Social Return On Investment

Since we began our work in 2007 one question has persisted – whether our efforts have represented value for money, especially for a cash-strapped health service, and how this could possibly be estimated with any confidence.

We asked Powering Partnerships, a specialist consultancy, to undertake a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis of our work. This estimated the cost of the resources that we and our partners have put into our activities in El Salvador, as indicative of our wider activities, and the social value that they have generated in terms of outcomes.

Links between cause and effect are not always clear and easy to evaluate, and there can be gaps in the data. Even so, undertaking the exercise provided some pertinent and important clarity on where the social value of the partnerships lay and the steps that can be taken to build on and measure that value.

The headline result is that for every £1 invested we delivered £3 of social value. This value is based and contingent on the assumptions set out in the report, but does indicate that our activities represent a very sound investment.

In doing this exercise we were acutely aware that we were valuing activities which rely strongly upon the goodwill of volunteers, and that valuing health and lifespan can be the subject of considerable debate. We therefore approached the subject with caution and a very strong caveat that, whatever the result, it could only be a broad indicator of financial value, not a precise calculation of it.

We are pleased to share the final report here:

“We can learn much from international work as well as sharing our experiences and learning.”

Angela D'Amore
Consultant Neonatologist, CUH, volunteer in El Salvador