Key Points

In search of a suitable method to measure the social impact of its programs after five years in operation, the Bucharest Community Foundation turned to social return on investment (SROI) analysis to determine the social value produced by one of its grants programs. The internationally recognized method measures the social, environmental, and economic impact of a project or program, quantifiably analyzes outcomes from the perspective of stakeholders, and assigns a monetary value to those outcomes. Assigning a monetary value to a project outcome may help the project team, donors, and the impacted community to evaluate its benefits in comparison with the initial investment the project.

With the help of its evaluation partner, CSR BootIQ, the foundation analyzed five innovative urban design and green technology projects it funded through Mobilizing Excellence, the corporate responsibility program the foundation established with Porsche Romania.

The foundation wanted to determine if and how SROI analysis, a method relatively unknown in Romania, can be a useful tool to systematically assess the social impact and value of programs funded by community foundations. This article discusses the results of the evaluation and shares lessons learned.

Open Access