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The ambitions and challenges of SROI (social return on investment)

Arvidon, Malin and Lyon, Fergus and McKay, Stephen and Moro, Domenico (2010) The ambitions and challenges of SROI (social return on investment). Working Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.


URL of Published Version: http://www.tsrc.ac.uk/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=QwHhaC%2br88Y%3d&tabid=500


With the growing interest in measuring the social impact of third sector activities, there have been a range of approaches developed. One of these, social return on investment (SROI) has received particular attention and is being promoted by third sector organisations, as well as public and private bodies. This paper examines this approach in detail and identifies a series of issues that require further investigation. These include technical and methodological issues related to this adjusted cost-benefit analysis such as quantifying the value of social benefits, and attribution; the judgement involved in setting indicators; whether projects deemed successful based on an SROI analysis can provide the basis for replicability and scaling up; and the ways in which SROI is being used by stakeholders. Through examining these challenges in detail, the approaches to measuring social impact can be strengthened, standardised and made more rigorous. While the issues raised here are essential to developing SROI further, they are also valid for more general discussions regarding the proving and improving of the value added by the UK third sector.

Type of Work:Monograph (Working Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Number of Pages:23
Department:Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC)

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Date:December 2010
Series/Collection Name:TSRC Working Paper Series
Keywords:Third sector, SROI (social return on investment), cost-benefit analysis, social impact, created value.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Related URLs:
Funders:Economic and Social Science Research Council, Office for Civil Society, Barrow Cadbury Trust
ID Code:788

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