Microsoft Japan has a robust application of SROI with holistic stakeholder involvement and focuses on the communication of results. It also aims to provide the government with effective and efficient models for youth engagement.
Microsoft introduced the SROI methodology to evaluate the impact of the two most significant citizenship programmes: YouthSpark (promote computational thinking and computer science among underserved youth); and disaster recovery efforts following the East Japan Great Earthquake. The team believed that it was the right methodology to capture the whole theory of change: from inputs, outputs and outcomes to broader economic and social impact.
For YouthSpark, Microsoft Japan partnered with SROI pioneer, Prof. Tsukamoto. This allowed the team to include broader measures of social impact, such as mental and physical well-being of beneficiaries and families. It also allowed them to contextualize the programme as part of the effort to reduce the opportunity divide in Japan, for instance by estimating the contribution of the programme to concrete social outcomes.
For the recovery efforts in East Japan, the biggest benefit was the opportunity to engage with different types of stakeholders, from disaster victims to NPOs and government officials, to capture a richer description of the impact on the ground. Arriving at a clear view of social and economic impact per dollar invested in the program was a very helpful internal and external communication tool.
Use SROI and customise through academics and stakeholder conversations
Microsoft NPO partners found that the data collection process was too long and complex and believed that their resources were better spent on supporting programmes. So Microsoft Japan decided to significantly reduce the reporting timeline (from 1.5 – 2 years to annual reporting) and number of questions. The team, often underscores how the data collection process itself can help NPOs improve program design. When NPOs see the scale of their impact, they appreciate the value of impact assessment.
For external, 3rd parties (academic papers, white papers, media articles). For internal management high level executive summary and then dive into report if needed.