How does your organisation measure its value? Its impact on the wider community? In community engagement land, we commonly use numbers to measure our success. That is the easy part. The more challenging question is – what impact are we making in the world? Are we making a real difference?
At Conversation Co, we are pursuing B Corp Certification. The B Impact Assessment tool asks us to consider the impact of our work on the community as well as our clients.
We monitor our work using a range of measures:
- Engagement reach – the number of projects, clients and people engaged
- Client satisfaction and retention – their feedback on the services we have provided, and our deliverables
- Civic engagement and giving – our pro bono work for clients
- Under-served groups – how do we define these? How do we support them to participate in engagement?
- Social impact – are there positive outcomes for the community created by our organisation?
When we looked back at the 2021-2022 year, we…
- Started 41 new projects and finished up a few from the previous year
- Had nine clients who asked us to support them with multiple projects during the year
- Finished 31 projects and received feedback from 19,500 individuals during the year (with more to come)
Client satisfaction was highest for our social research and data analysis, our engagement or research advice and our strategic communications (86-88% satisfied) – we also had high satisfaction with our community/stakeholder engagement and deliberative engagement/community panels (83%). Clients really valued our deliverables – clear proposals, having a shared understanding of engagement and communications plans and reports that provided a comprehensive overview of the engagement.
Last year we didn’t have time to pursue our “heart” projects – our pro bono work for cash-poor organisations – but we are looking for opportunities this financial year.
We haven’t yet settled on a meaningful measure of our social impact but we’re looking at some of the concepts from the Community Services Outcomes Tree, developed by the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne. We’re considering how we improve a community’s choice and empowerment and how we enhance social inclusion through our projects. However we rely on our clients to consider the engagement findings, make evidence-based decisions and implement them.
If your organisation has grappled with the same dilemma – please let us know!
More information at: