Impact Scorecard: Harnessing the Power of Data for Maximizing Social Change

An impact scorecard is a tool that quantifies and tracks the social and environmental impacts of investments or projects.

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Impact Scorecard

Defining impact can be challenging, but at its core, it is the effect an organization has on its stakeholders and the world around it. The primary benefit of measuring impact is the ability to make data-driven decisions that maximize the effectiveness of your initiatives. However, many organizations struggle with the complex and time-consuming process of impact measurement.

Using the Social Impact Scorecard 

To use the social impact scorecard, stakeholders must first identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the initiative's goals. These KPIs are used to assess the initiative's impact across the four areas of the scorecard.

Identify your KPIs

Relevance: This area assesses whether the initiative aligns with the organization's values and goals. It also looks at whether the initiative is relevant to the target audience.

Effectiveness: This area assesses the initiative's impact on the target audience. It looks at whether the initiative has achieved its desired outcomes and whether it has made a positive impact on the community.

Efficiency: This area assesses whether the initiative has been executed cost-effectively. It looks at whether resources have been used efficiently and whether the initiative has achieved a high return on investment.

Sustainability: This area assesses the long-term impact of the initiative. It looks at whether the initiative is sustainable and whether it can continue to make a positive impact in the future.

Why use the Social Impact Scorecard 

Impact Scorecard is designed for impact ecosystem players such as enterprises, asset managers, public agencies, and nonprofits.  With Impact Scorecard organizations can - 

  • Bring everyone to the table through better impact data, story, documents, and field management notes
  • Communicate and pitch impact results effectively
  • Align results with Sustainable Development Goals, Targets, and Indicators
  • Custom Goals and Targets
  • Align with Impact Management Goals
  • Communicate key indicators and results
  • Qualitative Results Analysis - AI-driven stakeholder's voice

The Impact Scorecard serves the following purposes:

  • Communicates the social impact of Investments or Projects
  • Allow organizations to refine their Impact Strategy to meet any Social Impact goals they may have set.
  • Simply the alignment of SDG indicators with the generated Social Impact outcomes.
  • Allows comparison of Impact between similar Investments or Projects in a portfolio or comparison with industry standards or peers.
  • Communicate the risks and assumptions recorded in the Impact Strategy.
  • Allows to predict or forecast Social Impact based on the Impact Strategy put in place by an organization.
  • Managed external services model
social impact scorecard
Fig: Social Impact Scoreboard

Nonprofits Impact Scorecard

In the nonprofit sector, impact scorecards are transforming how organizations approach and evaluate their work. An exemplary case is the YWCA of San Diego County, which utilizes an impact scorecard to measure their progress in empowering women and children to break the cycle of domestic violence and homelessness.

Key Metrics and Scoring

The scorecard focuses on several key metrics:

  • Housing Stability: Measured by the percentage of clients who do not return to a shelter within a year.
  • Economic Independence: Tracked through employment rates and average income increases.
  • Well-being: Assessed through client surveys on physical and mental health.

Targets and Baseline Collaborate

Impact Cloud Impact Scorecard is more than just reporting the quantitative outcome indicators. It was designed to report the results to funders in the easiest-to-understand manner. The scorecard provides an intelligent combination of qualitative and quantitative data that intends to provide deep insights without the need for manual intervention.

Imagine collecting qualitative data from your end beneficiaries and not using it to measure the impact you are creating. Leaving out qualitative data from impact measurement creates a big gap. Impact Cloud lets you smartly combine qualitative and quantitative data. 

Impact Scorecard provides the below out-of-the-box

  • Alignment of Indicators with SDG goals and targets.
  • A quick view of targets, forecast, and actual values (including the difference between targets and actuals) for the output and outcome indicators based on the funder's preference.
  • Compare partner's results within your portfolio based on common metrics and indicators.
Example Social Impact Scorecard Aligned With SDG
Example Social Impact Scorecard Aligned With SDG

Each metric has a scoring rule, often a simple binary or scale-based measure, to reflect progress:

  • Housing Stability: 1 point for each percentage decrease in return to shelter rates.
  • Economic Independence: Points assigned based on the percentage increase in client income.
  • Well-being: Points based on improvement levels reported in surveys.

The total score from these metrics offers a comprehensive view of the organization’s impact, guiding strategy and demonstrating efficacy to stakeholders and funders​​.

CSR and the Business Value Scorecard

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scorecards are pivotal for businesses to integrate social purpose with business activities. Deloitte Consulting LLP, for instance, underscores the importance of measuring the business value of social impact efforts through six key drivers:

  • Brand Differentiation
  • Talent Attraction and Retention
  • Innovation
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Capital Access and Market Valuation

For each driver, a scorecard can track performance and guide decision-making. For example, a CSR scorecard may assign points to the level of innovation in product development that leads to market expansion and increased revenue​​.

