Social Return on Investment – How do you measure your SROI?

Ark People & Communities

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is still a fairly new term which describes how business can measure and account for the social element of their work.  There are various different approaches and as many opinions around social accounting, value for money and impact assessment. It is still relatively new to the UK, but it is attracting considerable interest from third sector organisations, government, funders, investors and commissioners because of its ability to tell a compelling story of change.

Businesses now have to focus on added value, value for money and efficiencies, the ability to measure the social, economic and environmental impact and outcomes, often sets business apart from competitors and reinforces their social ethos and values.

Understanding, capturing and reporting your SROI can help organisations maximise funding opportunities and highlight the social impact and outcomes being achieved, often which can positively impact on people lives.

Measuring SROI can enable your business to:

  • understand the social, environmental and economic value created by your work
  • maximise the positive change you create and identify and manage any negative outcomes
  • consider which organisations or people you should be working with
  • improve the way you engage with your stakeholders and funders
  • find ways to collect more useful, better quality information.

Ark People & Communities have a track record in creating new, acquiring and growing social enterprises, which provide opportunities for training and employment for local people. We also have vast experience at reporting SROI, financial accounts, VFM and CSR.

We work with Charities, housing providers and private and public sector businesses to assist them in targeting their CSR contributions more effectively, and in developing SROI frameworks.

Some key principles underpinning SROI include

  • Consultation with key stakeholders to inform what gets measured & how this is measured
  • Capture what changes: articulate how change is created and evaluate this, recognising positive and negative changes
  • Value things that count- use financial proxies in order that the value of the outcomes can be recognised
  • Be Transparent: - organisations should only claim the value that they are responsible for creating.

Demonstrating the changes brought about as a result of services and activities you’re delivering should be a central activity of any organisation. By putting the basics in place you can ensure that your hard work is as effective as it can be. This, in turn, will enable you to maximise the effectiveness of your work, share best practice and create the maximum opportunities.

To find out more about Ark People & Communities visit or to hear more about how Ark People & Communities can support your organisation contact Helen Scurr, Managing Director at .