How to start measuring the impact of your business to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
By Rabayl Mirza, Impact Management Specialist at the Business Call to Action
Impact measurement can be challenging if you have never done it before and don’t know where to start. Even the savviest professionals sometimes find it hard to choose between various tools, methodologies and frameworks available. Truth is, knowing what impact you’re making doesn’t have to be complicated. We have identified a few simple things anyone can do to kickstart impact measurement:
1. Write down your goals and put them up so you can refer to them every day. Having specific, measurable goals visible serves as a daily reminder to you and your team about what you’re working towards. Integrating your goals with the Sustainable Development Goals as a first step is a practical way to chart your progress towards the global agenda.
2. Define your beneficiaries. Saying your project helps women and children is not enough. Identifying the exact demographic and profile is a critical step towards quantifying impact. It is especially important to get feedback on your impact from your beneficiaries and to not make any assumptions. L’Occitane, an inclusive business, worked with BCtA as part of the BIMS (BCtA Impact Measurement Services) to learn more about the women farmers they source their shea butter from. The specific insights emerging from that process about the needs of their beneficiaries helped them make their engagement more impactful. Read their case study.
3. Give yourself a deadline. Breaking down targets into short term and long term is valuable so you can keep track of progress over time and know what needs to be prioritized. Aligning your targets with the SDG targets positions your efforts globally and helps communicate your impact clearly to your stakeholders.
4. Find out what your peers are doing. Research similar business models, get in touch with relevant experts in the field, and apply best practices where appropriate. The BIMS case studies, for example, represent a great source of information about the impact measurement journey of 21 inclusive businesses.
5. Sign-up for the Lab! The Business Call to Action has developed an online lab, which takes you through 4 integrated modules to assess your readiness for impact measurement, define your goals and plans, monitor your impact data, and finally, analyze impact data and report your results. Signing up takes a minute and you can keep coming back to refine, review and update your impact measurement plans.