In recent years, impact measurement methodologies for nonprofits and social enterprises such as Social Return on Investment (SROI) have received plenty of attention. Although certain methodologies are currently under discussion, it is important to design a measurement style in accordance with a conceptual framework for measuring impact. Many kinds of impact measurement methodologies such as IRIS, SIMPLE, GIIRS, and SROI have been derived till date. Nonprofits and social enterprises need to choose a methodology that best fits the purposes of their impact measurement. Therefore, we first need to consider the purpose, instead of a certain methodology. SROI, for example, has two distinctive features: (1) monetization of the value of impact and (2) stakeholder involvement in the measurement process. This paper argues that nonprofits are motivated to adopt SROI to secure the fundraising competition with a high SROI value, although the comparability of SROI value is very limited. It also argues that using monetization as a common language among stakeholders is not value-neutral. There have been many studies and discussions over SROI in Europe and the US. However, nonprofits have not yet widely accepted impact measurement in Japan. We need to think of diffusing an impact measurement framework to nonprofits and help them choose their own measurement methodologies properly.
Social Return on Investment (SROI) has received great attention in recent years in Japan. SROI is a framework for measuring and accounting for social business, which was created in the US and developed in the UK. Involving stakeholders is a characteristic of SROI and mapping outcomes makes the structure of a project clear. However, the SROI method has some difficulties and lacks reliability. In this paper, we attempt to identify some problems from experiences of using SROI in the Saitama Prefecture. As a result, participants estimated communication highly which brought by SROI, but reliability of SROI lower. In order to improve the reliability of SROI, the non-profit sector has to try to make the Japanese standard Financial Proxies. Moreover, it is also necessary to consider using SROI as a communication tool.
The authors are working on promoting a culture of evaluation among nonprofits in Japan with the message that evaluation can be a powerful tool for civil society organizations (CSOs) to increase learning and effectiveness in solving social issues. From this perspective, there are two global trends that are currently worth exploring. One is the five-year Global Evaluation Agenda, which was adopted in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in which there is a call to action to strengthen evaluation capacities at the country level including Voluntary Organization of Professional Evaluators (VOPEs) and CSOs. The other is the so-called “the fifth wave” of evaluation, which stems from a diversification of evaluation stakeholders that includes social investors as well as dynamic and emergent operating contexts where change is the only constant and evaluation needs to be value-driven. With these trends in mind, the authors highlight the growing attention to “developmental evaluation” in the evaluation community as a useful approach to monitor and support social innovation in complex environments.
This paper aims to explain the design process and systematic structure of the evaluation criteria for an “Excellent NPO,” as well as to discuss how the evaluation of a nonprofit organization (NPO) should be conducted as a measure for problem-solving. The evaluation criteria were established by the practitioners and researchers, who sensed a crisis in the current situation of the NPO sector in Japan. First, the current situation was analyzed based on the data collected, and the desirable image of an NPO was defined. Subsequently, the three problems of “citizenship,” “social innovation,” and “organization stability,” which were determined to be the most important, were extracted and defined as the basic conditions. Based on these basic conditions, the systematic structure and design process of the evaluation criteria were defined and discussions were made according to the process, thereby resulting in 33 evaluation criteria. Therefore, these evaluation criteria can help derive possible solutions for the problems faced in the NPO sector. However, in order for the evaluation to act as a problem-solving measure, the evaluation itself should be considered as a project; moreover, continuous review of the evaluation criteria, such as continuous analysis of the current situation and feedback from users, are necessary.
Recent research suggests that happiness enhanced by donation experience, which is called the “psychological benefit of donation” in this paper, promotes the next donation. Given that donation is a form of redistribution, rich people are expected to donate more than poor people. Therefore, rich people are expected to receive more psychological benefit than poor people from this experience. Contrary to this expectation, considering the mechanism of the psychological benefit of donation and the survey data obtained on donation in Japan, it was suggested that rich people actually receive less psychological benefit of donation than poor people. Moreover, given the changes of values and circumstances before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake, it might be possible that the relationship between wealth and the psychological benefit of donation ceased after the Earthquake. To test these predictions, the relationship between wealth and the psychological benefit of donation in Japan before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake was investigated. The results show that while donation experience enhanced happiness only among poor people before the Earthquake, it enhanced happiness among both rich and poor people after the Earthquake. Future implications and limitations of this research are then discussed.