-economic measurement and valuation model using SROI for the Team programme. A key focus of this work was to identify impact on other stakeholders (such as families and the local community) to allow the Team programme to understand and demonstrate their cost-effectiveness. The Prince's Trust is now aiming to extend SROI to a number of other programme areas.
Following nef's work on women's reoffending, the Corston Independent Funders Coalition appointed nef consulting to work closely with five organisations providing support services for women. Their clients may be involved in prostitution, or have ongoing drug and alcohol problems, for instance. This work forms part of a wider sector case to funders and to government. Recognising the financial challenges faced by organisations like these, the aim of the project was to build capacity within the organisations in each aspect of the Social Return on Investment methodology, from developing a theory of change, to building economic models and reporting findings. The project culminated in a presentation to the Ministry of Justice, National Offender Management Service and CIFC funders after 12 months that highlighted the importance of well-being outcomes. The project enabled the organisations to continue to evaluate and report the impact of the their work, independent of consultancy support. Download the full report here
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