How Companies Can Successfully Manage Social Impact Programs
What are some of the best practices for measuring and managing a social impact program? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
I’ve spent much of my career thinking about how to best measure and manage impact. It’s widely understood that the industry suffers from a lack of standard measurement – but the good news is, we’re trending away from that. More and more, donors and doers are looking to track the impact of their efforts.
With the understanding that philanthropists and CSR professionals need better tools, we spent the last few years developing a SaaS platform built specifically to track, manage, and measure social impact. Here are some of the key principles we’ve identified along the way:
- Account for all your good work: Often, tracking platforms support only part of the impact puzzle (volunteerism, grants to nonprofits, etc.), not accounting for all pieces of multi-faceted efforts – which may include employee initiatives, in-kind donations, social media activations, etc. This is why we developed a system called The Ethos Lever Model (the many actions individuals and companies can take to drive impact). Each Lever provides an opportunity to create value – but when strategically pulled together – the result is a powerful and cohesive Social Impact effort. Make sure you capture the full scope of your contributions to your community so none of that good work falls through the cracks!
- Internal communication: Similar to your good work playing out in many different ways, organizations’ social impact is often supported by various teams and leaders. It’s important to ensure regular communication to keep everything and everyone on the same page. Ideally, your work should live on a single platform (not a conglomerate of different spreadsheets!) to ensure knowledge and resources aren’t scattered across different departments.
- More horsepower: Social good teams are notoriously lean – and in today’s landscape, the work is expected to be more impactful than ever. If this sounds familiar, make sure the tool or platform you identify can help nimble teams at every stage of experience punch above their weight. The measurement and management process exists to elevate your work, and your platform should support that.
- Storytelling: The goal should be to aggregate information, allowing you to easily access comprehensive data to share your work with the world through communications efforts and CSR reports. By mapping the totality of your social impact efforts, it will allow you to zero in on key partnerships, trends, and data sets – and zoom out for the big picture narrative.
- Partnership building: The best data will benefit from clean management tools to both save time for you and your partners, and also provide a shared, one-stop data set.
- Time-saving: Remember – the tracking process should feel seamless, not headache-inducing. We’d be delighted to discuss how Ethos Tracking could be of use!
Finally – props to you for looking to thoughtfully measure and manage your social impact efforts – it’s the only way to maximize your impact.