Social Enterprise Incubator Series: Impact Measurement

It is so crucial for social enterprises to effectively measure and communicate their impact, and to do so, a lot of thought needs to be put into what is being evaluated and how. For this very reason, it can seem like a big beast. We worked with the entrepreneurs to try to tame it in our impact measurement workshop.


In our Social Enterprise Incubator Series, we follow 15 incredible social entrepreneurs who are leading the road to change with our Incubator Programme.

Get a glimpse into their challenges, developments and lightbulb moments as the cohort shares their experience over the 6 month programme!

Below, Joanna Rhodes, founder of Challenge 59, a project that aims to empower young people in psychosocial health through dance and film, shares her thoughts on the impact measurement session.


For many years I have held a deep sense of curiosity, as well as frustration about how we use impact measurement in the arts to evidence change, especially when working with impact for health:

  • Randomised Control Trials are looked on as the gold standard but is there room for case studies, anecdotal evidence and qualitative data? How robust can this be and with what rigour can it be carried out?
  • Short term outcomes are easier to capture than long term – Over time how do we know if a change has come about as a direct outcome of our intervention?
  • Quantititive data is considered more robust? However, I have issues with surveys for young people – what time of day did they fill it in, who did they sit next to when doing so? I have seen ‘trending’ answers go around forms – a bit like how the ‘Floss’ dance move is now trending in school playgrounds! What else happened to them that day that may have influenced their thoughts, and can questions be misinterpreted?

The Theory of Change was a really useful process. I finally realised that it was ok to just have assumptions and not already know the answers, and that the process is then about testing these!

It was good to get specific and concentrate on just one outcome (a priority) and not to get overwhelmed with the possibilities. I learnt that the rigour will be influenced by what is needed, desired and also what is practically possibly!

I have commissioned academics in evaluating Challenge 59. I am nervous about their findings and if my assumptions were right, but grateful that whatever we do find in this pilot (including the broader and unexpected outcomes) will help us to ‘pivot’ and ‘position’ ourselves for the future.


Watch this space as we share more posts by the incredible changemakers on our Incubator programme! 

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