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As a voluntary organisation, your business activities need to achieve both a social and financial return. Your impact is the change that your organisation is going to make for the people and communities you work with – this is your ‘social return’.
You should be able to communicate your impact clearly and concisely. You probably do it every day when people ask you about what you do. You may already have an ‘impact statement’ that works with your brand.
However, telling people about the difference you make will be much easier if you can actually measure your impact.
Measuring impact doesn’t have to be complicated and difficult – it should be proportionate to the size of your organisation. If you only have two members of staff, it’s unlikely that you have time to conduct a full social return on investment (often shortened to SROI) or other detailed analysis. But there are ways you can learn as you go along, as long as you plan it in to your activity.
The Measuring Up Tool is a straightforward, step-by-step self-assessment tool that allows you to review and improve your organisation’s impact practice. We'll add the link for the tool once it's updated later this year.
Think about who is reading the business plan and why they might be interested in your organisation’s social impact.
If you’re making a proposal to a funder or an investor, you may want to highlight any areas where your impact meets their aims. If you’re a social enterprise, describe the link between your financial return and your social return – will a greater social impact create new opportunities to generate profit?
If you’re writing a business plan for internal use, make sure your intended impact is clear and linked to your mission; this well help you keep focused and make sure that you can measure your progress towards it.
Put the information in a table, as in the example below.
You’ll find an editable version of the table in our business plan template; you can add columns to it if you need to.
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