Data, information and insight – understanding your impact

Heart of the City’s Director, Sarah Mitchell reflects on our recent workshop about measuring and understanding the impact of our CSR programmes.

Measuring the impact of what we do can be a big challenge for smaller businesses and for those without a dedicated CSR team, but without measuring the impact of what we do how can we know we are truly making a difference? Heart of the City’s recent impact workshop focused on the practical issues and simple tools that any business can use to measure its CSR impact.

Jennie Colville from RSA Insurance Group gave a whistle-stop, practical guide to measuring your environmental impact. She set out a realistic framework for smaller businesses to follow – demonstrating how we can all assess our baseline impact, measure our overall carbon footprint and find simple, practical ways to reduce the impact of our day-to-day work.

Measuring your impact shouldn’t take more time, energy or money than achieving the impact itself, Linz Darlington from Benefacto and Givx reminded us.  Linz outlined how firms can put impact at the centre of developing community programmes, such as volunteering, helping them to focus their effort and achieve the greatest value for the people they want to support. The Givx calculator enables firms to condense their impact into a single reportable performance indicator, which they can compare with other similar size businesses to see how they are doing compared with their peers.

Ikramul Choudhury from the City of London’s Dragon Awards team underlined the importance of demonstrating impact when applying for awards such as the Dragons. He shared some examples of good applications and demonstrated how impact wasn’t about scale but about quality.

There are refreshingly simple principles for creating and demonstrating the impact of your responsible business practice, according to Tom James from Go-Create Consultancy. Tom set out some simple guidelines for creating an engaging story about your CSR work, he also suggested some revealing questions you may wish to pose to senior people in your company, to encourage them to think about the social value of your business.

Finally, Heart of the City Newcomers OPM Group gave a brief introduction to the popular and effective theory of change model- demonstrating how you can look at your responsible business aims through the lens of what you want to achieve and set up activities and measurement tools which capture the real value of your work.

This was a busy and buzzy workshop with a lot of information to take in, so we’ve drawn together some top tips and all the slides for you and your colleagues to use back at your office.

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