The Social Impact Calculator is a first-of-its-kind digital tool that allows users to measure the social impact of community investments. It's created quite a buzz in the non-profit sector. Tweets announcing its launch have gone viral over the last couple of weeks.
The Social Impact Calculator is the result of the Low Income Investment Fund’s effort to measure the effectiveness of its work.
Having limited resources, the fund couldn’t afford to do long-term studies on the social impact of their projects. So the group sought out high-quality research that allows it to estimate a monetary value, says Nancy O. Andrews, chief executive of LIIF.
Its uses to NPOs as a reporting, monitoring and evaluating tool are obvious and enormous.
The work of an American foundation, the instrument calculates in USD. The principle, however, is straight forward enough. The true impacts of community investments are not once-off measurements. These monies and services rebound through out the community, magnifying their impacts over time. It is hoped that South Africa civil society can take it from here, and someday soon either adapt this tool to a Southern African context, or create one of its own.