What is SROI?
Social Return on Investment is a methodology for measuring the impact of a company and intervention on the local and national level.
The methodology has been used for a while now and has a dedicated following in the UK, specifically from Social Value UK, NEC Consulting, Rose Regeneration, and LORIC itself.
How is SROI carried out?
Social Return on Investment varies from company to company, but it requires an in-depth look at the activities and how they impact individual stakeholders.
It examines intended and unintended consequences both in order to get a better picture of the company’s activities, and produce a clear report of its activities.
Are there any drawbacks?
Like any method of accounting, Social Return on Investment depends on the quality of the data that goes into the report.
This means that any company that wants to undertake such an evaluation must have:
- a robust data culture
- dedicated practitioners who are ready to maintain the databases
Because Social Return on Investment looks at opportunity costs and opportunity gains, it can only look at representative numbers.
For example, preventing a trip to the A&E doesn’t mean the hospital gets an extra £160 in its accounts; what it means is that the money that would have been spent on a preventable trip to the A&E can now be used to help someone whose visit was not preventable.
What are the benefits?
- Social Return on Investment represents resources being employed more efficiently.
- It represents improved quality of life, community renewal, and improved prospects.
- It is a way to put value on the intangible.
- As a method for adding dimension to a company’s impact, it is a great tool for building up the team and advocating for change.