Get to know the 8 principles that guide impact assesment based on Social Return on Investment (SROI) protocol:
PRINCIPLE 1: involve STAKEHOLDERS
Individuals and organizations involved in the project should be identified and consulted in the evaluation process. After all, they are the ones who will experience the impacts from the interventions.
PRINCIPLE 2: UNDERSTAND WHAT CHANGes
The evaluation should identify how the project generates social changes through data collected for this purpose. These changes can be positive or negative, intentional or unintentional. This process generates what we call Theory of Change (ToC), which establishes the causal relationship between the intervention and the impacts generated. The ToC serves as a map of the intervention that guides the entire evaluation process.
PRINCIPLE 3: VALUing the things that matter
The valuation process, one of the key stages of SROI evaluation, should consider the preferences of beneficiaries regarding the degree of importance among the different changes they experience.
PRINCIPLE 4: only include WHAT IS MATERIAL
Materiality here carries a financial sense, referring to considering things that are substantial and supported by evidence.
PRINCIPLE 5: DO not overclaim
The evaluator should be conservative and assign value only to the impacts that are actually caused by the intervention carried out. By doing so, they avoid overestimating the impact of a project.
PRINCIPLE 6: BE TRANSPARENT
The evaluator should ensure that the sources, foundations, and methodological procedures are clear and accessible to the general public.
PRINCIPLE 7: VERIFY the RESULT
Design, implement, and document the procedures adopted in the evaluation, ensuring that they can be reviewed and validated.
PRINCIPLE 8: BE RESPONSIVE
Make evaluation an instrument of strategic planning, guiding solutions aimed at course correction and maximizing the generated social impact.
Where do the principles come from?
The SROI protocol originates from the British organization Social Value International (SVI), which has been certifying professionals worldwide for its application for the past 15 years. Paula Fabiani, IDIS CEO, is the only Brazilian certified by the organization, and IDIS is now a reference in the application of the protocol in Brazil, with work carried out for organizations such as Amigos do Bem, Gerando Falcões, Petrobras, and Vale.
According to the social value network, “social value means understanding the importance that people attribute to changes in their well-being and using the insights we gain from this understanding to make better decisions.” In other words, the evaluation aims to inform evidence-based decision-making processes in social organizations.
Considering the challenges of measuring impact, SVI establishes a protocol for calculating the SROI index that encompasses various participatory research methodologies, including conducting in-depth interviews, focus groups with beneficiaries, questionnaires, and analysis of secondary data.
It is evident, then, that SROI is not just a numerical index but primarily the process and results of an intensive research and consultation activity involving beneficiaries of social programs.