CSR is no longer just an option, but how do you do it well?
It’ll be news to nobody that ignoring social value, CSR or sustainability is not an option for businesses.
But how do you take businesses beyond a vague acknowledgement in spreadsheets? We created Impact to empower companies to pull real value from the now compulsory model that is CSR.
To do this we needed to truly understand the social and monetary value of giving back, to understand how to measure the impact of CSR initiatives across departments whilst properly engaging employees in those activities. Measuring social value can seem like an impossible mission; a thankless hunt for data caught up in silos with few quick wins in sight. But if done right, social value lifts your organisation above the crowd, both as an employer and a business.
We designed and built a system that enables organisations to collect and analyse data relating to their social impact performance. The data gathering process is quick, simple, engaging – even fun – removing the administrative burden from managers, improving employee engagement with initiatives and ultimately, supporting businesses to have a more positive impact on the environment, society and economy.
What's been captured by Impact?
£555 million of social value reported
240,000 survey responses collected
206,000 beneficiaries helped
The evolution of Impact
Since its inception in 2014, Impact has grown considerably. Starting as an internal project within Reason Digital to provide the BBC with the first digital CSR report, Impact was spun out into its own separate entity in 2018. The software itself has evolved and matured from a stand-alone tool into a complete end-to-end impact management platform.
Using the Impact platform, we can easily get a holistic view of the social impact our organisation is having and the input volunteers have on achieving our goals. Now, our managers can focus on service improvement work with live evaluation data instead of having to rely on spreadsheet-based records and paperwork.
Impact works with a number of high-profile organisations both at home and abroad from national infrastructure like Network Rail and Manchester Airport Group, to Local Authorities up and down the country, FTSE 100 businesses and smaller nonprofit organisations.
2020 saw Impact expand across the Atlantic to the US after partnering with Mailchimp to become the platform responsible for automating the capture and analysis of data relating to the beneficiaries of their Small World Changers programme.
Highlights along the way
The world’s first carbon literate University
Impact is the software that powers the University of Manchester’s 10,000 actions programme. 10,000 Actions helps every member of staff take positive action on environmental sustainability and has resulted in the university being hailed as the first ‘Carbon Literate’ university in the world.
In 2019, the University of Manchester won the IEMA sustainability award for the 10,000 actions platform, beating entries from the likes of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Keep Britain Tidy. Staff have since committed to over 26,000 actions, with over 3,500 of them completed. Positive outcomes from these actions include reduced sick days by encouraging active travel and ‘smarter driver’ training which has saved over £40,000 in staff fuel costs.
Parkrun and the pandemic
During the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, Impact worked with Parkrun to survey thousands of participants in the UK on their views about returning to running. The results were clear. The importance of a community and staying fit during the pandemic ultimately led to the return of Parkruns in England. We continue to work closely with Parkrun, utilising Impact’s survey features to collect feedback from tens of thousands of runners internationally, every month.
Advising Government on the Social Value Act
A new Government procurement model which builds on the already existing Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requires government organisations procuring for services to take a more holistic and quality approach towards the assessment of economic, social, and environmental well-being in their projects.
The new measures still require bidders to commit to a level of social value as part of the project, but they now also need to show HOW they will achieve it, preventing a ‘race to the bottom’ approach or a number of arbitrary numbers on a spreadsheet that don’t translate in the real world. The new procurement model provides a standardised approach and ensures suppliers can be held accountable and commissioners can assess based on the wider positive benefits they bring to the table – beyond cost alone.
This meant a lot to us here at Impact, as we were heavily involved in advising the government of their new approach. Our hope is that this change will provide greater social value while also levelling the playing field for smaller businesses. Everyone is assessed in the same way, meaning everyone has the opportunity to show how they will support COVID-19 recovery, tackle economic inequality, fight climate change, and improve the local community.
The CSR challenges that Impact solves
Way back in 2014, we believed that the way organisations account for their social and environmental initiatives was clunky and that there were better solutions – so, we built them.
Data loss is only a matter of time
Mistakes happen: emails forget to be sent, outcomes aren’t recorded correctly, papers get lost or surveys end up in junk. Without accurate and timely data being captured, your impact is stalling.
Manual processes are time-consuming (and boring)
Automating repetitive processes like activity logging, data-entry, surveying and reporting, can save hours each day, meaning you can do more of the work that matters!
Spreadsheets don’t tell the story
Delivering Social Impact and purpose is all about changing communities for the better, but numbers on a spreadsheet don’t identify the human element or how or what has changed as a result of your actions. For that, you need qualitative insight, which a spreadsheet can’t tell you.
Getting the right data, quicker, lets you work faster!
Impact lets you and your clients work smart, not harder. With an array of data filtering and reporting features for you and a sleek, simplified way of logging initiatives and activities for your clients.
Collect all the information you need, in seconds
Instead of going through pages of emails and filtering rows of spreadsheets to get the data you want, in just a few clicks, Impact gives you what you need in a read-made array of charts, graphs and percentages.
Our experience with Impact has been incredibly positive. The team are always helpful, and quick to respond to any questions or queries we might have. The process of setting up the digital feedback form, creating individual Library accounts and uploading the large amount of customer feedback contained within our previous database was managed very smoothly.
The team at Impact is trying to influence change on a whole-system level. Whereby Impact is used as the main data-collection and measurement platform for purpose-led initiatives, with the reports it provides being used to create better places to live, work and socialise, more environmental and sustainable focused businesses, and an overall reduction in inequalities.
Impact provides everything organisations need to deliver better outcomes to individuals, communities and the planet. The measurement and reporting platform helps you help society by generating more social impact and extracting more social value from your purpose led-initiatives.