BUILDING STANDARD OF PRACTICE IN SROI
In November 2014, the Social Return on Investment (SROI) International Network merged with Social Impact Analysts Association (SIAA) to form Social Value International (SVI). This is an exciting development as the two organizations had strong visions of putting social value on the agendas of government, corporate, and social profit worlds internationally. It is also exciting because part of SVI’s vision is to have broad and rich conversations of how to value social outcomes, communicate that value to key stakeholders, and integrate that value into organizations.
That said, one challenge of any emerging management discipline is the need to uphold standards of practice while methodologies are still in development. For example, the field of accounting dates back centuries, but it’s only been in the past 50 years that there’s been a consensus emerging around an international standards. However, even today, many in the accounting world say that there is room for improvement. From SiMPACT’s perspective, the need for standards of practice in the use of SROI methodology is becoming more apparent. In Canada alone, SROI is being used in many provinces and territories, at the federal level, and in both small and large organizations.
Ensuring clients are aware of SROI methodology is the first step towards building an international standard of practice. One thought for consideration for clients of SROI practitioners, would be to ask their consultants how they plan to uphold the seven principles of the SROI methodology. While there is a need for flexibility in ones approach in SROI, based on the audience we are trying to engage, it is essential that the seven principles are upheld. For example, it’s vital to take steps to avoid over claiming as you focus on the most material outcomes experienced by stakeholders. It’s also essential to ask stakeholders what the most important outcomes are from their perspective, unless that stakeholder is unavailable.
SiMPACT looks to 2015 as a year where the SROI Canada Network will grow its database of practitioners seeking to provide a higher quality of service to interest in valuing their social outcome. For a full list of practitioners known to SROI Canada, click here. For individuals interested in learning more about SROI, join us at our next Introduction to SROI training session on January 22, 2015 in Calgary, and January 28, 2015 in Toronto.