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Alex Nicholls, Rob Paton, and Jed Emerson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198703761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198703761.001.0001

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Measuring social impact

Measuring social impact

(p.253) 9 Measuring social impact
Social Finance

Alex Nicholls

Jeremy Nicholls

Rob Paton

Oxford University Press

The chapter opens by providing a definition of ‘social impact’ and then sets out some of the current debates and issues concerning how to measure it. Next it highlights the distinctive features of social finance in terms of the implications these have for metrics aimed at informing capital allocation decisions. Then the chapter introduces a critical issues framework that poses a series of questions to help orient and inform choices regarding the large number of available metrics for capturing social value creation and organizational performance. This leads to a discussion of the measurement methodologies relevant to social impact and an overview of the specific metrics and rating schemes now being offered for use in relation to social finance. The chapter then develops a contingency model to suggest the sorts of contexts in which social impact measurement (in its various forms) will and will not be appropriate.

Keywords:   impact measurement, logic model, metrics, GIIRS, IRIS, social audit, SROI, developmental evaluation, contingency framework, social impact measurement

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