Blog – Are you Maximising your Social Impact?

By Natasha Jolob, Director, Kai-zen Change for Good CIC

Are you wasting time and money?

A great deal of time and money is wasted on poorly designed and implemented social impact monitoring and evaluation systems. An article by Stanford Social Innovation Review sets out ten reasons to not measure impact. In fact it states that you are wasting time and money on collecting impact data unless you:

  1. Use the data to help manage operations or design decisions for your services
  2. Use the data for accountability – to verify that you are doing what you said you would do
  3. Commit to using the data to make investments in organisational structures

If you do not do any of the above then there is no point in collecting the data!

How to do more good 

In early 2022 a new eighth Principle called ‘Being Responsive’, is being launched by the leading professional body for social value, Social Value UK. The aim of the principle is to support businesses to increase and optimise their social value/ impact. This principle is part of a suite of principles (see text box) that can be used to identify your social value using a standardised social accounting methodology called ‘Social Return on Investment’ (SROI).

 What do we mean by ‘Being Responsive’?

The Being Responsive standard involves implementing a management approach that ensures that social value is maximised, and that social value accounting is rigorous and embedded in organisational planning, decision-making and reporting.

What do we mean by optimise Social Value?

The Being Responsive principle can be seen as a quality standard to check that you are doing the most possible good and that you are transparent and accountable for the social value decisions that you make.

Many organisations complete an SROI evaluation to support their marketing and fund-raising efforts, and rarely use the results to inform business planning. This is not surprising because organisations are mostly under resourced, running around delivering restricted projects and reporting to funders. There is very little time and resource to invest in good data collection, analysis, reporting and planning following and using the good practice Social Value UK principles and standards.

But this is perhaps part of the reason that we continue to have social problems that need addressing – because we are not using good quality stakeholder data for planning and decision-making.

The Being Responsive address this problem as it involves taking action on your social impact data (and SROI evaluation) to identify where social value can be increased.

In seeking to increase social value there are three types of decisions to be made:

  1. Strategic: Goal setting to increase social value
  2. Tactical: Shifting outcomes & activities to increase social value
  3. Operational: Making improvements to existing activities to increase social value

Decision-making involves stakeholders discussing the quality of evidence, assessing risks, making trade-offs, and considering the consequences of decisions made.

This is exciting…we are excited about this!

So watch this space, and the launch of the new standard in the New Year. Stay up to date with news from Social Value UK (, join them as a member, and/ or attend their activities to ensure that you are following good practice.

As Advanced Accredited Practitioners with Social Value UK, we are also currently piloting a Business Improvement Workshop with one of our large charity clients that aims to help organisations to implement the new standard and we plan to launch this in the New Year.

In the meantime sign up for our email updates, and please do not hesitate to get in touch. We live in and are based in Leicestershire, we know the city and county well, and we work in partnership with Voluntary Action Leicestershire. We would love to discuss your business needs and support you to do more good through good quality evaluation and business planning.