Tuesday January 22nd, 2019 admin

Measuring social impact in the third sector: methodologies and case studies

La valutazione impatto sociale del terzo settore

Nowadays the third sector organizations are asked to account for the results of their activities. Our researchers, Marco Bellucci, Carmela Nitti and Chiara Chimirri, together with the University of Florence, cooperated with the Tuscany Region to review the existing literature in this field and to elaborate and test a new methodology.

The social impact assessment model we developed, inspired by the work done by the Italian Ministry of Labor and Social Policies, is flexible, scalable, accessible to the third sector organization. Given the variety of dimensions, activities and objectives of the third sector organizations, the tool is a set of guidelines that each organization can follow according to its specific needs and characteristics.

The methodology consists of three key steps: 1) a participatory involvement of the organization 2) the qualitative analysis of the organization’s history, identity and activities; 3) the quantitative analysis of the social impact generated.

The participatory involvement lays the foundations for the definition of the qualitative features of the organization, (e.g. activities, objectives…), and the quantitative ones, meaning a set of indicators that allow to determine the generated social impact. An internal and external communication of the results of the social impact assessment is also planned and encouraged.

Measuring social impact: three case studies in Tuscany

Concerning the participatory process, we arranged a meeting with the representatives of three organizations (Alice Cooperativa SocialeLegambiente Firenze e il Circolo ARCI G. Simonti) to define the core elements of the qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Regarding the quantitative component, we took into account the organizations’ history and identity, while for the quantitative analysis we identified indicators and appropriate financial proxies to provide a monetary evaluation of the outcomes.

Future developments

We presented the results of the research at a dedicated event at the Tuscany Region. It emerged that given the peculiarities of each organization an ad hoc social impact assessment is always required. Being able to develop a set of indicators for all the organizations working in the same sector could be a useful support for an autonomous self-assessment process.

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