Social impact measurement is mission critical for many nonprofits. With clearer, more reliable data, organizations can secure increased funding, and engage board members, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders – while also freeing up resources to continue their important work. Mission Edge commenced its outcomes measurement journey with the help of Socialsuite - and they haven’t looked back since.
The Socialsuite solution is affordable and helps us to measure our impact but most importantly, the Socialsuite team is knowledgeable and down to earth. They genuinely care and want us to be successful
The not-for-profit sector, also known as the community or third sector is one that is diverse, centred on improving community well-being, supported by philanthropy for those in the community. It’s also an industry that is under-resourced. This creates a huge challenge - how do you grow and scale when you don’t have the tools or people to measure your impact?
For Mission Edge, that was a question worth answering. According to the National Center on Charitable Statistics, approximately 30% of nonprofits fail to exist after 10 years due to various reasons including poor accounting and planning, one of the problems that Mission Edge is trying to solve. Mission Edge helps small business owners in San Diego with access to financial knowledge and expertise so that they can create a more sustainable business that’s here for the long term, including strategies such as paying themselves a liveable wage.
In addition to the operational services, the organization also operates an Impact Lab designed to help small business owners to develop sustainable business models and scale their operations. The Impact Lab is partially funded by the core work of Mission Edge, enabling the team to give back to the community of entrepreneurs.
In order to help more small business owners create financial stability, the team at Mission Edge realized that they needed a metrics-driven approach to quantify and prove the success of their program. The team needed more than just hope.
As Kacie Brennell, Director of Impact Lab, remarks, “hope is not a strategy.” However, impact measurement can be challenging if you’re doing it alone. For many nonprofits, including Mission Edge, impact measurement started off in Google Sheets - a great way to capture data for a baseline, however, not very effective to quantify impact. Pair that with a slew of post-it notes and there’s room for human error in measurement.
Impact reporting is an essential part of operations for NGOs, not-for-profits and their funders. However, it can be a complicated and time-consuming task that takes resources away from an organization’s key focus. Often more than not, employees at nonprofits are already wearing multiple hats. Research suggests 29% of organizations measure impact effectively, while 76% would like to.
To overcome this, Mission Edge decided to conduct a procurement process to find the right partner. They wanted a partner that was experienced with the nonprofit sector, had a technology solution built for social impact measurement and simple to use. After a thorough evaluation of three different solutions, the team decided on Socialsuite.
As Mission Edge began onboarding, Kacie realized that there was more to Socialsuite than just the technology. Socialsuite’s social impact platform harnesses technology to make the task easier and the outcomes more informative. But when paired with success onboarding coaching, Mission Edge had the ability to build the organization framework with the help of Socialsuite’s tailored impact coaching and expertise.
Socialsuite’s impact coach, Hadil Al-Ashwal, partnered with Mission Edge every step of the way from:
• How to ask and reframe questions in order to gather valuable, measurable data
• The value and importance of measuring change through outcomes, not outputs
• Helping problem solve and organize the work required
• Thought leadership and expertise in social impact measurement
Mission Edge went from start to visualizing their impact in real-time within four months and automating a lot of their work.
With Socialsuite, the team:
• Built the capacity to create their outcome framework
• Built the capacity to create impact measurement surveys within Socialsuite that can be independently scaled for future projects
• Created a centralized system to collect data from its beneficiaries automatically and at different time points
• Visualized the impact that three of their programs are making as they continue progress in one dashboard
• Could automatically calculate the delta between points in time to see the changes