SVA Fundamentals for Impact

In our work across the sector over the last 15 years, our observation is that despite their best attempts, many funding and social purpose organisations struggle to clearly assess and articulate their effectiveness, and it’s hampering their ability to improve their impact.

We’ve developed the SVA Fundamentals for Impact to help brave leaders and their ambitious organisations to answer critical questions about their effectiveness. They are a way to think systematically about the areas that might affect an organisation’s ability to create the scale of social change it wants and provides a clear pathway to prioritise and act on that information to do better.

Download the SVA Fundamentals for Impact information brochure (PDF 453KB).

What are the SVA Fundamentals for Impact?

The SVA Fundamentals for Impact are grounded on the collective experience of many global practitioners and experts, international academic evidence on what effective funders and social purpose organisations look like and SVA’s own experience in Australia over 15 years.

Developed specifically for the social sector, the SVA Fundamentals for Impact are differentiated from other organisational effectiveness tools. They recognise that effectiveness in this sector is determined by more than just internal capability and must also value being client centred and having a clear engagement with the ecosystem in which it operates. In all, there are 15 organisational characteristics that SVA believes – and the evidence shows – are important for effectiveness.

SVA-Fundamentals-for-Impact-three-groups: Client centred, effectively run and engaged with the ecosystem

When should I use the SVA Fundamentals for Impact?

There are many applications of the SVA Fundamentals for Impact. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Assess: A Trust, government department or Foundation could use the framework to assess potential grantees
  • Diagnose: A new CEO could use the framework with their leadership team to identify and prioritise areas for improvement
  • Prescribe: A funding organisation could use the SVA Fundamentals for Impact to realign resources to their mission
  • Measure: A Board could use the SVA Fundamentals for Impact to help measure their organisation’s social impact objectives

SVA Fundamentals for Impact diagram for delivering impact

How do I use the SVA Fundamentals for Impact?

Download the assessment tool from the SVA website and work through each of the characteristics to choose which description best applies to your organisation. Each of the characteristics is weighted equally as we recognise that the importance of characteristics varies by organisation and points in time.

At the end of the process you’ll be provided with an assessment of your organisation’s effectiveness against each of the characteristics.

We have developed two versions of the assessment tool, one optimised to assess organisations who deliver services, and one optimised to assess organisations that contribute funding.

While funders may want to use the provider assessment tool to assess potential grantees, they may equally want to assess their own organisation, its impact and effectiveness, for which we’ve created the funder assessment tool. Both are available for download, along with a user guide.

We welcome all feedback on your experience using the SVA Fundamentals for Impact assessment tool.

Case Study: Melbourne Indigenous Transition School

MITS students Anthony and Jayread

The SVA Consulting team worked with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS) as its priorities began to shift from proof-of-concept to scaling up. This is a juncture that many social sector organisations come to, and one that can be critical in terms of ensuring continued success supporting program participants.

Our consultants used the SVA Fundamentals for Impact with MITS to frame the challenges and opportunities this transition would bring, and to articulate a clear pathway forward for the organisation.

“We came to SVA for an objective assessment of how well our organisation was placed to transition from start-up phase to one of consolidation and growth. Having the Consulting team walk through the SVA Fundamentals for Impact with us allowed us to identify which changes we should prioritise to improve our impact for our students and communities.”

Melbourne Indigenous Transition School Executive Director, Edward Tudor.

Why these particular markers of effectiveness?

The SVA Fundamentals for Impact enable organisations to assess whether they are being effective and how they can do better through 15 characteristics. Read our SVA Quarterly article that explains why and how the framework was developed.

Creative Commons

The SVA Fundamentals for Impact are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial and No-Derivatives 4.0 International licence. Permission may be granted for derivatives, please contact SVA for more information.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Can you tell me more?

Absolutely. Social Ventures Australia can help you use the SVA Fundamentals for Impact, including how to address the challenges and opportunities the framework might uncover.

Please send your enquiry to