Impact Investment Scorecard

Impact investors, such as those studied by Harvard Business School, use scorecards to navigate the investment cycle from estimation to evaluation of social impact. A well-structured impact scorecard, like the one used by Bridges Ventures, incorporates methods to measure:

  • Expected Returns: Evaluating the social return on investment (SROI).
  • Theory of Change: Mapping out the process to achieve social impact.
  • Mission Alignment: Aligning investment strategy with social and financial goals.
  • Experimental Methods: Assessing impact through randomized control trials and counterfactual analysis.

If you are working with retail investors or individual donors to fund specific investments or grantees, you can quickly prepare personalized results for their investments or grantees.  Build a strong trust relationship with the individual funder and improve the ongoing relationship.

  • Engage your retail investors or donors by sharing the impact report of their preferred investment.
  • Raise impact capital by sharing the impact scorecard on your website to align with impact goals of investors and impact organization

Build grants report and yearly reporting requirements

A typical program may have more than three programs. Each of them may depend on larger funders.   Define standardized organization metrics, core program metrics, and unique funder-specific metrics for reporting.  Align these results from the data collected, and you are done! 

Impact scorecards help these investors quantify social and financial returns, ensuring investments align with their strategic goals

Social Impact Index

The social impact index is a tool that measures the social impact of organizations and initiatives. It quantifies an organization's social impact, making it easier to track progress, set goals, and make informed decisions.

The social impact index can be used in various settings to measure the social impact of organizations and initiatives. For example, it can be used by non-profit organizations to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs to donors and stakeholders. Governments can also use it to track progress toward social and economic goals.

Use Case 1: Impact Investing

One use case of the social impact index is in impact investing. Investors can use the index to evaluate potential investments and make informed decisions based on the organization's or initiative's social impact. This can help ensure that investments are aligned with social and environmental goals and financial goals.

To develop a social impact index, it is necessary first to define the purpose of the index and the key indicators that will be used to measure social impact. For example, an organization working to reduce poverty might develop an index measuring income levels, access to education, and healthcare outcomes.

Similarly, a social impact index for an environmental organization might measure factors such as carbon emissions, renewable energy adoption, and waste reduction. By tracking these indicators over time, organizations can measure the effectiveness of their initiatives and make informed decisions to improve social impact.

Use case 2: Monitor Country or State Level Progress.

As businesses, public agencies, international development agencies, and impact investors align around sustainable development goals (SDG), it is essential to simplify SDG impact indicators aggregation. Many countries have already started to create theirs on SDG Tracker.

Examples of SDG Trackers:

  • Country-level overall SDG tracker
  • SDG Goal specific tracker
  • SDG Tracker for Public-Private Initiatives
SDG Targets & Indicators

Theme-based social impact indexes

Many impact rating organizations define standardized impact through governance, social, and environmental metrics.  While this rating-based approach allows 

How the Impact Scorecard Differs 

The Impact Scorecard does not categorize all businesses or nonprofits under the same umbrella. While the metrics used by the impact rating system may be similar, the Scorecard recognizes that social impact is sensitive to context. Therefore, every entrepreneur, business, or nonprofit should have the liberty to define their unique context and social impact outcomes. The Impact Scorecard allows for the unique definition of a program's, product's, or service's impact.

Comparing Clear Impact Scorecard

While Clear Impact and SoPact have Impact Scorecards, their purposes are distinct. SoPact is an advanced business intelligence platform that can aggregate results from short or long surveys such as the Multi Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) to compare results between multiple countries and communities. It helps organizations design proper development indexes based on impact themes such as health care, education, etc. Furthermore, it rates countries based on weight, scoring, and rating rules that can define sustainable development goal (SDG) alignment or other areas for comparison. This is particularly useful for large international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) that operate across multiple countries or have social impact index programs.

It's important to note that SoPact's Impact Scorecard is an impact measurement and management platform, while Clear Impact is self-reporting results. Clear Impact requires the calculation of results outside the platform, and the results must be entered manually. SoPact Impact Scorecard provides the concept of the theory of change, while Clear Impact has no such concept. Additionally, SoPact offers global impact indicators to help save time, whereas Clear Impact only offers custom indicators with limited reporting formats and limited qualitative and quantitative alignment. SoPact Impact Scorecard aligns with SDGs and global indicators, but Clear Impact has no concept or scope of SDG alignment. Finally, SoPact Impact Scorecard simplifies funder-level portfolio data aggregation, while Clear Impact has no such concept. Moreover, SoPact Impact Scorecard automatically integrates program data with powerful state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative analytics.


Impact Scorecard is not a traditional scorecard for reporting results.  It is the most groundbreaking approach that brings both asset managers and assets or Grantmakers and grant seekers together using collaborative impact data learning.  It allows you to aggregate predefined impact metrics. It helps aggregate due diligence documents, files, images, video, and field notes so that impact ecosystem partners can provide collaborative impact into the overall process.

In conclusion, the social impact scorecard is an essential tool that helps measure and track the effectiveness of social impact initiatives. It provides a comprehensive view of the initiative, allowing stakeholders to assess its impact and make data-driven decisions. By using the social impact scorecard, organizations can drive positive change and make a meaningful difference in the world.

Learn more: Impact Evaluation

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