Wellbeing Valuation is an established lightweight framework for measuring social impact. This converts outcomes into monetary values based on how much they increase individual well-being.

The approach works through the analysis of large national datasets. Sophisticated statistical analysis is used to isolate the effect of specific factors on individual wellbeing. To do this we must input data into Wellbeing Valuation Calculators including the cost of the project, number of people involved, their ages, what they achieve as a result of participating. This information is then analyzed to calculate the social value of a project.

Here are three simple steps to get you started:

  • Plan for Success. Create a roadmap for measuring your financial and social impact
  • Set Program goals and metrics. Start with the question, “what does success look like?” Clarify quantifiable outcomes or metrics that can be easily measured on a routine basis.
  • Report Out. Impact is irrelevant if no one knows about it, so be sure to share updates with both stats and stories internally (i.e. board/staff meetings) and externally (i.e. newsletters, social media, blogs, annual reports, etc.)


8.1.1     How to measure social impact

  • Identify the particular difference (the impact) you and your institution are seeking to make – that way you know what to track and measure and are clear about your purpose. Deciding on the difference you and your organization want to make is closely aligned to your overall mission and values.
  • With each project, use a theory of change to identify the impact and outcomes (the changes you want to make – in the short, medium and long term) from your project.
  • Plan and cost your inputs (resources) and activities to enable these outcomes. These could be group activities, individual mentoring and support, skills sessions. What resources do you need – expertise, materials, space, marketing.
  • Be clear about your outputs (what is produced) from the activities. These could be CVs, job applications, film, presentations, journals, recordings.
  • Who is the Impact Evaluation for? Who is your audience? Be clear about who the evaluation is for so that you measure impact relevant to the audience and use appropriate language.
  • Think about what form your final evaluation report will be in. This could be a written report with graphs, diagrams, videos, recordings or a mixture. How are you going to tell the participants’ stories? Think about what form would best suit your target audience? How might your work be applied in another place or with another group?
  • Decide what you are going to measure at the beginning of your project. You may wish to think about the extent a project empowers individuals or communities and then show this through measuring aspects like confidence, connectivity, skills at the start and again at the end of a project. Examples of measurable empowerment include be:
    1. increased confidence and self-worth
    2. increased knowledge and skills
    3. increased economic benefit
    4. managing life better (less anxiety/depression / loneliness, more engaged in their community or new friendships)
    5. re-engagement with education.


  • Determine the measurement methodologies you will use. That way you will know to what extent you’ve achieved the changes you want to make. This will be both:
    1. quantitative data (collecting information on the number of people participating, their personal details, register of attendance)
    2. qualitative information– to show the individual journey travelled; this means they identify where they are at the start of the programme and again at the end to see how far they’ve progressed in whatever area they are seeking to change or improve.


  • Measurement and evaluation tools: include surveys questioning participants’ environment, employment, health, financial inclusion, age etc., questionnaires identifying what they have learnt and storytelling strategies such as films and recordings as well as personal endorsements.
  • Create final evaluation and report in whichever form you have chosen; demonstrating your impact against the project ambitions. You should be able to show the impact of the arts and culture activities on the initial need or problem you identified.

It helps to articulate the vision of your institution, why it exists and what it does. Since benefits of your operations often can be materialized only in the long term, you need to have metrics that show the progress of operations and how you are working towards achieving the goals set for the long run.

Because alumni relations and fundraising need heavy investments to be successful, it is clear that measurable goals need to be set. Major progress in alumni relations and fundraising can be accomplished with sufficient resources and comprehensive planning if the goals set are clear and the organizations share an understanding of them. Keys to success tracking and measurement can be summed up in the following way:

  • Use multiple channels.
  • Build and steward lifetime relationships.
  • Measure attitudes and behaviours. Use metrics to track progress.
  • Do stakeholder survey.
  • Conduct regular research.
  • Value alumni and donors in all their roles.


8.2.1     Top Management Commitment and Level of Investment – Indicators of Success

You need to start with long-term thinking and be systematic, team-oriented and ethical. Top-management support and involvement is essential. You will need to invest in professionals and other resources that are needed to succeed. Data systems and data management that are a crucial element for successful fundraising; infrastructure that is needed to support success. Your staff mission is to help in articulating the vision, enabling success and leading from behind and below. Your staff has to stay flexible, innovative and reinventing ways to do improve the profession. There are a few metrics to consider:

  • Fundraising overall is a very labour-intensive profession. That is why it is really important to realize how many major gift prospects one fundraiser can handle and how that affects the expected results in fundraising.
  • How much the top management allocates time to fundraising, the number of major gift visits made, number of events hosted, number of calls made to prospects and donors, number of thanking events.      The Importance of Research and High-Quality Data Management in Measuring Success

Measuring needs to be based on regular research: asking, scanning and assessing. Listening to the constituencies and providing feedback loops should be a constant activity. Metrics should exist to help to track progress weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. Effectiveness of each program should be measured. In measuring the outcomes, it is hard to show interdependency but you can find the correlation. Seeking correlations and seeking the effect, not just numbers, is the way to proceed. Measuring is about a cost-benefit analysis: was its real worth is, what was the cost per alumnus/donor, does the potential positive outcome outweigh the staff time and other resources. Performance metrics should be in place for staff performance, too, to measure outreach and success.

