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MEASURING SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
A Resource Book for Social Enterprise Performance Measurement

Edited by Marie Lisa M. Dacanay
With a Foreword by Mechai Viravaidya

 

This book is for sale at PhP 450.00/piece.  You may order at  inquiry@isea-group.netor through telephone +63-2-4266001 local 4640/4661

FOREWORD

It is always pleasing to see the academic community work with practitioners in developing methodology to quantitatively assess the impact of social enterprises, which is an area many organizations struggle with, in their own self-assessment.

 

In this resource book, Professor Dacanay and her team elaborate, in great detail, the development indexing (DI) and social return on investment (SROI) models so that they can be utilized, not just in the Philippines, but internationally. Organizations with a social development mission can use the tools provided in this book to measure the social impact of their business activities. Likewise, companies that are expanding their Corporate Social Responsibility programs could employ these methods to monetize social development and put social enterprises in terms that the business community is familiar with.

 

I urge anyone who is serious about poverty eradication to look through this resource book to determine which models they can employ as a means of quantifying social development. Simply having “great ideas” is not enough to deal with the complex challenges facing the world today. An organization must be capable of honestly looking at its own development programs to see what is successful and what is unsuccessful/

 

MECHAI VIRAVAIDYA

Chairman
Population and Community Development Association (PDA) Thailand

 

PREFACE

The mission of Oikocredit is to empower disadvantaged people with credit. In the many years Oikocredit has operated, millions of disadvantaged people have had access to credit through our project partners. During these years, it has become more and more important to measure the impact of our activities. What is the real impact of our work on the lives of individuals and communities? Are we empowering people? Are people’s lives changing for the better? How can we improve the way we work, our products and services, to ensure their relevance and responsiveness to the needs of our target groups?

We and our project partners ask ourselves these questions constantly. It is only when we have reliable measurement and monitoring tools, and have the capacity to use these tools, that we can begin to generate the information that would allow us to answer these questions with confidence.

 

It is in this spirit that Oikocredit supported the development of the training curriculum for SROI and DI and the training for facilitators in 2008. It is in the spirit of sharing what we and our partners have learned in the use of SROI and DI that we commissioned the conduct of four case studies to look at how the tools can be applied to different types of social enterprises.

 

This resource book for social enterprise performance measurement is a testament to Oikocredit’s commitment to social performance and to our continuing efforts to respond to the need of project partners for user-friendly social performance measurement tools.

 

We are happy to share these experiences with you, and we hope that we have, by these efforts, contributed to the development and growth of the social enterprise sector in the region.

 

TOR GULL

Managing Director

Oikocredit International

 

INTRODUCTION

The idea for a resource book on social enterprise performance measurement arose from a need expressed by development organizations to have user-friendly tools for assessing the outcomes and impacts of enterprises with a social purpose.

 

Seeking to balance financial sustainability with development objectives, these “social enterprises” deal with “multiple bottom lines”. In addition to the financial bottom line, the development bottom lines may be about improving the quality of life of a marginalized sector or community, achieving environmental sustainability, contributing to cultural integrity, or making a difference in terms of gender equality.

 

This resource book highlights two tools for social enterprise performance measurement. One is development indexing (DI), a tool which has found credence at the macro level – specifically, the now well-known Human Development Index – and is starting to be used by some development organizations, including social enterprises, at the micro lvel.

 

The other is the social return of investment (SROI) approach, which has gained acceptance in other continents, especially in developed market economies, but is just being  introduced  in  the  context  of  the  developing  economies  in  Asia.  The  cases featured in this book may be the first systematic effort to apply SROI in the Philippines.

 

This project directly sprang from an initiative of Oikocredit Southeast Asia to work with the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) to train the former’s partners in the  Philippines in  the use  of  tools for  aiding social  performance  assessment. The course, held in the Philippines on May 19-23, 2008, aimed to train facilitators who would lead the process of undertaking social performance assessment (SPA) using the SROI methodology and DI as measurement tools in in their respective social enterprises and social enterprise resource institutions.

 

In line with the development of materials for the training, Oikocredit commissioned the conduct of four case studies exploring the application of the abovementioned tools in the work of selected partner organizations. Post-training, Oikocredit and ISEA agreed to develop a resource book that would introduce the tools to a wider audience, using the case  studies  to  show  how  the  tools  can  be  applied  in  different  types  of  social enterprises.

 

This resource book is composed of the following chapters:

 

·    Chapter 1,  “The  Challenge  of  Social  Enterprise  Performance  Measurement”, introduces social performance measurement as a key challenge facing social enterprises,  providing  the  context  for  appreciating  the  value  addition  of developing indexing (DI) and social return of investment (SROI) as tools. It looks into the phenomenon of social enterprises, defines a social enterprise and contrasts it with a traditional business enterprise, and describes the state and challenge of performance measurement among social enterprises. The section on performance measurement among social enterprises is focused on practices among three segments of social enterprises in the Philippines, where the cases featured in this book belong – namely, microfinance institutions, fair trade organizations, and cooperatives.

