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Social Impact Metrics - 10 Basic things to know


Please feel free to update this document and share basic info about Social Impact Metrics.


Software experts in SAP joined the SAP Social Sabbatical Program in 2015. We did not have any background for the Social Enterprise sector and worked for a Social Incubator NGO/NPO. Let us share some basic things we have learned about Social Impact Metrics.

1. Theory of Change

The "Theory of Change" is like making a roadmap that outlines the steps by which you plan to achieve your goals. It is the foundation for the social impact metrics.
Watch the video and if you want to learn more, visit the web site and read the documents.

Video: (4 mins)  Theory of Change

Web site:           DIY: Development Impact & You - Theory of Change


Tool:                   Theory of Change Template

2. Process Guide

There are many guides that are available in the web.

We have followed the "Building a Performance Measurement System" guide.

3. Profit Model - FP and NFP

The first thing you need to do is to identify the profit model for the organization.

FP: For-Profit

NFP: Not-For-Profit

Hybrid: Combination of FP and NFP

4. Sectors

The challenge is currently there is no industry standard sector definition. It makes it difficult to compare with other NGO/NPO and to define sector specific metrics.


Agriculture, Education, Energy, Environment, Financial services: Microfinance, Financial services: Micro insurance, Health, Housing/ community development, Land conservation, Water

5. IRIS: Global Impact Investing Network - A Metrics Catalog

IRIS is the catalog of generally-accepted performance metrics that leading impact investors use to measure social impacts.

Reference: Metrics Catalog

6. Sector specific metrics

Some examples:

7. PPI: Progress out of Property Index

Another challenge is defining low income level. For example, "School Enrollment: Very Poor ". Is it for family income level or individual income level? Is it same level with other countries or other regions? PPI gives a guide for addressing those questions.

The Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) is a poverty measurement tool for organizations and businesses with a mission to serve the poor.

8. Data collection

Some tips for collecting data. Collecting process should be easy, simple and sustainable.

9. External Reports

Here are some examples for external reports.

10. New trend: Story Telling and Visualizing Reports

Telling success stories and visualizing data are good ways for presenting the social impacts.

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