12th November 2020
By Leonora Buckland, Principal Consultant at Stone Soup


As the pandemic struck, a universal and hopeful sense of pulling together in adversity emerged resulting in many offering to help others worse affected, for example by supporting a local food bank or delivering essential items to vulnerable people. We might look back and say that the pandemic has changed the very concept of volunteering and community (in a positive direction) – it is too early to say.

In the immediate light of Covid-19, Stone Soup consultants wanted to care for each other, their families and their local area, but also the social sector which is a place of so much striving, hope, brilliance but also struggle. Many social organisations on the frontline in the pandemic were buffeted by uncertainty, drastic potential funding cuts and facing major strategic decisions. They desperately needed to keep their organisations open and serving their beneficiaries (with houses, trainings, food, a lifeline) and to adapt their fundraising and business models whilst keeping their staff safe. Funders moved into emergency mode engaging in a free spirit type of grant-making which has not been seen in many years whilst looking for collaborations. Never before had the proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together,’ seemed so true for the social sector.   

18th November 2020
By Sophie Chauliac and Clara de Bienassis

What long-term positive changes are my activities generating and how could they be maximized? This is a question that many organizations in the development and impact investing fields are asking themselves. And in their efforts towards measuring and managing their impact, they can easily get lost among the many different tools and methodologies.

One of them, which is gaining a lot of momentum lately, is the Impact Management Project Methodology or IMP, which aims at providing a standard for impact measurement and management (IMM). It is the result of a consensus among impact investing actors. Since 2016, it has brought together over 2 000 practitioners to agree on shared norms for IMM.

This year Stone Soup Consulting implemented the Impact Management Project for the first time. We’ve been working with Oxfam Intermón Spain on its program called “Enterprises that change lives”, a venture philanthropy initiative that incubates small enterprises in West Africa and Latin America countries. It aims at improving the living conditions of entrepreneurs, their families, employees and communities, with a strong gender focus. We evaluated two social enterprises in Bolivia and Paraguay -both were exiting the program after 5 years of technical assistance- based on the IMP.

 

Are you interested in impact measurement and management? This free webinar is a hands-on experience of two innovative methodologies: the Impact Management Project (IMP) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) operating principles for impact management.

The speakers share their experience working on two case studies with organisations that have used these two different impact measurement methodologies. 

  • From one side, Stone Soup Consulting and the NGO Oxfam Intermon Spain will present their learnings from the IMP based on their experience evaluating the social businesses Acuapez, in Bolivia, and San Pedro in Paraguay. Both projects are supported within a venture philanthropy program called “Enterprises that change lives”. 

  • On the other hand, Better Way and STOA will share their experience on the verification of STOA’s impact management system and its alignment with the Operating Principles for Impact Management issued by IFC.


DATE: 

24th of November 2020 at 2:30 PM CET (1h15')

 

Illustration by Katerina Limpitsouni

How social organisations deal with this crisis will define their survival in the medium and long term. Here we analyse how they are adapting their communication so as to reinforce the message and boost fundraising.

By Pilar Ballet  Stone Soup consultant specialised in strategic communication
and Angela Millan  Stone Soup consultant specialised in creativity and social innovation and fundraising
 
 
The pandemic and social distancing have arrived with a bang in the Asilo de Luarca hospital in Asturias. The residents are senior citizens whose lives, up to now,  have focused  on enjoying their visits,  taking part in outside activities and local life. However, nowadays they are isolated in the home with hardly any physical contact and afraid of contagion. “Before this it was very important for us to tell people  what a happy home it is and change the negative perception that people usually have of residences by talking about our daily life, anecdotes and life in general. With the corona virus we’ve lost that happiness and don’t know how to convey what we do and get it through to people” explains Sandra Cuesta, director of the home. This is one of the direct consequences of the pandemic  on a lot of social organisations in Spain. How to communicate when many of the organisations are still searching for their own new normal?

Photo by Bud Helisson on Unsplash

By Sophie Robin, Managing Partner
Stone Soup Consulting
Article originally published on Diario Responsable

Whoever has worked at any time in the consultancy world knows that a relationship of mutual trust is the key to a sustainable business model. Contracts are earned either because there is already a good relationship (that is, clients want to carry on working with a consultancy because previous experience was good) or because the people who put the clients in contact with the consultancy are known and trusted by the client or because of the consultancy’s reputation or by direct recommendation.

The consultancy world is a little like the baby-sitting world: there’s an open market but when it comes to looking after Baby (the company) the majority prefer to choose people or entities they know and like. Up to here everything is perfect, comprehensible and legitimate.

The problems start when this trust begins to be the only criterion taken into account in spite of the rules established by the market. When consultancies and clients already know each other, work together or have a personal relationship and just like each other they begin to distort the market rules by  making the asset of trust prevail over everything else.