Impact Reporting is broken. GivX will provide a simple alternative.

After a year of consultation with the CSR community, we’ve come up with GivX: a simple, standardised way to value and celebrate your community investment.

A year ago I wrote an ICRS article calling out impact reporting. I was inspired by conversations with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practitioners who admitted they spent upwards of a month a year attempting to record their impact. I argued it was a drain on time, put an unnecessary burden on third-sector partners, and threatened to divert resources from maximising the impact of community investment.

But if the approach of quantifying social impact broken, so is the process of communicating it.  I trawled through 200 annual and CSR reports from big businesses in the UK to understand what and how CSR data was being reported. The reports were inconsistent, indigestible and overly lengthy (239 pages was the record!). Consumers, employees and investors have never been more interested in CSR, but we are not communicating our contributions effectively.

At the time I was envisaging devising a simple index to create a frame of magnitude around what companies give to charities and communities. It would be based on the bare minimum of data points. The value of the inputs would be based on ‘Community Value’ – simply put, the replacement cost charities would be prepared to pay for the goods or services.

The concept was introduced to dozens of practitioners within our community – both by myself and the Givx Steering Group – and the response was really positive.

This listening process confirmed that CSR practitioners are looking for an alternative to impact reporting and they are looking for something that is less time consuming and free to contribute to. What it also revealed is that is there is also a significant subset of our community who simply aren’t in a position to submit their data. Practitioners are either not effectively capturing basic community investment data or they don’t feel confident about reporting it.

This would make collating an index difficult, but the implications go deeper. For internal use, if we don’t collect data, how can we be expected to identify areas where we excel and where we need to improve? Equally, if we’re not prepared to report on our data externally, we can’t benchmark against our peers or contextualise our performance. In either case, it makes it difficult to be systematic about improving the work we do.

With this in mind, we went back to the drawing board and reconsidered what would genuinely contribute to developing impact reporting practice. We recognise that our aim has evolved, and that the priority is to celebrate and encourage those pioneering firms who both collect data and publish it.

So this year, you can expect something a bit different from the GivX we originally envisaged. In September, rather than produce an index, we will announce the winners of the 2017 GivX 25 Award. Rather than rank every company to submit, we will celebrate those top performing companies who are already taking lengths to record and publish their data.

To highlight best practice, merit will be recognised on a per capita basis rather than on gross total inputs (which tends to favour quantity over quality).

Getting involved is really easy. Any firm with over 250 staff can enter by submitting simple six data points. They are:

  • corporate donations;
  • staff fundraising;
  • in-kind donations;
  • manual volunteer hours;
  • skilled volunteer hours; and
  • professional volunteer hours.

This data will be valued according to their community value and aggregates them into both a total GivX score and a GivX score per capita.

This is the only data that will be ever made public, and only for the top 25 winners. Their GivX scores will be published in an award guide alongside a short qualitative case study of their community investment. For other entrants, the data will remain confidential, but should provide a useful benchmarking tool.  

Data collection opened on 31 March 2017 and will run to 30 June and we have some fantastic, forward-thinking companies in the running. To apply, or if you’re interested in finding out more, please visit the GivX website or read the 2017 Award Guidelines.

Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The time has come to create a new, dynamic alternative to impact reporting.

Website by Digital Garden and Bowley Design. Logo by Flag.