The Demonstrating Value Initiative was launched two years ago to develop a performance assessment framework by and for social enterprise. Desired was a framework so practical that social enterprises would want to embed it in their operations; applicable across the many sectors, structures, and strategies in which social enterprise finds expression; yet affordable, accessible, and accurate.
The key questions were these: What information is useful to a social enterprise? Who will use the information, and how? To address them, eight social enterprises teamed up with social investment organizations to create and piloted an on-line test framework. One intriguing result was an "electronic dashboard" from which directors, investors, or the public can pull different types of data according to their need, like numbers of employees, the budget, or revenue generation.
As a result of the pilot, the framework is being refined for launch in 2009. A website (www.demonstratingvalue.org) will enable social enterprises to explore ways to track display their performance and impact. When it comes to performance assessment, social entrepreneurs must be the ones in the driver's seat.