Social Impact: What should be measure and reported, and how?

Proposals that came up during the Working Group “Social Impact: What should be measure and reported, and how?” that was held during the Conference “Unlocking the potential of the social economy for EU growth” organised by the Italian Presidency of the European Union Council, November 17 & 18, 2014. The themes had been identified via a public consultation and the Rome Strategy is the outcome of the conference, presenting specific recommendations the public policy dialogue.

My intervention points:

  • Measurement is important but there is a need for a reporting culture in the sector, especially in terms of transparency.
  • Based on entrepreneurial-economic, social and governance dimension. -> EMES International Research Network
  • EU Social Impact Model would be a solution in order to adapt on special socioeconomic and cultural circumstances but also unify sector.
  • From a Social Enterprise (SE)  view: Social Impact Measurement and Reporting should be seen as a process that supports the development of a SE.
  • Especially as a SE we have to look into what other key stakeholders are doing. The impact that we are aiming for is also a result of their activities and we should consider our goals as ecosystem-oriented and holistically.
  • Risk: Not all qualitative indicators may have quantifying counterparts and not all the change in society is a result of only one intervention. Eco-systemic view on changes and results.




9.1. As Social Impact Measurement (SIM) does not seem to be a consensual issue, more knowledge is needed to help structure the field and to create a culture of measuring the social impact. Social enterprises must be at the heart of the evaluation/measurement process and they have to choose the metric that is better tailored to capture their specific added value. This choice has to be done in cooperation with the funders (private or public investors) and when applicable.

9.2. The measurement of the social impact has to stay proportionate and the issue of costs of it and capacities of delivering meaningful measurement have to be carefully addressed.

9.3. To promote more knowledge sharing together with some experimentation rather than too quickly put SIM in any legal contexts.

9.4. To link SIM to the European Commission’s Social Investment Package overall objectives and to those of the Social Business Initiative, clearly stating that social impact measurement and funding of social enterprises aims to be supportive of the development of social enterprises.

9.5. SIM has to be connected to the reality of the ground. In order to do so, it is important that the people who measure the impact of social enterprises know how social enterprises work, their aims and models and that social enterprises themselves are central in the measuring process.

9.6. To build on the work done by several EU and international institutions to have a tailored approach, centred on the needs and mission of the social enterprises and not primarily on the needs of the funders, which empowers social enterprises and helps build their capacities.

9.7. To foster a culture of measurement of the social impact. This cultural shift has to be accompanied by allowing social enterprises to enter the field with trust, transparency, clarity and resources.


Conference documents:
Rome Strategy
Highlights from all Working Groups
Detailed Reports from Working Groups

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