Impact Measurement Made Easy? Towards a Standard Blueprint

Up to now, there is no generally accepted standard for impact measurement and most funding bodies and non-profit organisations develop their own methodologies, resulting in a multiplicity of approaches, tools, and databases. Results can hardly be compared, resources are again and again used to develop an impact measurement instrument and reports are not always easy to understand for stakeholders.

Nevertheless, a general consensus exists that social impact measurement should be guided by shared principles and some basic indicators. Can we develop a standard tool for impact measurement? What would be the advantages of such a tool and how could such a tool be made feasible and applicable? Based on the ongoing project ‘Impact of Social Innovation’ that is carried out by the Centre for Social Investment at the University of Heidelberg, Dr. Georg Mildenberger will build on the standard input, output, outcome and impact (IOOI) model and provide suggestions for a blueprint of middle-range impact measurement models, but will also address the downsides of using such models.

A middle range impact model combines a generic IOOI for a class of projects/interventions with a core stakeholder mapping and a selection of indicators that might be used by all projects of the class and then can be customized and supplemented depending on the specific aspects of the project. Hence, it can inform and support practitioners on possibilities to model impact by supplying a generic list of indicators, baseline values and methodologies.

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