How to Measure the Impact of Social Wellbeing
Wellbeing encompasses a mix of emotional, physical and social factors. The latter is what links to social wellbeing, which plays a crucial role in a person and community’s overall welfare.
Social wellbeing also has the power to unite people and influence positive changes in society - something that many philanthropists and charities seek to achieve. But how is this done? And how is the success of this measured?
Let’s take a closer look at the term and how the impact of social wellbeing can be measured.
What is Social Wellbeing?
Social wellbeing relates to the sense of belonging to a community and contributing to society. Through participation, it makes people feel valued and connected to a wider social environment. This is usually achieved in communities where people share a commonality, such as a neighbourhood, ethnic backgrounds, passions and/or interests.
There are many reasons why this is important: surrounding yourself with a social network increases your self-esteem. Social wellness enables you to create boundaries that encourage communication, trust, and even conflict management. Having good social wellness is critical to building emotional resilience.
This resilience can unlock great value when shared amongst other like-minded people, something that charitable organisations aim to foster to make a positive difference for their cause. But how can they tell what impact they are making? Let’s take a look at the ways social wellbeing can be measured…
Measuring the Impact of Social Wellbeing
Determining the effects of social wellbeing can be a challenge, as it can take a long time to notice significant changes without the right tools or techniques in place to track these..
But with the right methods, wellbeing can be measured effectively and accurately. Let’s take a look at some of the ways this can be done:
Social Return on Investment
Social return on investment (SROI) is a way of measuring values that are not traditionally reflected in financial statements. These include social, economic and environmental factors.
They can identify how effectively an organisation uses its capital and resources to create value for the community. In traditional senses, a cost-benefit analysis is normally used - but with SROI, it is used to evaluate the progress of certain developments, showing both the financial and social impact the organisation can have.
SROI is useful because it can increase understanding of the organisation’s effect on the community, and allow for better communication regarding the value the work brings to beneficiaries, volunteers, staff and stakeholders. It can also improve project management through better planning, strategising, implementation and evaluation.
A questionnaire is one simple way to measure social wellbeing. As you can tailor your questions to reflect the findings you need, you can delve deeper into the exact factors that you want to investigate to get a better idea of what impact your organisation or project is having.
You can also find out how to compare your results against the national, regional or local averages, which can provide a benchmark for meet and improve upon.
By developing your own social wellbeing survey, and linking your findings to data you have already collected - you’ll understand your full impact on people’s wellbeing. You’ll also find out what works to improve wellbeing and why.
Because wellbeing is so personal, it is sometimes best to approach and assess the community in a face-to-face setting.
While wellbeing can be measured by looking at observable factors (like statistics on the rise of signups for a club for example), factors that are subjective to the person experiencing them - like how safe they feel - are also crucial to consider.
This is because achieving an organisational objective is only one facet of a complex mission. They may hope to improve wellbeing, but they may also make people’s wellbeing decrease - even while achieving a particular aim.
For example: if a family is continuously moved between temporary housing, they will still be considered to be ‘in housing’. However, the benefits of having a place to live may be undermined by the stress and uncertainty of constantly moving, such as the inability of children to have stable schooling or friendships, and the lack of connection to the local area. Just measuring a family’s housing situation is not going to provide a full picture of their wellbeing.
The best way to learn these insights is by having a face-to-face conversation with the community.
Social Impact Analysts
Sourcing a social impact analyst is another way of gaining further insight into social wellbeing without the hassle.
At S3 Solutions, we are a professional team of experienced researchers, social impact analysts and economic consultants. Our team includes individuals with specialisms in legal, business and community development. We also have backgrounds in local authorities, community development, peacebuilding, sport, health and wellbeing, as well as women and youth.
When it comes to measuring social wellbeing, our team of trained evaluation and impact measurement consultants use a range of economic and financial valuation tools. These include outcomes-based accountability, the logic model, and many others to evaluate projects. We also support clients to measure their impact and report their value in financial terms using social return on investment methodology.
Measuring wellbeing can help create a bigger picture, and show you the wider impact you have on the people and communities you support. If organisations use consistent measures and assess their results accurately, they can start to identify strengths and formulate strategies to reflect what really works.
For more information on our services and how we can help you measure the impact of social wellbeing, get in touch with the S3 Solutions team today.