Social Outcomes was established in 2014 in response to a global move to focusing on outcomes and social innovation, as well as rapid changes in the impact investing market in Australia and our region.
And things are certainly changing. Government funding is decreasing and the social sector is looking for ways to respond. CSR budgets in the business sector are shrinking yet the desire of companies to create meaningful shared value impact through their work is growing. Philanthropic grantmaking is becoming more focused and requiring greater clarity on the impacts created. We are seeing an overall shift towards creative partnerships that combine the core capabilities of the private, government and not-for-profit sectors, to build stronger, more resilient communities.
Impact investment capital pools are building and social innovation models are being created. At the same time, government, the social sector, and business are looking to understand how to use these new approaches, and make them work in practice. Questions such as “Should we think about a Social Impact Bond or a Payment by Outcome contract for this?“, “Should we establish a social enterprise?“, “How will we measure the outcomes?“, “How can we fund our initiative?” and “Who should we be partnering with to create shared value?” are constantly being asked.
Social Outcomes helps answer these key strategic questions and partners with organisations to test and design solutions that will work.
Social Outcomes is a for-purpose business that specialises in the design and implementation of evidence-based social impact models. We particularly focus on new social and financial innovations such as impact investing, social impact bonds and payment by outcomes contracting, shared value, social enterprise, and social procurement. Each client engagement is a carefully tailored process that may include:
Our team are all experienced practitioners who have worked for many years successfully delivering ground-breaking social innovations, using a range of social and financial innovation tools. Our ‘social impact toolbox’ includes:
Many organisations are keen to explore new working models, both those that maximise impact as well as those that will tap into new revenue streams, but don’t know where to begin. An investment readiness assessment is a review of the scope, size, and costs of the social/environmental issue you are working on, as well as the capability and business model of your organisation, to determine if there is potential for new investment.
New models may take the form of an outcomes based government contract, scaling, or a different enterprise approach. There may also be potential for new partnerships and shared value creation. The investment readiness assessment looks at the evidence base supporting the potential approaches, the quality of the outcomes generated, how those outcomes are currently measured, the market potential, the systems and processes the organisation currently has in place and what will be required to become investment ready.
The assessment will detail the various options for generating new revenue streams, with the strengths and weaknesses, risks and rewards of each. The organisation can then prioritise which option, or options, are best suited to the executive team’s and the board’s risk appetite. Social Outcomes can then work with the organisation to build a comprehensive, evidence-based, business model and a business plan to attract investors or negotiate new contracts.
Managing and measuring impact is critical in the current funding environment and a vital part to improving any organisation’s effectiveness. The size and scope of data that is available today can be overwhelming, but an impact measurement framework can still be designed so that is simple to implement. Reaching that simplicity requires a deep understanding of how positive change is being created by the organisation, and the clear focus on identifying a few simple sets of measures that convey enough information to inform stakeholders and provide insights to improve organisational practices.
We lead our client organisations through the strategic thinking process required to simplify impact measurement, and design the measurement framework, data capture mechanisms and reporting. We can also implement the system on an ongoing basis if required.
If the leadership team in your organisation is keen to explore options but needs to secure buy-in from the board before proceeding, then a board session is the right next step. We offer a one or two hour session with boards to help them understand the opportunities and risks of these innovations and answer any questions or concerns they may have.
We can also assist with pre and post board meeting planning to get the most out of the opportunity.
If this work is new for your organisation, then a capacity building training session for your leadership and/or implementing team, is the place to start. We offer one or two day training sessions which will take groups through each of the relevant innovation tools at your disposal, explain key concepts, and showcase how each works in practice with a series of local and international case studies.
In the two day workshop, we include a simulation exercise that will help groups with applying these tools to a real-life example from your own organisation.
We foster collaborative, strength-based partnerships in all our work, as appropriate. We have broad networks and partnerships across the business, investment, government, and not-for-profit sectors. We work to connect our clients with the values aligned people and programs. This includes building up a pipeline of impact investments by connecting investors with for-purpose enterprises and creating partnerships that drive shared value.