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September 2013

Dear friend

Welcome to your monthly news snapshot from the Social Impact Analysts Association. This month we have a big conference announcement for you!

Beyond Measurement: Registration is now open for our annual conference!

We are very excited to announce that registration is now open for Beyond Measurement, our 2013 annual conference on the 10th December in Cergy-Pontoise, France.

As interest grows in the field of social impact analysis it is more important than ever to understand that measurement, metrics and indicators are just one part of a larger picture that analysts need to consider.

Join us for an interactive one day conference that will include:

  • Workshops: Providing in-depth discussions on the key challenges and opportunities in the field of social impact analysis.
  • Hotspots: A world café style exchange of case studies, research findings, advice surgeries, and project updates.
  • Networking: Meet, learn from, and share with those working in social impact analysis internationally.

Find out more and register for tickets here!

SIAA Members are eligible for a 30% discount on tickets. If you are a SIAA member please contact us at to get your discount code.


Trending Topic: Which comes first - the indicator or the tool?

SIAA Member Dawn Wood discusses the benefits and challenges of using off-the-shelf monitoring tools:

Here’s a conundrum I’ve been coming across recently, fuelled by rising awareness of off-the-shelf monitoring tools. It is all about setting indicators and identifying data gathering tools – and the occasions when these two merge!

After running courses on Demonstrating Outcomes for several years, my impression is that people are now much more comfortable with the concept of outcomes versus outputs than they were a few years ago. However the interpretation and usage of indicators is still quite variable.

My approach has always been that once the outcomes are articulated, then clients need to consider what indicators will tell them whether they are being achieved. After that we look for tools that can collect the data. For example, if the outcome is reduced social isolation, then there are a range of indicators that might be appropriate, from whether they have someone to talk to about day to day problems, to the number of occasions people attend community groups and activities in a month.

Once we know what indicator we want to measure, we can select the most appropriate tool that will help us to gather the data in ways which provide both quantitative information as well as qualitative insights – in this case around participation and enjoyment of the community group attended – not just physically being present!

However, there are many off-the-shelf-tools where others have already done the work for us. They come with a ready-made set of indicators, which can save clients time and trouble producing their own. So I’m finding that some clients are fast forwarding the process – picking a psychological scale for loneliness, or adopting one of the outcomes stars and getting started, with less concern for the specific indicators involved.

So, my question is, does it matter? Read on >>

Opportunity for Experienced Researcher

The SIAA Social Investment Working Group (SIAA-SIWG) is an international group of SIAA members aiming to advance social impact analysis as practiced in the field of social investment.

The SIAA-SIWG is looking for an experienced researcher to survery current impact measurement practices. A full job description and application details are available here.

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