Demonstrating Value Blog

May 28, 2014

In the world of social finance and philanthropy  we are focused on unlocking the key to ‘measuring impact’.  Should we actually be more focused on 'measuring value'?  You may guess from our name that we are a little biased to the latter!


Of course we do want to understand impact, but I think it would also help us to adopt more of a value focus.  'Value' is, according to the Oxford Dictionary, "the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something."  It inherently incompasses impact, but means much more.  If the organization you worked for, or that you invested in, were to dissapear tomorrow, what would be missed?  It's value is not only it's social and/or environmental impact but what what it means to the people that work there, its financial value, the value of its...

May 28, 2014

Since Demonstrating Value was launched, many community-based organizations have developed performance snapshots. The examples on our website have not kept up!   I've recently added four new ones that show snapshots for organizations working in different impact areas including environmental, local food and health. Click on any of the images below to see the snapshots in more detail.


April 30, 2014

Clearsky Retreat Centre, a social enteprise in British Columbia's beautiful Kootenays region, recently developed a performance snapshot of  the centre's grassland restoration project.   You can see there snapshot here   I recently received a review of their experience in using DV tools from Catherine Pawasarat, which is printed below.


For more information about this inspiring centre, follow this link:  Clearsky Retreat Centre.  



Training in Demonstrating Value: A Review

By Catherine Pawasarat

April 29, 2014

When it comes to tracking the  business success of a social enterprise, it’s important to focus in on indicators that are truly important and directly useful to the decisions that you need to make.    When any small business gets off the ground, there is a constant process of evolution in which you are evaluating success and revising what you do  informally, with support from financial tracking and intuition.   But at a certain point, it can be really useful to get more systematic about tracking and analyzing data that can give you more insight into the health of the business and where you need to go next. This is particularly the case when:

  • You are growing and no longer can keep everything in your head.
  • You need to focus a team of people on building the business.
  • You want to engage...
March 27, 2014

When it comes to measuring impact it can be daunting to work out what's tangible and practical to do. You need to be able to think through how your work touches the lives of individuals and the community, and then focus in on measuring what will give you the biggest benefit. This is evidence that would help you fine tune your programs, as well as pieces of information that can support what you communicate.


Asking simply 'what you want to know and show' about your impact is a great way to get at what's important. There are also some other simple exercises that can go further to tease out why you matter.  Chose the one(s) that fit for your organization.You can:


  •  Brainstorm how you...
March 27, 2014

Many years ago, I sketched out a visualization of how social and environmental impacts interelate as a living tree.  It helped me think about how diverse impacts can be closely connected, especially in how individual well-being connects with community well-being and the environment.  People I showed it to liked how it made them think about impacts that they wouldn't otherwise associate with their work.  Today I have made that sketch into a more legible drawing using Paint.! Not the most high end graphic design program, I know, but it no longer resides in a folder near my desk.   Each impact area also has many dimensions to explore which are already part of the Impact Mapping Worksheet and are listed below.  


How to use the...

February 27, 2014

February 28 (Vancouver)
Demonstrating Value - Farmers Market Impact Toolkit 
Annie Lambla, who developed the Farmers' Market Impact Toolkit, will present a hands-on morning workshop for Farmers' markets to learn how to use the toolkit.  Held as part of the BC Farmers' Market Association Annual Conference and AGM.
For more info,
click here

March 17th 12 noon ET (Teleconference)

February 26, 2014

Foodies take note! If you enjoyed reading about the Farmers Market Impact Toolkit and what we learned from it, here is an opportunity to explore the potential for your own food-related impact measurement project. On March 19 Junxion Strategy is presenting a Demonstrating Value workshop for funders and investors in local food and the organizations they love. This may be of direct interest to you, or perhaps to other foodies it in your networks.

Here is the summary from the event registration page:                                           

“Do you fund projects or organizations in the local food sector in British...

February 24, 2014


I keep seeing clever infographs everywhere: when I open a newspaper, browse Facebook, check my e-mail. They tell me the fast facts of the matter, show me road maps and timelines and show at a glance what I should learn and why I should care. (Google 'infographic' in Google Images for a curious serendipitous glimpse of the world!)  For the most part, they are a pretty fun way to share information at a glance, and are an anecdote to marketing copy and twitter in which too much content is reduced to a catch phrase.   They are perfect for showcasing the story and impact of your organization – essentially communicating key elements of a Performance Snapshot to a public audience. 


Along with the this blossoming of...

February 6, 2014


Social enterprises that provide meaningful work and training to people with barriers to employment create significant community value.  They are also complex business to run! In working with many such enterprises over the years, I've seen how managers strive to both create meaning social impact and build successful businesses, often in an environment where they have complex relationships and demands (to funders and 'parent' non profits) that wouldn't exist for a comparable small business. There is a compelling need to build systems early on that can provide clarity around what success looks like in multiple dimensions and which makes it easier to communicate value to attract more investment and support. 


These demands set the stage for Demonstrating Value's development. While DV's framework and tools aren't limited to employment-based social enterprises, there are a number of resources that are specifically geared to this type of enterprise.  In this blog I...