Samira Khan, Senior Manager, Global Impact Engagement and Eric Barela, Director of Measurement and Evaluation at Salesforce.org here, saying hello … Social impact measurement is a hot topic today. How do we make it happen when funding and capacity are low and we sit at the intersection of multiple crises around race, climate, and democracy?
Ironically, we started this timely conversation at the end of 2019, on a December day just before the pandemic hit. In these times of collective hardship, however, lies the opportunity to move beyond dialogue and accelerate action. There’s no better time than today to jumpstart more impact measurement and accountability to society’s various stakeholders, when it is urgently needed.
Specifically, last year, representatives from leading organizations across sectors, some of whom are AEA members, got together to answer the question: How can philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, businesses, impact investors, and evaluators come together in a cross-sector way to advance the impact measurement and management space? As a result of our work leading up to the event and the dynamic conversation in which we engaged, we identified six key capacity building areas:
- Skills: Skill development within organizations, across different roles
- Awareness: Building the case for impact measurement and management
- Impact Data and Tech Solutions: Quantity, quality, and interoperability of data
- Greater Standardization: Greater alignment across data standards and comparability
- Policy: Policy and regulation to drive greater disclosure and reporting
- Ethical Use of Data: Accountability for data usage, considering important topics like privacy, ownership, and others
The divergent perspectives and an interesting conversation around “how” unfolded when the group met in person. For example, do we focus on process standardization, metric standardization, or both equally? What does this standardization mean in practice? What role does policy play? How can the philanthropic and corporate sectors expand their dialogue around the topic? What incentive structures are needed? Where do we even start?
It is a daunting journey to keep up with the momentum and tie efforts together in a meaningful way. And, most importantly, real work and debate on the “how” continues. How do we carry this work forward and capitalize on the momentum of current conversations? Specifically, how can evaluators bring their expertise and knowledge to bear on capacity building in impact measurement today? We welcome your thoughts via email (Samira is firstname.lastname@example.org and Eric is at email@example.com); we will respond and share them with the SIM TIG.
Rad resource: Here is where you can find the Impact Measurement Today white paper that provides highlights of the convening held in December 2019 along with key findings.
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.