Social impact

How can I generate social impact through my business and tell the world about it?

Social impact investing, the rise of social enterprise and a general sense that good business is good for everyone is shining a laser beam on the social impact of organisations. Although there is no consensus on the definition of social impact, let alone the many ways to create and evaluate it, the following resources give you a good head start to think how to approach it in your organisation.

Logic models and evaluation

Make links between your inputs, activities and impact using the logic model development guide

from W.K.Kellogg Foundation

WHAT?  This is a comprehensive guide that explains logic models – what they are and why to use them – with exercises to build one for your social enterprise or programme

WHEN?  You want to structure your business around social impact and create a logical story on why what you do matters

WHY?  If you do not have story or hypothesis guiding your social intervention, your opportunity for learning, improvement and delivering impact is low


>>  A guide to using logic models in evaluation from The Strategy Unit

>>  The difference between a logic model and a theory of change from Tools4Dev

Impact evaluation

Plan and manage an impact evaluation

from Better Evaluation

WHAT?  An evaluation guide and links to further resources

WHEN?  You want to evaluate the impact of your programme

WHY?  Sometimes our best intentions do more harm than good. Other times there might be more effective ways to deliver the desired impact. It all hangs on knowing what works.


>>  Take this quiz to find out why decent impact evaluation matters from 80,000 Hours

Ethical business certification

Evaluate your business’s impact on the community and environment with the free business impact assessment

from B Corporations

WHAT?  An analysis via an online questionnaire, legal document review and interview to achieve certified B Corporation status. Certified B Corporations are a new kind of enterprise that balance purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.

WHEN?  You have had an established business for at least one year

WHY?  Consumers are increasingly impact conscious. Being a certified “B Corporation” business signals your commitment to ethical and conscientious practice.

Organic certification

Get Soil Association certification if you want to sell your products as organic

from Soil Association

WHAT?  Information on how to apply for certification. The Soil Association have over 70 years of experience in organic farming, and offer a comprehensive package of expert support for your business.

WHEN?  You are thinking about organic certification for your business.

WHY?  If you want your farm, or the products you make, store or sell, to be labelled organic you must hold a legal certificate of registration for that product from an organic certifier. Any product sold as “organic” in the EU has to comply with a set of standards.


>>  What are organic standards from the Soil Association

Impact data tracking

Gather customer data that tracks impact with Lean Data

from Acumen

WHAT?  An analysis which will provide data on social performance, customer feedback and behaviour

WHEN?  You have a fast-moving social enterprise in developing countries and want live customer insights

WHY?  These guys have blended business metrics with social impact tracking for more impactful businesses

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