Social Impact

It is important that you measure and report your social impact. Not only if you are considering applying to Big Potential, but also so you can explain and demonstrate the changes you are trying to make.

Your Big Potential application & social impact

If you decide to apply for a grant from Big Potential (at either Breakthrough or Advanced stage) we will ask you about the social impact your organisation makes and how it is measured. For example, we will want to know about:

  • Your mission - what are you trying to change?
  • Your beneficiaries - how have their lives changed as a result of your services?
  • Your evidence - how do you know that this has happened? And how do you keep track of it?
  • Your wider benefit – what else does your service deliver to the wider community?

We will also want to understand how a grant from Big Potential, and the ambition you are working towards will help you to increase the impact you are having.

Finding information on social impact

Being asked about your social impact can seem daunting. However, help and guidance is available.  A good place to start is the Big Society Capital Outcomes Matrix

This is a free and downloadable practical tool which helps organisations plan and measure their social impact. It will also help you understand your outcomes and how you measure them. 

Outcomes are changes you want to achieve for your beneficiaries and measuring social impact is the process of gathering information in order to demonstrate those changes. The tool includes outcomes and measures for nine different outcome areas and 15 beneficiary groups. 

It is a great starting point to help you consider the social impact you are trying to deliver and how you might measure it. By using the tool you can create your own unique Outcomes Matrix. 

Other support

The Big Society Capital Outcomes Matrix is just one methodology for measuring impact, and is useful for lots of different types of organisations. However, other methods measure social impact in different ways. 

It does not matter which method you use to support your Big Potential application – you need to use the right one for you. The key is that it helps you track and give evidence of the social impact you make. You can get more information on social impact from:

Inspiring Impact - a UK-wide collaborative programme working to with the charity sector to help organisations know what to measure and how to measure 

Global Value Exchange - a free and easy-to-use tool made to help you understand the value you create. 

New Philanthropy Capital - NPC are passionate about impact measurement and have produced lots of resources on the subject. 

Social Value UK - the national network for anyone interested in social value and social impact

Outcomes Star - an evidence based tool for supporting and measuring change