/ Eleven / by Ute Volz

Charities in competition

Is it possible to measure the success of social engagement activities? A 26-minute radio piece by “Notizbuch” on Bayern 2, broadcast on 11 October 2016, investigated the answer to this question. Two examples from the social arena as well as interviews with Phineo and the Benckiser Stiftung Zukunft demonstrate why and how impact research is necessary and makes sense. The answer to the question above is a clear “Yes”.

Scientific impact consulting in the social sector is still a rarity. The small number of internal impact orientation and scientific impact studies that are done are not widely known. So the fact that Bayern radio has done a piece on this topic is all the more welcome. For the programme “Notizbuch” (Bayern 2, Bavarian Broadcasting) on 11 October 2016, radio editor Rainer Ulbrich created a nuanced report that is well worth listening to. His conclusion: it is absolutely possible to track the impact of social interventions and their benefits to society.

The piece, entitled “Charities in competition”, uses two social organisations as examples of why and to whose benefit it is essential to track the impact of your own organisation’s activities or to find partners who will do this for you. The organisations in question are the conference and meeting facility Viva Vita in Freising, an integration project for the disabled, and Balu und Du, a Germany-wide mentoring programme for primary school children.

Based on Viva Vita and Balu und Du, opportunities and limits of selected impact research approaches are presented. For example, Philip Hoelscher from Phineo explains the analysis process he uses to check the performance capacity and impact potential of social organisations.

Pia Pinger from the Behavior and Inequality Research Institute at the University of Bonn speaks about the initial conclusions drawn from the longitudinal study of Balu und Du.

Finally, the piece moves to the SROI analysis of Balu und Du. This analysis determined the benefit the mentoring programme brings to society. As part of its focus area “scientific impact research”, the Benckiser Stiftung Zukunft provided support to the longitudinal study in Bonn as well as to the SROI analysis. Stefan Shaw explains why.

Link to programme (in German): „Wohltäter im Wettbewerb – Kann man den Erfolg sozialen Engagements messen?“