SIMPLE social impact measurement tool

  • Sodagar, Babak (PI)
  • McLoughlin, Jim (CoI)
  • Kaminski, Jaime (CoI)
  • Khan, Sabina (CoI)
  • Harris, Robin (CoI)
  • Arnaudo, Gustavo (CoI)
  • McBrearty, Sinéad (CoI)

Project Details


SIMPLE is an innovative strategic approach to social impact measurement, developed by the University of Brighton in partnership with Social Enterprise London, and was used to train over 60 social enterprises in various sectors of the social economy.

The objectives of this project were to:
> develop a social impact measurement model and methodology for social enterprises
> create a social impact training programme for social enterprises
> implement a training programme.

The SIMPLE model breaks down the social impact measurement process into five accessible steps – Scope It, Map It, Track It, Tell It, Embed It. It takes social enterprises from the basics of understanding why it is important to measure impact through to integrating the results of the process into management decision-making and into the overall culture of the organisation.

Scope It
The first step involves answering fundamental questions such as what the mission of the organisation is and what objectives it needs to fulfill that mission. The Scope It stage also involves an analysis of stakeholders and considers internal and external drivers, such as economic and political factors.

Map It
The second step identifies the links between the outputs, outcomes and impacts of the social enterprise more precisely and systematically.

Track It
Step three develops the enterprise’s ability to measure its impact. It involves deciding what outcomes and impact the social enterprise will measure; designing methods and tools which the enterprise can use to gather the data it needs to measure its impact; and developing and implementing a data collection strategy.

Tell It
The fourth step concerns the organisation’s ability to report the impact it claims to have had in a clear and persuasive way, such as through graphs which show before and after scenarios.

Embed It
The final step is about ensuring the measurement process is fully integrated into the management structure of the organisation.

Key findings

The SIMPLE model has been used as a tool to design and implement social impact systems for numerous social enterprises. The training courses using the SIMPLE tool received very positive feedback. Not only have social enterprises noted the benefits of implementing the tool into their plans, but the methodology has also been transferred to other sectors:
> Community Development Finance and Social Investment
> sport
> tourism
> Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

In terms of recognition, the SIMPLE model is included in the New Economic Foundation (NEF) guide to social impact measurement, comparing it, for example, with Social Return On Investment (SROI) and Social Accounting and Audit methods.


McLoughlin, J. Kaminski, J. Sodagar, B.  Khan, S.  Harris, R.  Arnaudo, G. and McBrearty, S. (2009) A strategic approach to social impact measurement of social enterprises: The SIMPLE methodology, Social Enterprise Journal, Sept.

Effective start/end date1/09/0731/08/09


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