Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search
Inspiring Action: Blog for Volunteer Managers
Blog Home All Blogs
Search all posts for:   


View all (97) posts »

How To Measure Your Organization's Social Impact

Posted By Rui Miguel Martins, Volunteer Guest Blogger, July 28, 2016
Updated: July 27, 2016
Blog Post: Measuring your organization's social impact

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 


It has always been a challenge for organizations to accurately measure the impact their initiatives have on the lives of their clients and the community, as many organizations aren’t sure what to measure, how to define their intended outcomes, or just don’t know where to start.

Tinashe Mafukidze has worked in the non-profit sector as a process facilitator, project manager and curator for 15 years. She shared her experiences with leaders of grassroots organizations as part of Volunteer Toronto’s Trailblazer Series, a set of leadership talks for people who lead volunteer-run non-profits.

Our guest blogger, Rui Miguel Martins, provides a summary of how organizations could better measure their social impact.

Define your outcomes and plans 

Always begin by asking the right questions. Ask yourself what problem your organization is trying to solve and whether it is being addressed through proper actions. Also consider the negative consequences of your non-profit’s work. Are your organization’s actions unintentionally causing a new problem? Can your resources be better allocated somewhere else? 

Then develop a theory of change model- a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why your proposed changes will lead to achieving your organization’s long-term goals for the community it serves.

Start by:

  1. Outlining what your organization does for its intended beneficiaries,
  2. Defining the ultimate goals you hope to reach (in short, your vision) and,
  3. Identifying all the necessary activities to get there.

This will help you design and develop your programs, improve internal and external communication, and ultimately help you determine the true social impact of your organization. Consult surveys, focus groups, and social media to understand the impact your organization is having.


Establish shared principles of measurement 

You should aim to decide what you want to track by creating a solid framework. To do this, gather information in one place, possibly by using document-sharing software such as Google Apps, Salesforce and Nationbuilder. And remember to involve members of your team, stakeholders, potential funders and the public in the process of determining your measurements of success. Once created, develop a culture of reflective practice, and aim to make sense of the findings and identify the successes and failures. “We want to know that people and resources are being used in the right places in the best way possible,” Mafukidze says.

Be courageous in your reporting

Many non-profits are reluctant to measure their impact, due to lack of time and resources. There is also concern about perception. Organizations are hesitant to involve funders and clients in their evaluation, because they believe that it may project a negative image. On the contrary, honest reporting and involving stakeholders sends the message that an organization is always striving to improve. Reporting should always be authentic and transparent and should encourage feedback and suggestions. And be sure to create relatable stories with your numbers so those you communicate with understand the practical reality of the results you’ve gathered.


Rui Miguel Martins is a communications specialist and social media strategist based in Toronto. He currently volunteers his time at Make A Change Canada, Yonge Street Mission, as well as at Volunteer Toronto.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
Permalink | Comments (0)
more Upcoming Events

Volunteering in Response to COVID-19

Organizations We Love

Volunteer Toronto Central-West (Temporarily Closed)

721 Bloor Street West, Suite 202
Toronto, ON
M6G 1L5

Mailing Address

2425 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 214
Scarborough, ON
M1K 5G8

(Virtual) Hours of Operation


Friday: 9:00am12:00pm

T. 416-961-6888

About Us
Contact Us
Board of Directors
Staff Team

CRA# 119287092RR0001

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal