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Member Blog: Poland’s first SROI

Member Blog: Poland’s first SROI

NATALIA MATUSZAK 13TH JUNE 2013

I carried out an SROI analysis of an employee volunteering programme of Kompania Piwowarska (SAB Miller).

Kompania Piwowarska’s volunteers worked with 19 public benefit organisations from all over Poland, choosing where to direct one-time donations to be spent on equipment, building materials or diversions. In addition, they often renovated premises by themselves.

It was, to the best of my knowledge, the first SROI analysis done in Poland in accordance with SROI Network’s guidelines, yet it presents a promising case of SROI implementation in the private sector, especially for evaluation of CSR activities.

Adapting the tool to the new territory and to the particular situation posed several challenges. Some of them are well-known to practitioners: low budget, tight deadlines and stakeholders who are often unable to speak for themselves because they are young children, severely disabled or unavailable.

Other challenges stemmed from the nature of the projects. Each was realised by at least two entities – Kompania Piwowarska and a chosen public benefit organisation. Some outcomes were very short-lived, like the sense of improved well-being following a picnic. As far as those long-lasting are concerned, volunteers’ input often facilitated or provided basis for others’ input, e.g. renovating premises and purchasing physical therapy equipment made it possible to more patients being admitted and for the therapy to be more efficient. Still, the outcomes for the main stakeholders were step farther. These outcomes are of cyclic nature and they keep occurring and – provided the therapists’ input will be continuously present – will do so for many years to come. I decided however to be conservative and stick to 5-years period for the sake of simplicity.

Last but not least, Kompania Piwowarska wished to know the impact that the volunteering programme created, not the impact of the project as a whole. Perfectly logical from the point of view of a company seeking to rationalise its social investment, it also goes against the established practice.

To solve the problems, I relied on the concepts of deadweight and drop-off. As it turned out during in-depth interviews, the stakeholders were generally confident about estimating these two factors, knowing exactly what would have happened without Kompania’s involvement and for how long the impact would last.

Outcomes for the volunteers presented me with other surprising findings. I originally intended to assess the outcomes for volunteers as separate stakeholders for each project. During interviews it became clear that they see the outcomes as resulting from volunteering in general, even outside the company, and it was not possible to break the experience into separate events. Finally, I assessed outcomes for the as an additional project.

Although it was riddled with doubts and necessitated frequent reviews of SROI literature in order to get to the bottom of the concepts, the analysis seems to have answered the client’s requirements and hopefully will smooth the way for use of SROI in social impact measurement in private sector environment and multi-organisational projects.

 

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