Action Research

for CO-development

SROI analysis of Ronald McDonald Houses

Measuring the value created by Ronald McDonald Houses in Italy

Location: Florence, Rome, Brescia, and Milan (Italy)

Duration: February – May 2017

Client: Italian branch of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC)


Several studies have stressed the benefits of ensuring that families stay together when a child is hospitalized. RMHC, of course, has made this the centre of its activities. In the past 17 years, RMHC has implemented programmes to support families with sick children who seek treatment far away from home, providing them with comfort, support, and resources just steps away from the hospital.

General objective

We evaluated the social and economic impact of RMHC activities in order to help them improve their existing practices. Basically, the research activity served as a transparent evaluation of the social value of Ronald McDonald Houses.

What we did

The Social Return on Investment (SROI) concept is an innovative methodology that uses a participatory framework to improve managerial processes and measure social-environmental returns for beneficiaries and communities. The SROI analysis measured the social value of RMHC’s activities by assessing the experiences of both beneficiaries and stakeholders and placing a financial value on it.

Our methodology featured seven key components:

  • Contextualizing RMHC’s activities in Italy, with special emphasis on its mission, activities, and internal structure
  • Mapping the activities involved in managing all four Ronald McDonald Houses in Italy
  • Identifying and establishing a monetary value for the inputs that are used when these activities are being performed
  • Assessing the involvement of relevant stakeholders (parents, children, hospitals, RMHC staff, and donors) and creating a participatory map of outputs and outcomes
  • Identifying suitable indicators for estimating outputs and outcomes
  • Calculating appropriate financial proxies for the economic value of outcomes and subtracting potential displacement effects, deadweight effects, attribution issues, and drop-off effects
  • Calculating the SROI ratio (3.15 € for each 1 euro invested during the 2016 fiscal year)