High-quality data management is a combination of people process and technology.

  1. People: In institutional giving, e.g. prospect research is essential in fundraising success and institutions need to invest in people doing that. Each researcher is dedicated to each organization and people are assigned to specific prospects. It is important to assure that many people do not contact the same prospect. The success in prospect research can be measured in tracking progress in the qualifying categories for prospect research: – how much information has been collected and analyzed, to evaluate how many of the qualified major gift prospects actually lead to donations.
  2. Process: Online tracking system is the key to the alumni relations and fundraising processes – all personnel add info about the meetings and connections and their status into the system, records are followed closely, which events or gifts are closing and when, active contacts, proposals or request, declined proposals. Success in the fundraising process can be evaluated according to the fundraising cycle: – number of identified prospects, number of prospect meetings, number of scheduled meetings to strategize with staff and talk about coming meetings and donations, number of prospects in different cultivation phases, number of prospects in the ask phase.
  3. Technology: The database is the backbone of success in alumni relations and fundraising. The goal is to have one general system that benefits the whole institution community. New innovations in technology create new ways of data management:

In advancement, Alumni relations come first. Creating relationships and establishing alumni activities should start early, pre-admission or with student programming. Time to actively raise funds comes later. Alumni value higher education; for alumni, rich educational experience creates responsibility to help the next generation. It is vital to stay in touch with alumni, and it goes far beyond giving money. And once you stay in touch, they will in fact support the institution – if the institution is still, truly, there for them. Throughout the study tour, the importance of creating value for alumni in all their roles within the institution was strongly emphasized. That is why alumni programs cannot be measured only in terms of alumni participation in fundraising, but with indicators created to measure the different activities and participation forms during the different phases in the lifelong relationship between alumni and the institution.

The alumni satisfaction rate is a key measure in evaluating how successful alumni relations programs are. The rate contains components like the pride of your own institution, appreciation of alumni programs. Alumni satisfaction rate can be measured by surveys and enquiries with questions such as would you recommend, would you do it again, would you attend. Some of the areas of measurement in alumni relations include

  • Number of contactable alumni
  • Engagement and participation
    1. Events
    2. Programs
    3. Profile updates
    4. Recommendations to others
  • Giving
    1. Total amount of alumni giving
    2. Alumni participation rate
  • Volunteers
    1. Number of volunteers       
    2. Hours of volunteer work
  • Student participation

Some of the elements you’ll need to have in mind for successful alumni programs include;

  • Effective and interactive information systems.
  • Alumni association with clear identity governance structure.
  • Defined volunteer structure with expectations, roles, responsibility and accountability.
  • Effective internal organization including programs, staff, funding sources and records.

Results are always evaluated also in accordance with the investments made. This systematic view and approach fully apply also to alumni relations and engagement. Areas of measurement in fundraising include;

  • Measure investment; number of staff, budget total investment over the years.
  • Measure attitude and behavior
  • Measure donors and donor types
  • Measure fundraising activity
  • Measure stewardship
  • Measure goal achievement

Branding, marketing and communications are critical to the success of all your efforts. Brand differentiates institutions from one another and it is the most valuable asset the institutions have. Brand is the result of a long-term strategic process and describes the institutions’ promise as perceived by key audiences. To communicate efficiently, hard work reaching out to alumni and other constituencies, branding and targeted communication are needed. Success in communication requires you to:

  • Conduct regular research.
  • Measure attitudes and behaviours.
  • Scan the environment and assess external reactions to internal decisions.
  • Manage institutional reputation.
  • Provide feedback loops.
  • Use multiple channels.
  • Involve the entire institution: coordinate communications and marketing efforts across campus
  • Tell compelling stories.
  • Reflect institutional values.
  • Plan before the crisis, live your values during the crisis, evaluate after the crisis.
  • Conduct strategic programs of two-way information exchange with key constituencies.

8.6.1     Listening is More Important Than Talking

Success in fundraising requires that your leadership is accessible and available as chief spokespersons for the association. Messages should be kept clear, simple, direct, honest and the big-picture in mind. The essential message is that for any institution with clear goals in development, philanthropic revenue will make the difference between being excellent and just surviving. All institution’s representatives should deploy this message passionately, articulating the vision and setting example.

Your communication strategy should be a combination of both financial and social impact metrics, and should consider statistics and personal stories that convey your impact. Effective communications strategies revolve around content tailored for your target audience, reliable data and transparency. Having a mission-aligned strategy builds trust in your organization, develops the capacity and commitment of your staff, communicates your social impact clearly to potential or existing donors, investors and board members, and promotes collaboration or opportunities for others to join in your mission.