Video: Catherine Clark on Social Impact Assessment
Discussions about social enterprise and not-for-profits are often dominated by the topic of measurement. Measuring output, outcomes, and impact can be useful for improving organizations and, furthermore, investors and donors increasingly demand such data.
Catherine Clark is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University and directs the Research Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship at (RISE) Columbia University, and discusses social impact assessment in this short video. She explains that compelling data adds value to an organization's story, and describes several kinds of data.
Output data includes information about your activity, perhaps related to your daily operations. For example, how many are involved in your programs? How many people complete your programs?
Outcome data ties your regular activities to some effect as a result of your output. This measure refers to changes your organization has made to ongoing measures of societal problems. For example, if you run a prisoner rehabilitation program, what is the effect on recidivism rates you've made?
Impact assessment, though frequently discussed, is a long-term complex measure that most organizations are not equipped to reasonably track on a regular basis. Therefore, Catherine Clark suggests impact data is less important than output and outcome data.
What do you think? Does your organization measure social impact? What measure do you use, and how do you collect your data?