seToolbelt Resource of the Week: Demonstrating Value

Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Entrepreneurship, How-To, Measure Impact, Resources

Talk to any social entrepreneur and they’ll probably tell you that one of their greatest challenges is demonstrating the impact of their work. While it’s one thing to “just know” that the work we do is having a positive effect, it’s something altogether different to be able to verifiably track, analyze, and articulate the social and/or environmental impact of a project or venture.

With that in mind, this Resource of the Week introduces not just one resource, but an entire initiative dedicated to helping social entrepreneurs and enterprising nonprofits demonstrate the value of their work. Demonstrating Value is an innovative project led by Vancity Community Foundation to enhance the capacity of community-based organizations to strategically plan, manage and communicate the value of their work, specifically in terms of social and environmental impact. The folks at Demonstrating Value work specifically to increase capacity in community organization, and engage in action research and tool development.

Since we at seToolbelt love tools, and since Demonstrating Value makes such great ones, we thought we’d share several to help you start measuring your impact:

Developing a Performance Snapshot

This one-hour recorded webinar teaches you how to develop a Performance Snapshot that can help you make decisions more easily, plan for the future, and show your value to the community.

Organizational Sustainability Assessment Tool

This self-assessment tool (in spreadsheet format) can help demonstrate how a social enterprise is building different ‘capitals’ (human capital, organizational capital, financial capital, social capital, intellectual capital) that are important to the long term sustainability of the organization.

Why You Matter: Map Your Social, Environmental, or Cultural Impact

This worksheet will help you describe your social, environmental and/or social mission more clearly, and to make links between your activities and your goals. It is very helpful for showing how your organization creates value and how your work relates to larger social and environmental change (in ways you may not have thought of previously!).

With these tools in your belt, you’ll be on your way to a low-cost, high return monitoring system that will, without a doubt, help you demonstrate your value.

Lindsay Miller

Lindsay leads, a free open content resource hub that helps social entrepreneurs plan, start, manage, and grow successful social enterprises. She has worked as a consultant to social enterprises and nonprofits in the US and abroad, served as the Programming Lead for the Skoll World Forum, and studied as a Skoll Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford's Said Business School. She lives in Hood River, Oregon.

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