November 12th, 2018 / Insight posted in Articles

There’s more to value than financials

Financial value has been the traditional way of measuring an organisation’s success. However, financial value is not the only type of value that exists. The Oxford English Dictionary defines value as the “importance, worth or usefulness of something”.

For many people there is a lot of value in the non-financial aspects of their lives, in their relationships with their family and friends, their mental health, their sense of security and much more besides. This alternative type of value is known as ‘social value’, and many forward-thinking organisations are starting to measure it alongside their financial value.

Social value measurement is badly needed in today’s world where many societies are showing signs of deep stress. Any effort to measure the positive social value all around us and make decisions to increase this can only be a good thing.

The last decade has seen more focus on measuring the impact of social value. In particular, one of the biggest changes is the shift in emphasis from measurement to management. Organisations are moving towards using the insight generated by their measurement to make management decisions about how to run their activities to create the most amount of social value.

As an experienced impact team, we at Kingston Smith Fundraising and Management (KSFM) is working with organisations to help them to do just this. In the same way that financial accounting leads to decisions affecting the bottom line, social value measurement also leads to decisions being made. This might include finding ways to improve a charity’s service, or increase understanding of which of an organisation’s activities are the most ‘social-value rich’.

In collaboration with the national membership network for social impact, Social Value UK, KSFM has developed a methodology to help organisations start assessing their social value. It consists of a simple template for organisations to fill in themselves. The template guides them through the internal commitments and changes necessary to include social value in their day-to-day activities.

For further information about the social value policy template or the KSFM approach to social value measurement, contact KSMF’s deputy director of impact Helen Campbell at or 020 7566 4032.