We know you want to build pro bono programs that have real impact—you need your investment to matter to those you serve. But we also know that many companies struggle to validate their assumptions about how much social value their programs are generating.
Measuring the social value of pro bono programs
Last year, Taproot, True Impact, and Mastercard joined forces to produce a paper offering guidance for pro bono practitioners to think beyond measuring outputs (click here for our full article). Outputs are important metrics for any company to capture – they’re easy to measure and are helpful indicators of the work that takes place during a pro bono project. But by reporting on outputs alone, you miss a big opportunity to measure outcomes and better understand the value of your investment on your nonprofit partners.
That’s why we were pleased to see a recently-published article in the Harvard Business Review making a similar case for measuring success through outcomes, not just outputs. While the article is focused on outcomes as applied to managing digital projects and services, the idea presented is widely applicable – that by managing and measuring projects in terms of outputs, “companies are settling for ‘done’ rather than doing the hard work of targeting success.” Using our digital service Taproot+ as a case study, Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden (authors of the book Sense and Respond) describe how Taproot worked with Neo, the authors’ global product and innovation company, to build, launch, and improve a system predicated on clear, measurable outcomes.
We think you’ll find the way Jeff and Josh framed the topic of outputs and outcomes to be helpful – particularly as you make the case for an improved approach to assessing the value of your pro bono services.