Meso level Social Impact: Meaningful Indicators of Community Contribution

Melissa Edwards
Jenny Onyx
Hazel Maxwell
Simon Darcy


Social impact measures are not widely agreed, nor implemented by third sector organisations. Meso level indicators of social impact are underdeveloped. Financialised methods such as Social Return on Investment can only account for direct outcomes of defined programs and activities. The broader societal impacts of any such activities are undervalued. This paper outlines the findings of a grounded theoretical approach to determining measures of social impact within a large Australian iconic third sector organisation. Several key factors revealed in this study are discussed in regards to their potential for attributing social impact to organisational activities outside of a program specific outcome. Based on these findings the paper concludes that the development of a tool to measure meso level organisational social impact of third sector organisations may be attainable.

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