Porpoise Blog

Measuring Social Impact

23-Jul-2018 3:04:05 PM / by Caleb Dow

Companies measure just about everything. We use financial statements to measure financial performance, we measure turnover, we measure social media impressions, click through rates, attendance rates, customer retention and the list goes on. Why do we measure things? Usually we have a goal that we’ve set, and then measure actual performance against this goal. 

We only set goals for things we care about, and therefore only measure what’s important to us.

So why don’t organizations measure their giving and other metrics associated with Corporate Social Responsibility? When you compare your giving metrics to your financial performance metrics it can yield some fantastic results. For instance, Unilever has discovered that their purpose oriented brands are growing 30% faster than their other brands. 

Its been proven that the highest performing companies measure something beyond financial performance. Grant Thornton found that 70.5% of high growth companies have a clearly defined non-financial purpose.

So where do you start?

Start by discovering what your people care about. What are the shared values within your organization? What are the causes that the people within your organization want to support? Ideally you will take this information and develop a program that is flexible enough to support the causes your employees are already supporting in the community.

Next, set a goal. You can use the first year of measurement to determine a benchmark metric of what your organization is currently achieving. Then in year two and beyond, create goals that push these metrics to new heights. For example, in 2015 Clif Bar volunteered over 10,000 hours as a company, so in 2016, they created a company wide goal of 11,440. In 2014, Groupon set a goal of 10,000 hours, which they surpassed easily, volunteering a total of 14,335 hours!

Finally, measure performance. How many products or services have you donated? How many hours of your people’s time has been contributed? How many organizations have you supported? How many people were involved in the programs. Its really motivating, impressive, and inspiring to see the impact created by several small actions created by an organizations people. For example, in 2015, Salesforce achieved the milestone of 1 million volunteer hours. That’s the equivalent of volunteering 365 days per year, 24/7 for 114 years nonstop.

You may choose to offer incentives for employees who participate in these programs, or just allow the sense of purpose and act of giving to work its magic. Either way, if you care about the sustainability of your organization, and the impact you’re generating, it’s time to start measuring. Remember, a sense of purpose drives the people that drive your profits. With Porpoise, you can spend less time managing engagement and community programs, and more time accelerating and amplifying their impact. We’re on a journey to solve the world’s greatest challenges with our clients. Want to join us? Let’s chat.


Topics: Volunteering, Corporate Social Responsibility, Employee Engagement

Caleb Dow

Written by Caleb Dow