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August 27, 2020

A guide to social impact measurement

Get on top of your social impact measurement and evaluation projects with this accessible guide to existing SVA Quarterly articles.

Whether you’re just setting out on the journey or are well into a learning cycle to improve your existing evaluation system, this guide will provide insights to help you do it better.

This guide brings together a mixture of how-to articles, how different measurement and evaluation approaches were applied on the ground, as well as insights and lessons from our team and clients on the value and challenges of adopting an outcomes measurement approach.

The guide is broken into three sections:

  • Design: This section introduces practical tools and advice to help you start or evolve your outcomes measurement, be it development of a program logic, outcomes framework or rolling out an outcomes measurement approach across your organisation.
  • Measure & evaluate: This section offers examples for how data collected could be used to start measuring and evaluating your impact, including how to make different tools work for a specific context or purpose.
  • Act (or learn): This section brings together lessons and case studies from the field to highlight opportunities for how to grow and evolve outcomes measurement practice in your organisation.




How to adopt an outcomes-focused approach

Part 1: Part 1 of a step-by-step guide for setting up an outcomes management approach for your organisation covers defining how you create the change. +Podcast
Part 2: Part 2 covers how you measure outcomes.  +Podcast

Finding the golden thread: A new approach to articulating program logic statements

The Golden Thread methodology for articulating program logic statements is a powerful tool for describing how your activities lead to the impact you seek.

Shared measurement; easier than you think

Developing a shared measurement framework is easier than you think; moreover it can lead to better outcomes for clients.

Seven pitfalls to avoid in outcomes measurement

What are the common things that go wrong when setting up an outcomes measurement approach? SVA consultants share 10 years of insights.


Measure & evaluate


Getting the most out of SROI

A full Social Return on Investment (SROI) report isn’t the only way to benefit from applying the SROI framework

Innovative way to measure what matters

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) with SVA developed an affordable, transparent and objective system that measures social impact to help make appropriate and timely decisions to improve outcomes.

 Why and how corporate funders should manage to outcomes

Why corporate philanthropists need to adopt an outcomes management approach, the priorities to consider and how Woodside has done it.

How can evaluation better recognise Indigenous self-determination?

The right of Indigenous peoples to self-determination has significant implications for evaluating policies and programs that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and experts are showing the way.

SROI revolution or evolution?

Six years on from our first article on Social Return on Investment, SROI has evolved: there’s a growing emphasis on developing rich theories of change, being pragmatic about what data to collect, and increasing sophistication in valuing outcomes.


Act (or learn)


Managing to outcomes: what, why and how?
What does ‘managing to outcomes’ mean and why are small and large organisations alike embarking on this journey?

Stop proving; start improving!
A challenging example puts the case for refocusing measurement and evaluation around simple measures that drive improvement rather than time-consuming academic studies that provide ‘proof’.

How culture grows effective outcomes
Te Whānau O Waipareira in New Zealand has worked with SVA to build an outcomes management culture and strategy to measure what really matters for Māori families in West Auckland.

Extended benefits of an SROI report
A look at six organisations that gained additional benefits from an SROI analysis. There can be additional benefits from an SROI analysis if it is approached in the right way.

Healthy country, healthy people
Analyses of five Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA) across Australia demonstrate the social and cultural co-benefits of Indigenous land management initiatives. +Podcast

The value of a peer operated service
SVA’s analysis of a peer operated mental health service reveals just how and why this approach is so valuable to both those accessing the service and the local mental health system which benefits from their recovery.


For more information contact Katya Andreyeva on or Simon Faivel on

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