SEEE asked John lanagan, Learning and Enterprise Manager at Museum of East Anglia Life about his Social Return on Investment Experience.
How did you find your SROI experience?
The SROI process can be quite resource intensive as it needs to be carried out thoroughly for the results to be valid and credible. It is important to have the right skills and capacity available within your organisation or be able to source them externally. We were lucky enough to secure some funding from the New Economics Foundation to bring in an external consultant to help guide us through the process for the first time. It is not a process to undertake lightly. However, having carried out the process we can see some clear benefits from using it. It has provided us with clear evidence of the social benefits provided by our work based learning programmes for disadvantaged groups, as well as useful learning as to where we should focus and prioritise to improve our programmes. For example, it highlighted that we need to focus more on developing onward progression routes for
How have been able to use it to help your organisation?
As mentioned earlier, the SROI study has provided useful pointers as to how we can improve our programmes and deliver even more value. It has also been a useful 'tool' in providing evidence to our stakeholders of our value to the local community, particularly to the local authorities who provide an element of our revenue funding. The SROI clearly demonstrates that we are more than just a museum and tourist attraction and that we truly bring about social change and community benefit. We can also use this evidence in funding and contract bids. Funders and contracting bodies are increasingly looking for evidence of impact and benefit but are sometimes unclear themselves how to measure some of the 'softer' outcomes. We can demonstrate that we have experience in this area.
Would you do it again?
Yes, for specific projects where we feel the need to evidence the benefits of our work or where it is a requirement of a contract. However, we would plan and resource for this upfront as part of the project, which would enable easier data gathering. The previous SROI study was retrospective, which made data gathering more difficult.
Museum of East Anglia life the SROI reports can be found at
This article was featured in Spring 2013 In Touch with Social Enterprise magazine