Tool Guideline

A guide to Social Return on Investment

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 16 January 2017

The Guide was originally written in 2009 by Social Value UK with the UK Cabinet Office.

Updated in 2012, it is the result of consultation with practitioners, members, academics and others with an interest in social and environmental value and impact measurement

The Guide to SROI provides a clear framework for anyone interested in measuring, managing and accounting for social value or social impact.


What is Social Return on Investment (SROI)?

Every day our actions and activities create and destroy value; they change the world
around us. Although the value we create goes far beyond what can be captured in
financial terms, this is, for the most part, the only type of value that is measured
and accounted for. As a result, things that can be bought and sold take on a greater
significance and many important things get left out. Decisions made like this may
not be as good as they could be as they are based on incomplete information about
full impacts.

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a framework for measuring and accounting for
this much broader concept of value; it seeks to reduce inequality and environmental
degradation and improve wellbeing by incorporating social, environmental and
economic costs and benefits.

SROI measures change in ways that are relevant to the people or organisations that
experience or contribute to it. It tells the story of how change is being created by
measuring social, environmental and economic outcomes and uses monetary values to
represent them. This enables a ratio of benefits to costs to be calculated. For example, a
ratio of 3:1 indicates that an investment of 1 delivers 3 of social value


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