217413 Social Return on Investment: Accountability and measurement in the public sector

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 3:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Allison Gertel-Rosenberg, MS , Nemours, Nemours, Newark, DE
Sara Olsen, MBA, MASW , Social Venture Technology Group, San Francisco, CA
Andrew Tulchin, MBA , Social Enterprise Associates, Santa Fe, NM
As accountability and measurement become increasingly important in the public sector, non-profit organizations and their managers need to better understand and express their impact. In particular, they need a baseline from which to measure, specific tools to calculate value, operational systems to track data, and ability to integrate assessments of value in decision-making to improve the performance of programs.

There are many approaches non-profits can use to better understand their impact, yet the organizations that have effectively installed measurement tracking systems use them to manage information are still a small minority.

One particularly useful organizing principle for connecting an organization's activities with progress toward its mission is Social Return on Investment (SROI). SROI has existed for some time, but remains on the fringes of social sector use. The growth of social enterprise and the increasing interest of funders in results make SROI increasingly viable as a measurement system to track and express impact.

Social return on investment uses a framework comprised of financial, monetizable, quantitative, qualitative, and narrative information to create a fuller picture of the benefits of public health initiatives. Users of the framework can use the model to create a story to share with boards, the public, the media and funders providing a range of data and allowing the listener to create their own valuing of each type of data. For example, the media may prioritize the narrative information while a funder focuses on the financial and qualitative data.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Program planning
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the social return on investment framework and provide examples of how it has been utilized in the public health field. Explain how the social return on investment framework can help to communicate around accountability and measurement

Keywords: Decision-Making, Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently serve as a Senior Special Assistance and Policy Analyst in the Office of the Vice President of Policy and Prevention. I am responsible for ensuring integration of projects and alignment with overall strategic direction; acting as an advisor on important strategic and operational matters; managing the SROI initiative; and managing special projects including national collaborations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.