How to quantify social impact?

image courtesy AVPN

By Stacey Choe

How can we measure social impact? How do we put a number to social impact? Those were the questions on the minds of participants to AVPN’s recent workshop on social impact measurement, conducted by Marlon van Dijk of Social e-valuator. The series of workshops travelled from Mumbai, to Singapore, Beijing and Hong Kong in July. The concerns and queries in each city were largely the same, as representatives from foundations, corporate and government agencies all came together to find out if they could better assess their projects. They learnt about moving beyond measuring outputs to the more complicated step of defining and measuring outcomes.

Some felt that the methodology was still too subjective, many asked for an industry-wide benchmark to standardise measurements, but most were glad for a framework that was systematic, structured, and which provided a baseline for internal comparison. The reality that measuring impact is still a relatively new phenomenon meant that there is still insufficient data available to develop standards. However, the enthusiasm of the participants showed that the market was definitely eager to move beyond checking off outputs, and to truly understand the wider social impact of their work.

To contact Marlon or to learn more about the Social e-valuator tool and to ask for your free 30-day trial, please email:

For the presentation materials from the workshop, please visit the AVPN website. To attend future AVPN events and training, please visit:

Stacey Choe is Membership Services Manager for the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network.

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