In their report, Measuring Social Impact: The Foundation of Social Return on Investment (SROI), the London School of Business takes things a step further by identifying a flow of four main elements required to measure what they call “social value creation”. This is how it works:
The resources needed and invested in your activity, measured as a cost.
The direct or tangible results of your activity. For example, the number of people organisation trained.
The changes to people that come as a direct result of your programme objective. These can be measured in their own terms (eg. the number of people who got new jobs as a result of your programme, measured as their increase in income). Alternatively, they can be measured from the perspective of a different stakeholder (eg. those same people who got new jobs, and the value that brings to the government in terms of taxes, reduction in unemployment benefits, and so on).
The outcomes, minus an estimate of what would have happened anyway. So let’s say you trained 30 people, and 20 found work but five would have found jobs on their own. Here you would calculate the impact of your efforts based on the remaining 15 people.