Week 5 - Metrics & Social Return on Investment


"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." This common piece of advice from the business world is starting to take hold in the nonprofit/social-e sector, and for good reason. Many nonprofits in the past have existed without knowing or sometimes even trying to quantify the impact they create through their programs. The tide is turning, though, because more foundations and other sources of funding are developing internal metrics for evaluating their investments. This, in turn, is being quickly adopted by social enterprises because it helps them understand what's working, where they need to improve, and how to prove that they are indeed solving the problem in their mission.


  1. Housekeeping - Anything that's necessary to take care of beforehand.Ê(10 min).
  2. Introductory discussion of why metrics are important - Discussion should be based on the reasons assigned from last week. Ê[20 min].
  3. SROI and an introduction into different ways to calculate effectiveness - Reference this article in discussing different ways to measure social return on investment. Explain/discuss the pro's and con's of the different methods, and the scenarios in which one type works best compared to the others. While a somewhat dry subject (it's mostly numbers a lot of the time), it is very illuminating to discuss the reasons why there are so many different ways of measuring value and how they can improve an organization's performance [60 min].
  4. How to implement metrics discussion - Discussion based on how an organization can/should implement metrics, as well as looking at examples from certain organizations on how they develop metrics. Do the implementations differ by organization size? type? industry? If so, how so? [20 min].
  5. Wrap Up - Any last discussion topics should be discussed at this point. If any major themes developed (varies by class), pull these out and tie into the the last two classes if at all possible (need-finding, mission, vision, and theory of change). [30 min].


  • Create a case for why a person would use a specific organization structure and/or revenue model. The case should define the type of structure and revenue model used, plus 3-5 reasons why its a compelling combination.


No readings for next week. Students are advised to use whatever authoritative sources and statistics they can find to make their case. No, Wikipedia does not count, but if Wikipedia's sources at the bottom of the page are good, they can be used instead.

Next Week:

Next week's class will focus on the organization structure and revenue models available for social enterprises. Should one choose a for profit model over a nonprofit model? This question and many others are the primary focus of next week's class.

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