Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a framework for measuring and accounting for the social, environmental and economic costs and benefits of a program. By using monetary values to denote the social and environmental effects of a program, this method tells us how much change has been created, and whether it is significant.
Image Credits: Social Responsibility and Sustainability Consulting.
Here are five small, but important, things to keep in mind while using SROI:
1. Keeping good records throughout: The SROI process needs documentation of all assumptions, calculations, and inferences made along the way, hence, thorough documentation is crucial.
2. Using secondary sources: A major component of SROI is assigning monetary values to indicators of social change. These values need to be grounded in reality, hence, relying on other reports and research that have conducted similar analyses, would provide reference.
3. Measuring ‘soft’ outcomes: These are outcomes that may be difficult to put in measurable terms. However, this does not mean that they should be excluded, rather, creative ways of measuring them should be thought about.
4. Do not double count: When you are dealing with a chain of events, be careful not to double count. For example: ten people want to gain work through training and all ten complete the training, but only five gain work. When you come to value the outcome for the five that gained work, valuing both the qualification and the employment will double count the value of the training.
5. Present a narrative of change: Focusing on just numbers and ratios does not explain how the change is being created. Hence, put numbers into words and established a transformative story.
Saakshi Kale, Intern