This week we speak to… Sarah Morton. Sarah is the director at Matter of Focus, an organisation that uses software, services and training to evidence and tell the story of your contribution to improving people’s lives. In this interview, we discuss the how, what and why of social impact and the key techniques to measuring it.
Sarah will be providing an insight into this illuminating topic in a 2 hour workshop called What Difference Are You Making? on Tuesday 11 February here at The Melting Pot.
Why is it important to be aware of and measure your social impact?
There are many reasons to be thinking about social impact. A focus on what difference you want to make in the world can help to keep an organisation focussed on what is important and create a shared vision of where you are heading. Thinking about how to make an impact, what steps there are to get there, and how will you know you are succeeding offers opportunities for learning and reflection as you go. Finally, if done well, telling the story of how you made an impact can help attract funding as well as providing a basis for sharing and learning with others interested in your work.
What tools can you use to measure social impact?
The idea of ‘measuring’ social impact is a complicated one. If organisations only focus on measuring high level outcomes it is really difficult to show how you have affected them. That said, there are a number of approaches that have been used by different organisations for different purposes. For example, some focus on the return on investment. The B-corps movement supported by Scotland Can B gets companies to assess their social and environmental impact using an on-line tool backed up with people-based investigation. At Matter of Focus we believe that every organisations can set out and assess their own unique approach to making a difference for people and communities using our software OutNav.
Who is interested in social impact?
Understanding and tracking social impact is of interest to lots of different people. We find that many of the organisations we work with want to be able to make sure they are making a difference to the people and communities they care about for their own satisfaction. They also might want or need to report their impact to their funders. Being able to show how and what difference a company or organisation makes can also help raise the profile of the work and showcase the specific ways organisations are impactful and the values they bring to their work.
What relationship does social impact have with the story of the organisation?
I think this really depends on your approach to understanding impact. At Matter of Focus we think that impact assessment should be closely tied to how organisations work, not just what impact they make. By bringing together the process of the work with the impact it makes, organisations really demonstrate their contribution in a meaningful way. This usually highlights their specific approach to the work they do, so it also tells their organisational story.
To hear more about social impact and storytelling from Sarah, join us here at The Melting Pot on Tuesday 11th February 2020 for a two hour workshop. More information and tickets can be found here. Alternatively, find out more about Sarah and all of the work she does on her website.