Following the launch of our Social Value Analysis Research Report earlier in the year, Community Finance Ireland’s Chief Executive Donal Traynor discusses the findings, the impact of the multiplier effect for local communities and the importance of finding a common reporting metric across the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector in his latest Leadership Insights blog piece.
During Covid, clients across the VCSE sector saw the demands for their services escalate. While much of the typical services we participated in were closed, the need for elderly care, meals on wheels, mental health services and a vast range of what we term the caring community network were operational and needed social finance to keep those services delivering.
Our need to evaluate the social impact of our clients has always been a question for Community Finance Ireland. How do we measure social impact? How do we measure a feeling? Following the sensational resilience of our client base during and post Covid challenges, we wondered again how might we measure the social impact of what was delivered during that historic period?
Our feeling was that with the “right partners” we might just be able to establish a benchmark multiplier effect demonstrating the ancillary benefits generated to the circular economy, and therefore have the ability to genuinely tell the story of the deep and lasting impact social finance can deliver for community groups. The “right partners” turned out to be Rose Regeneration and Rural Community Network.
The approach involved harvesting a range of data from investees, using the social value engine platform and working with clients who represented local sports clubs, faith groups, social enterprises plus special needs and rescue services, among many others.
Their collective contributions helped our social enterprise establish a multiplier effect of 3.42 times our initial investment. This is a figure that is reflective of a moment in time, but one that helps us establish a benchmark to understand the real value of social finance in action.
A figure that we hope will give our whole team a target on which to continue building upon.
Over the coming weeks, we will spotlight some of the clients who helped deliver this multiplier effect. Clients such as Walkinstown Greenhills Resource Centre CLG, Sensational Kids, Fort Dunree Military Museum, Carnaross GFC, Hillside Evangelical Church and Made in Mourne, saw immediate benefits in being able to keep their services running, but also helped achieve wider improvements in:
A figure that is reflective of a moment in time, but one that helps us establish a benchmark to understand the real value of social finance in action.
And one that we hope will give our whole team a target on which to continue building upon.
Over the next while, we will spotlight some of the clients who helped deliver this multiplier effect. Clients such as Walkinstown Greenhills Resource Centre CLG, Sensational Kids, Fort Dunree, Carnaross GFC , Hillside Evangelical Church & Made in Mourne, saw immediate benefits in being able to keep their services running, but also helped achieve wider improvements in:
Local impact can be felt pretty quickly, but the wider benefits to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals, which every community across the world are working towards, are an important part of the local narrative.
Our membership with FEBEA (European Federation of Ethical and Alternatives Banks and Financiers) sees us engage in constructive conversations with wider communities across Spain, Belgium, Greece and further afield in understanding the multiplier effect across all types of social finance initiatives.
The importance of finding a common metric in reporting progress or impact continues to challenge all of us in this community. As we publish this, our first Social Value Report, my hope is to realise the streamlining of a common approach so that we can all collectively understand progress.
Whilst such a common approach may be some time away, here at Community Finance Ireland our team are now committed to investing resources into an annual Social Value Analysis, which will continue to spotlight the real value of social finance.
We are really looking forward to engaging with more clients next year and see what further benefits or improvements Community Finance Ireland can support with its service and offering.
You can read more about the importance of Social Value Analysis and the detail behind our first report here. In the meantime we continue to support and raise awareness of the value of the sector and the changemakers who work within it.
Donal Traynor Chief Executive,
Community Finance Ireland