Demonstrating Value Blog

September 20, 2018

The starting point for most social enterprises in measurement is to set up a bookkeeping system to track money in and money out.  While financial bookkeeping and accounting are fundamental to running a business, it may also be useful to track other aspects of business performance early on to be able to make good operational and planning decisions.


So if you're increasing profits, it can be useful to understand: What led to that? How you can do more of that? What decisions led to the improvement: targeted sales, marketing campaign, staff hire, new equipment investment (among other things)? Having a picture of the critical factors driving success, can help inform wise future investment decisions.Just looking at profit won't reveal this. 


Another reason for measuring other aspects of business performance is to motivate good performance. For some people within an enterprise, the overall financial picture might not be relevant, or it may not be clear how they...

November 21, 2017

Being able to collect data is a key part of performance and impact measurement. (Collecting the right data, and using is effectively are the other parts).  Like maitaining a building or car, streamlining, systematizing and maitaining data can save you a lot of time and money.


How would you rate your data collection?  


Use a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is strongly disagree, and 5 is strongly agree. Rate yourself on the following 7 questions:


1. It...

May 4, 2017

After a certain point, and perhaps dozens and even hundreds of versions of spreadsheets, there comes a time to contemplate whether there is an easier way to track data.   You know that countless hours can be spent finding and making sense of data when it comes time for planning, budgeting, and in even day to day activities like sales.   But it can be hard to understand the full costs involved in acquiring software and how they relate to your ability to save staff time (and put it to other uses), as well as improving your relationships that ultimately relate to you bottom line(s). 


Demonstrating Value has developed and posted...

May 3, 2017

If you've learned about Snapshots and want to design one yourself, here are some  design tips, borrowed from graphic designers, that will help you design a snapshot that is effective visually, and which will easily capture and hold the attention of others.  


1. Keep it simple and uncluttered. 

2. Limit your colour choices.  Use colours that ‘go together’ (colour harmony).   Pick colour scheme based on your logo, or a key photo in the snapshot.  (see below)

3. Limit the number of...

May 3, 2017

Earlier this year, I was invited to lecture about impact measurement for a number of different social enterprise-related classes, both as part of academic programs and incubators.   While I mostly stayed fairly practical, 'academic-lite', I thought it would be useful to give an overview of what the field of impact measurement looks like and the options and tools out there.


I've frequently come across the statement that there can be a bewildering array of tools that makes impact measurement challenging to access and apply.  I would agree that it can seem confusing.  At a basic level though, they all identify, collect and use/show data that indicate that social value is created. They just differ in how deeply they go into the mechanics of how social impact occurs and finding evidence of...

May 3, 2017

The Social Enterprise Institute (SEI) provides short, on-demand eLearning on a variety of topics that address planning and operational needs of new and mature social enterprises alike.  This includes aspects of planning, marketing, pricing, operation and more.  Courses have clear learning objectives which are developed through practical activities, and each course is a great gateways for learning with clear direction  on where to learn more.  Five measurement courses, developed by Bryn Sadownik, have now been added to the Institute's website.


Measuring Business Performanc​e

The starting point for every social enterprise in measurement is usually the financials: to set up an accounting system to track money in and money out.  But extending measurement beyond this to include other aspects of business performance and organizational sustainability, can help you to uncover the...

March 6, 2017

In a recent blog, I described some work that Vancity Community Foundation had led to develop a societal cost calculator for work integration social enterprises (WISE) in Vancouver.   Another aspect of the project, was to develop a shared impact map and indicators.  While individual social enterprises within Vancouver differ in the goods and services they produce and the way in which they engage individuals who are marginalized, they are all working towards similar outcomes.   An outcome is a term used in impact maps (logic models/theory of change) that describes the social change that occurs as a result of the strategies and activities of a social enterprise.


Our challenge is to be able to capture these outcomes more formally and in consistent terms across different enterprises and in a way that could help to...

January 10, 2017

There are some pretty interesting events coming up that relate to evaluation, measuring social impact and data visualizations.  I would love to attend them all!


January 9-14  (Claremont, California)
The Evaluators Institute
A remarkable line-up of sessions relating to evaluation. More info

January 11 (Manitoba)
Logic Models/Visual Planning
Learn how to develop logic models. (Canadian Evaluation Society, Manitoba Chapter) More info

January 11 – February 22 (Toronto)
Infographics and Data Visualization
A short course at George Brown College....

January 3, 2017

The Social Enterprise Institute was launched last year to offer on-demand eLearning courses relating to different aspects of launching and strengthening social enterprises.  It is geared to make it easier for people to learn about topics that specifically interest them, wherever they may be, and whenever they want. 


The Institute breaks out course offerings in terms of ‘Explore’, ‘Build’ and ‘Thrive.’ ‘Explore’ is populated with courses on a practical range of topics that are essential to planning.  Fourteen courses are currently available including Opportunity Identification, Business Model Canvas, Financial Plan, and Legal Aspects.


This year, courses in ‘Build’ and ‘Thrive’ will be added that provide instruction on topics relevant to social enterprises that have been launched, such as marketing, pricing strategies, and of course, measurement!   To this end, I am currently developing four courses that will be available on the...

January 3, 2017

Seniors with complex and chronic health conditions face many challenges. Between 2012 and 2015, Green Shield Canada Foundation (GSCF) funded five health care organizations in the Toronto area to work collaboratively to address aspects of these challenges, investing more than $3 million in specific projects relating to information technology, training, and integrated home care. This was known as the 'Health Innovation Collaborative' (HIC).  Over the three years, GSCF created many opportunities for the funded organizations to work together to share their knowledge, expertise, and resources.   


Many Canadians may know Green Shield Canada as a not-for-profit insurer specializing in individual and group health and dental plans.  ...