 

·    Chapter 2, “Developing Indexing in Social Enterprises”, introduces a tool for quantifying qualitative outcomes of development interventions, and for measuring the level of transformation among relevant stakeholders assisted by a social enterprise or resource institution. The chapter describes the roots and rationale of development indexing, cites cases where a form of development indexing has been used or initiated in the Philippine setting and draws insights on the range of uses and applications based on these cases. The chapter also provides guidelines for evolving a development index and explores prospects for its use among social enterprises.

 

·    Chapter 3, “Social Return of Investment”, introduces SROI, an approach that seeks to quantify the social costs and benefits that a social enterprise generates, including what may otherwise be considered as intangible benefits. More than a computation  of  value,  the  SROI  approach  is  characterized  by  the  chapter’s author as a “framework to structure thinking and understanding”, emphasizing the importance of defining the stakeholders, the theory of change and target outcomes as basic to the eventual valuation and monetization, or putting an equivalent  monetary  value  on  costs  and  benefits.  The  chapter  traces  the evolution of the methodology, leads the reader through the series of steps in SROI analysis, and cites examples of SROI research in the developing world.

 

·    Chapter  4,  “Alter  Trade  Group:  Creating  a  Development  Index  for  Partner People’s Organization”, deals with the first of the four cases featured in this book. The case illustrates the process of formulation, and the potential use of an index to track the progress of people’s organizations composed of sugar farmers and banana growers, the primary stakeholders of the Alter Trade Group (ATG). ATG is s a group of four organizations engaged in fair trade, the promotion of organic farming and community development. The development index evolved included five elements: organizational cohesion and development, capacity to engage the market, income diversification among members, contribution to community and sector development, and financial growth and sustainability. The case is both stand-alone  illustration  of  the  application  of  development  indexing,  and  a

companion piece to the next case, which shows an application of the SROI
approach.

 

·    Chapter 5, “Alter Trade Group: Application of the Social Return of Investment”, which deals with the second of four cases, describes an effort to apply SROI analysis to the group’s interventions, zeroing in on ATG’s impacts on its partner people’s organizations and their members. The case looks into the costs and benefits of ATG’s interventions with respect to its partner sugar and banana farmers on the Philippine island of Negros, their provincial base. Beyond more tangible impacts such as increased income for stakeholders, the case looks at how outcomes – such as improved knowledge and skills at the group and individual level, and enhanced self-esteem – may be valued and monetized. It also shows how the earlier case on development indexing aided the process of valuation and monetization of the costs and benefits related to improved knowledge and skills of the farmers at the group or organizational level.

 

·    Chapter 6, “SROI Case Study: National Federation of Cooperatives of Persons with Disability”, which deals with the third of four cases, applies SROI analysis among persons with disability (PWDs) and other stakeholders involved in the organization’s main project: the production and marketing of school chairs. The case explores valuation and monetization of both financial and non-financial outcomes and impacts across various stakeholder groups. These include income for the federation, increased incomes for participating PWDs, savings for the government in procuring cheaper and more durable school chairs, as well as enhanced self-worth and image/role in the community of PWDs.

 

·    Chapter  7,  “SROI  Case  Study:  Negros  Women  for  Tomorrow  Foundation”, features the last of the four cases. NWTF is a micro-finance institution that helps some 80,000 poor women in 10 provinces through credit assistance. The case demonstrates how the issue of attribution is addressed by SROI analysis. The resulting SROI story provides a nuanced analysis of the income impacts among various segments of NWTF’s clientele. SROI is also shown as a useful tool complementing other tools/measures used by the organization in assessing the impact of its micro-finance operations. Specifically, this case illustrates the potential complementation of the SROI with a form of development index that is already being used by the NWTF, the Progress of Poverty Index.

 

·    Finally,  the  concluding  chapter,  “Perspective  on  Development  Indexing  and Social Return on Investment”, synthesizes what can be learned from the case studies in terms of what DI and SROI can offer as tools in aiding social performance management. It also synthesizes the more important issues, concerns, and constraints in the use of development indexing and the SROI approach, and provides perspectives in appreciating their value-added, exploiting their power as tools, and managing the challenges that may arise from their adoption.

 

This resource book is primarily meant for social enterprise practitioners and resource institutions that are in search of tools for developing performance measures in aid of

strategic and operational management. It is intended to be a useful addition to the evolving body of knowledge on social entrepreneurship, dedicated to growing the social enterprise sector in the region.

 

But while the resource book is primarily for practitioners of social entrepreneurship, it is hoped that its publication can benefit advocates and other actors such as government and nongovernment organizations engaged in enterprise development, multilateral development agencies, funding institutions, academe, and even private corporations or entrepreneurs interested in measuring their social outcomes and impacts.

 

MARIE LISA M. DACANAY

Project Director
ISEA-Oikocredit Project on Social Performance Assessment

 

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