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Common Impact Releases Insights & Impact 2020: Measuring the Social Impact of Volunteerism

By Common Impact | October 8, 2020

Report, in partnership with True Impact, defines how to develop and measure high-leverage volunteer projects

BROOKLYN, NY, October 8, 2020 – New methods of measuring volunteerism can more accurately capture and strengthen the value of volunteer hours, according to a new report from Common Impact, a national nonprofit and leader in skills-based volunteerism.

Insights & Impact 2020: Measuring the Social Impact of Volunteerism, developed in partnership with the social sector measurement experts at True Impact, describes new ways to calculate the value of volunteer time. These approaches rely on data from Independent Sector and from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report also provides guidance on aligning volunteer activities with participant skill sets in order to maximize impact. With this new framework, volunteer groups can better demonstrate that their efforts build a nonprofit’s capacity to increase the number of people they house, feed, or otherwise serve.

The public, private, and social sectors have long struggled with the complexity of measuring volunteer impact, often relying on outputs – such as volunteer hours, number of nonprofits engaged, and event satisfaction – rather than outcomes that speak to long-term social change and nonprofit mission delivery. Recognizing that this approach does not demonstrate the real value volunteerism – particularly skilled volunteerism – can provide for communities, Common Impact and True Impact joined their volunteerism and measurement expertise to offer a practical guide for companies and organizations that want to more effectively measure social impact. Download the Insights & Impact report to understand:

  • The social value of volunteer efforts relative to a nonprofit’s overall impact;
  • The net improvement in successful outcomes that are a direct result of a volunteer time;
  • The greater social value of a strategic volunteer engagement;
  • Which measurement approach is most suitable for a particular project;
  • How to apply these volunteer impact measurement concepts before a project takes place in order to maximize its success.

Included in the report is a case study on a skills-based volunteering project with YWCA of Brooklyn that brings these concepts to life.

“With the measurement approach in this year’s Insights & Impact report, we’re providing an alternative to the outdated and often incomplete ways so many of us in the sector have calculated impact before. These concepts of contribution, attribution, and leverage will guide nonprofits, companies, and individuals to design more strategic and effective volunteer programs and better tell the stories of these programs. We hope the result will be traditional and skilled volunteering projects that deliver greater nonprofit capacity building and stronger long-term community outcomes,” says Danielle Holly, CEO of Common Impact.

The report is designed to support professionals across sectors in demonstrating the value of volunteering, particularly skills-based volunteering, which can actually generate multiple times the social value of traditional hands-on volunteerism by aligning volunteers’ specialized professional skills with corresponding nonprofit needs and focusing on strengthening nonprofit capacity. Nonprofit leaders can use the impact measurement methodology in the report to make the case for skills-based volunteer programs to their Boards, donors, and potential corporate partners. Companies can utilize it to gain leadership support for pro bono initiatives, promote opportunities among employees, and incorporate quantifiable data on their service efforts into their annual CSR reports.

“Everyone talks about the importance of impact measurement, yet few apply it to their volunteer programs,” says Farron Levy, Founder & CEO of True Impact. “Going beyond outputs to capture impact – how peoples’ lives are improved as a result of these programs – is key to demonstrating the value of your volunteerism and continuously improving it. The Insights & Impact report provides practical guidance to help you do just that.”

Access Insights & Impact 2020: Measuring the Social Impact of Volunteerism today and register for our November 12 webinar with Common Impact’s Danielle Holly and True Impact’s Farron Levy to learn more about the framework outlined in the report.

About Common Impact
Common Impact is a national nonprofit that works to build a society in which individuals and businesses invest their unique talents towards a shared purpose: strengthening the local communities in which we live and work. Founded in 2000, Common Impact has partnered with Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of the country’s leading nonprofit organizations to create transformational change through skills-based volunteering. Learn more about Common Impact’s servicesimpact, and clients.

About True Impact
True Impact is a web-based measurement tool and benchmarking network for the charitable sector. Donors and nonprofits use True Impact to measure the social impact of their grants, volunteerism, and other philanthropic investments, to demonstrate success and identify opportunities for improvement.