Online Tool to Measure Value of CSR and NFP Work
20 April 2017 at 4:10 pm
The way Australian businesses measure the impact of their CSR strategies and charities measure their social outcomes will have a broader focus in 2017 with the launch of the Australian Social Value Bank (ASVB) online tool.
Based on a UK model of social impact measurement, the ASVB aims to simplify the process of valuing social impact services and programs, allowing government, businesses, philanthropic and not-for-profit organisations to demonstrate their social impact.
Project manager of the ASVB Min Seto said the tool was timely because of increasingly limited resources and bigger demands for social return on investment now being the norm.
“The funding of social services is changing rapidly. Not-for-profit organisations are under increasing pressure to attract investment from sources other than government, while businesses and governments are looking to get the best use of their procurement dollar,” Seto said.
Daniel Fujiwara, the founding director of SIMETRICA which helped design the tool, told Pro Bono News that the ASVB was the largest model of its kind in the world.
“It’s the largest collection of social values in Australia and it is the first of its kind to measure both primary and secondary benefits,” Fujiwara said.
“For the first time, organisations will be able to compare the value of different interventions, so that they can decide where to focus their efforts.
“Unlike other social impact models, the ASVB can measure the value created for individuals, such as an increased sense of safety, improved job readiness and improved overall health, as well as the benefits for secondary parties including government, such as cost savings to the state.”
He said in essence it was “a user-friendly tool” where an organisation would input data about their core group and the beneficiaries of their interventions.
“For example if you had an organisation that offered smoking cessation advice or programs, they would collect data about how many participants were on that program and how many people they observed who had stopped smoking and then information within the model would allow us to predict the overall value to society,” he said.
“It accounts for things such as impact on the government side, which is the potential reduction in medical care also the benefits for individuals which is improvement in health, better physical condition and those kind of elements which are all compared back to the program. It allows you to look at for every dollar you spend on a program how much social value is created.
“It’s far bigger than the UK version of it and it’s all based on Australian data sets. We used two surveys from the University of Melbourne and we also used a large number of government administrative surveys and data sets. So it is very specific to Australia.
“What we have seen in the UK and what we expect in Australia is that the corporates would fund charity A and charity B and those two charities would use the social value bank to measure outcomes and… both organisations would get an overall estimate of the amount of social impact created for every dollar spent. Charity A might come back with a value of $4 for every $1 spent and charity B might come back for a figure of $7 for every $1.”
He said funding corporates would be able to understand the value that each of the charities were creating and could potentially start to think about how they allocated funding or prioritised funding in the future.
“We have 60 social impact values included in the ASVB’s first release, measuring outcomes in the social and community, home, health, employment, education and crime spaces, but plans are in place to add more values over time,” he said.
“This is good news for the government in particular, helping ease the pressures surrounding budgets and the allocation of scarce resources.”
Fujiwara, who is described as a global leader in policy evaluation, social impact measurement and non-market valuation methods, will be in Australia later this month for the beta-testing process and training session with selected organisations ahead of the official release in mid-2017.
He said businesses with less than $1.5 million turnover could apply for a subsidy to use the tool and not-for-profit organisations with less than $1.5 million could apply for a grant to access the ASVB tool for free. Pricing is on a sliding scale depending on annual revenue for large organisations.
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