Back to school: Social impact measurement training in demand in the UK

For the third year running, social impact measurement is the topic most people working in social enterprises and charities in the UK would pay to receive training on, according to the School for Social Entrepreneurs' (SSE) annual survey.

The survey aims to identify the training needs of individuals working in social enterprises, charities and the public sector, and helps shape SSE’s work over the next 12 months.

David McGlashan, sales and marketing manager at SSE, said: "I think that there are two main reasons for impact measurement continuing to be the most popular topic for training. Firstly, organisations want to be able to demonstrate their impact to funders to make them more likely to win bids and contracts. Our most popular courses are always courses that could lead to a financial return for participants. But I do also think that people want to be able make improvements and internal decisions based around impact, rather than guesswork or speculation."

SSE was founded in 1997 by Michael Young and has over the past two decades helped over 1,500 social entrepreneurs with its training courses, practical workshops and business support programmes.

Just over 300 individuals, 60% of whom came from outside of London, completed SSE’s third annual survey. Approximately 50% of respondents work within social enterprises and around 25% identified themselves as working for a charity. The remaining respondents identified as working within the public sector, private sector or not currently working.

The majority of respondents working in the public sector cited social investment as the topic they would most likely pay to receive training on. McGlashan said: "I don’t think it’s any coincidence that interest in social investment from within the public sector has increased at a time when cuts are being widely felt. Social investment appears to be an industry with significant amounts of money attached to it but I think an understanding of how (or if) this money can be accessed by public and social sector organisations remains low.  

Sources of funding, leadership development and managing a growing social enterprise made up the remaining top training topics the majority of respondents from all sectors said they would pay for training on.

While quality of speakers and the desire to see clear, practical outcomes from a course were seen as very important, cost was the most important factor for most when selecting which courses to attend. SSE works in partnership with individual philanthropists, trusts, foundations and corporates to ensure course fees do not prevent social entrepreneurs from receiving training.

The SSE was initially run from the Bethnal Green neighbourhood of East London. It now works across the country. Over the next two months SSE is working in partnership with Lloyds Bank to host taster sessions around the UK for those interested in taking part in the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme. To find out more, please click here.


Header image: School for Social Entrepreneurs workshop in action

Photo credit: School for Social Entrepreneurs