Gather evidence to prove your social impact

This article was published in the November 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 4 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This article discusses how too few organizations are able to provide solid evidence of their social or environmental impact. All they can do is explain how busy they have been. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help them to get funding or investment. It also prevents them from innovating.

James House is profiled in this edition. This children’s home in Cape Town is extremely successful at rehabilitating children with severely dysfunctional behavioural patterns. James House’s success in monitoring and evaluating its work is also highlighted.

Define the positive outcomes your enterprise achieves

This article was published in the October 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 3 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

This month’s article discusses why it is so important to measure social outcomes. It presents the logic model which describes the relationships between inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes. It also discusses how the measurement of outcomes can help organizations to refine their business models and attract funding and investment.

Josh Cox from Trade-Mark is profiled in this edition. This social enterprise links skilled township tradesman with suburban households in need of their services. This profile discusses how Trade-Mark made a major breakthrough after its started measuring its social outcomes.

Nonprofit organizations need to demonstrate value

Here is my letter to People’s Post in April 2008 in response to the disbanding of the Fairest Cape Association due to lack of funding. It once again highlights how the plight of many non-profit organizations (NPOs) that rely on the mercy of their funders for survival.

It suggests that this is clearly not the way to sustain a non-profit organization, especially since there are over one hundred thousand non-profit organizations competing for the same pool of funders. The closure of the Fairest Cape is clearly part of a larger trend that will shake the foundation of the non-profit sector in South Africa.

Nonprofit Organizations: Do you Account for Your Social Impact?

Nonprofit organizations readily embrace the value of financial accounting. They understand the need to keep careful financial records, have them audited independently and send copies to their investors. Because these financial statements are prepared and audited according to accepted standards, they are in turn accepted as an accurate reflection of an organization’s finances – and can indicate opportunities for improvement. The question that non-profit organizations should be asking themselves is: “Do we account for our social impact?”

In this article from February 2008, Dr Roger Stewart and I examine why organizations need to start accounting for their social impact. We introduce the concept of social accounting and its value to non-profit organizations. We also examine the different steps in the social-accounting procedure.

Cultivating strategic clarity.

Back to top of page ↑