3S Conference: Building bridges to manage for impact
3S: Manage for Impact Conference, organised by TIIME and Stone Soup Consulting, unites the European social sector on the road for impact management
October 1st, 2018. More than 150 participants from 18 countries representing foundations, social purpose organisations, impact investors, academia and service providers have joined 3S: Manage for Impact, the first event of the Stone Soup Series co-organized with TIIME, at ESADE Business School in Barcelona.
The aim of this learning and networking event was to help scale and maximize the social impact of organisations by moving the conversation forward from measuring to managing impact. During their opening conversation, Sophie Robin (Stone Soup Consulting) and Hedda Pahlson-Moller (TIIME) spoked notably about the organising team’s motivations for the event: the need to open silos up, bring communities together and work for collaborative innovation, (among others).
According to Jeremy Nicholls, Keynote speaker at the conference and board member of Social Value International, “if all you are going to do is to measure your impact, then don’t bother. It’s not enough”.
Stone Soup, Best for the World 2018 Honoree
We are thrilled to be recognized as being among the companies creating the most positive overall impact on its customers based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab. Honorees are featured on B the Change, the digital Medium publication produced by B Lab, at bthechange.com/bestfortheworld.
The Best For Customers list includes businesses that earned a Customer score in the top 10 percent of more than 2,400 Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment. The full assessment measures a company's impact on its workers, community, customers and environment.To certify as B Corporations, companies like Stone Soup must complete the full assessment and have their answers verified by B Lab.
The Customer portion of the B Impact Assessment measures the impact a company has on its customers by focusing on whether a company sells products or services that promote public benefit and if those products/services are targeted toward serving underserved populations. The section also measures whether a company’s product or service is designed to solve a social or environmental issue (preserving environment, creating economic opportunity for individuals or communities, or increasing the flow of capital to purpose-driven enterprises for example). Honorees scoring in the top 10 percent set a gold standard for the high impact that business as a force for good can make on consumers around the world.
The Superform, the tool that will boost your funding applications
September 21st, by Pilar Balet
What will make your funding application a success? What are the key ingredients that will gain your initiative access to a new donor? Preparing a funding application can easily turn into a headache or a time waste feeling for many of those working in the social sector. However - and although nobody has the recipe that will guarantee your application’s success -, years of experience in the field can get you closer to your funding goals.
A long path dedicated to working in charities, evaluating hundreds of funding applications, supporting social entrepreneurs and leading our own social initiatives have given Stone Soup good knowledge of what works and what doesn’t when applying for funding. It has even inspired us to create the Superform, a tool for clients wanting to improve the technical quality of their funding applications and be a step closer to their financial sustainability.
“One of the major issues in fundraising is that applications are generally very poorly done”, states Stone Soup’s Managing Partner Cláudia Pedra. To her experience, the vast majority of submitted applications are not technically correct and objectives, results or impacts are misconstructed. But most importantly, the justification of the project – the most valuable aspect of a project for most donors - is usually unclear or not focused.
Why an assessment is much more than an assessment
September 26th 2017, by Cláudia Pedra.
A few months ago, Stone Soup worked in Lisbon with an amazing organisation called Oblatas. They are a religious organisation whose mission is to help women that are in prostitution and those that are victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation.
We were hired to do an organisational assessment. For a consultant, this is a task that is almost second nature to us. We are used to entering organisations, applying participative methodologies, finding out all the details – the good, the bad (sometimes the ugly) and recommending good practices. Simple? Maybe in some cases. But as not all organisations are the same, not all procedures could be equal.
Oblatas are nuns. They have an organisation where technicians and nuns work together. They convey their Christian values, and live based on them, but they never pass judgement. Nor on their staff nor on the women they help. They are a quite controversial organisation. Nuns that work with women prostitutes that hand out free condoms in their field work. Many do not understand it, some condemn it, but some also appreciate the way they are truly concerned with the women’s wellbeing. So concerned that they are willing to leave moral judgement behind.
So why speak of this when speaking of an organisational assessment? Because people and organisations are living and breathing beings and the consultant that stays in an office trying to look at them through a lens of formal practice may never understand them. That is why the Stone Soup team went to the street. We saw the team interact with these women. We saw the women complain, unburden and laugh. It was like witnessing two good friends that crossed each other on the street. Never does the team offer more help than asked for. It was so interesting to witness how their methodology works.
Creating social value: how can we be sure?
By Susan Balet, Stone Soup consultant specialized in social impat measurement
On April 10th and 11th, Stone Soup Consulting had the opportunity to be part of the Social Value Matters conference in Istanbul. This annual conference, organised by Social Value International and KUSIF, was aimed at how best to amplify voices, inspire change and maximise value while raising awareness on how social value matters. It might seem something obvious for all of us participating at the conference – we were all related to the social sector and social value drives our work. But the topic of the conference made me ask myself the following question: do we stop in our daily busy lives to check and reflect if we are really adding social value through what we do? Do we talk to our stakeholders openly enough to find out if we are or not creating value for all sides? Are we creating the space in our organisations to discuss if we could be generating a negative impact? Do we let that reflection happen?
If I give myself a minute, my response is clearly and unfortunately “not really”. Not so often in the social sector and neither in the private sector. I truly believe we still have to integrate a learning approach in our work. We need to keep evolving towards management models that allow us to integrate those tools and practices that will firmly help answer clearly to these questions. As well as social impact measurement and evaluation, that will let us stop for a minute and think. By doing this we will be able to observe, feel and maybe fully understand the social value we create, if any. The worst news is that we might find we are creating negative externalities. Although never intended, we must be aware that good intentions can sometimes lead to negative consequences.