What is social value?
Social value is the relative importance that people place on the changes they experience in their lives. Some, but not all of this value is captured in market prices. It is important to consider and measure this social value from the perspective of those affected by an organization’s work.
Examples of social value might be the value we experience from increasing our confidence, or from living next to a community park. These things are important to us, but are not commonly expressed or measured in the same way that financial value is.
At Social Value US, we believe that social value has a huge potential to help us change the way we understand the world around us, and make decisions about where to invest resources. By changing the way we account for value, we believe that we will end up with a world with more equality and a more sustainable environment. You can join us on this journey by becoming a member.
We believe anyone can start to account for their social value, no matter the size of the organization or the amount of resources available.
The Seven Principles of Social Value
- Involve stakeholders – Inform what gets measured and how this is measured and valued in an account of social value by involving stakeholders.
- Understand what changes – Articulate how change is created and evaluate this through evidence gathered, recognizing positive and negative changes as well as those that are intended and unintended.
- Value the things that matter – Making decisions about allocating resources between different options needs to recognize the values of stakeholders. Value refers to the relative importance of different outcomes. It is informed by stakeholders’ preferences.
- Only include what is material – Determine what information and evidence must be included in the accounts to give a true and fair picture, such that stakeholders can draw reasonable conclusions about impact.
- Do not over-claim – Only claim the value that activities are responsible for creating.
- Be transparent – Demonstrate the basis on which the analysis may be considered accurate and honest, and show that it will be reported to and discussed with stakeholders.
- Verify the result – Ensure appropriate independent assurance.