The first SIMNA VIC event of the year, sponsored by Socialsuite, explored innovation and trends within social impact measurement. Movember’s Paul Villanti, YouthWorx’s Jon Staley, and Nagivating Outcomes’ Jen Riley shared their insights and experiences with social impact measurement and discussed important upcoming trends.
Key takeaways were:
- Donors and service users want to see organisations’ report on impact
- Collecting impact data is important for organisational learning, future growth, and sustainability
- Visual storytelling is a growing trend in showcasing impact and engaging with stakeholders
- Investing in technology to measure impact, learning from your efforts, and improving is a must
The event began with the panel sharing their experience with impact measurement and was followed by a Q&A session with the audience. What follows is a summary of these discussions. The video recording is available here.
Paul Villanti – Executive Director Programs, Movember
Implementing initiatives to standardise measurement was key to Movember’s impact measurement growth. By focusing on prostate cancer, and gathering input from medical experts, Movember developed a consistent evaluation method that was then mandated across all Movember’s projects.
Paul highlighted that Movember have experienced a significant growth in interest from donors when able to report on the outcomes of their efforts. Traditionally much of Movember’s donor communication approach was based on the idea of “having fun and doing good”, but now donors respond more readily to outcomes based reporting.
For more on Movember https://au.movember.com/
Jon Staley – General Manager, Youthworx
Jon elucidated Youthworx’s mission to work with marginalized young people using a transformative approach that engages young people in education or employment. Youthworx believes in creativity being key to engagement and this has driven the collaborative, immersive model used since their founding in 2009.
Echoing Movember’s experience around consumers’ growing interest in the difference made by their contributions Jon commented that “we are at a point now when people want the stories to be humanised.” People want to know “where [their] money is going and the difference that [they have] made”.
Jon observed that film is the most conducive way to respond to peoples growing interest in humanized storytelling. This trend is set to continue with microdocumentaries driving the communication of impact in a most significant and interesting way.
However, Jon concluded that “storytelling has to work in tandem with measurement and data capture.”
Jen Riley – Founder of Navigating Outcomes & SIMNA Victoria
Referencing her recent article, Jen elaborated on the top 5 trends in social impact measurement:
- Big data
- Data science and business intelligence
- Learning systems
- Evaluating complexity
- Convergence of design and evaluation
Jen’s opening words “Data is coming at us in at speed we have not experienced before” set the tone for an exciting discussion. The mass amounts of data requires new and improved methods of analyzing data. Data science can be used to bring together algorithms, data and measuring impact in a way that leverages insights from these channels. Jen also discussed the emergent opportunity for data scientists within the for-purpose sector, using their expertise to unlock the potential from big data and bringing disparate data sets together.
A continuing trend includes data visualisation, which communicates and demonstrates the stories behind the data. Similarly, organisations should be engaging business intelligence processes, strategy, tools, and applications to make sense of the multiple types of data that is available.
You can get in touch with Jen here: https://navigatingoutcomes.com.au/
Key Highlights from Break-Out Discussion Groups
- A desire for greater sharing of the sectors experiences of impact measurement. What are your “war stories”?
- The proliferation of technology (like mobile phones) – grant organisations the ability to more easily collect data on what really matters.
- Importance of having staff-on board for data collection. Staff should not feel that they are being audited. Measurement should be viewed as an integral step in improving clients’ lives.
- Heavy investment in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, and other technology, can improve data collection and reporting, leading to long-term savings
- Donors and other funders are moving away from organisations who can’t substantiate storytelling and reporting
- Increase of human centered design within measurement- including the understanding of outliers
Many thanks to Paul, Jon, and Jen for sharing their expertise and to Simon Faivel and Russ Wood for facilitating this exciting event.