Stories are what bring the work of the Foundation to life and help us understand the extent of the impact of what we do. As someone who has built a career working with people, I am drawn to the stories.
But these days, when businesses are becoming increasingly concerned with social value, how can we be sure that our stories are not just a PR stunt and that we are actually making a difference?
This is where the importance of data comes in. While data might seem a rather dull component of the Foundation’s work, it is absolutely key to helping us answer fundamental questions like: are we really helping our customers and communities in the way they want? Which interventions are likely to have the most impact? Is our work really making a difference?
To make it easier to collate our data we use the Social Value Portal’s National TOMs (Themes Measures and Outcomes). These are externally verified proxy values which help us calculate the social return on investment of our community activities. Rather than simply reporting what we have invested or done, this method of reporting takes into account the impact we have had on an individual and the local community.
It also means we can demonstrate to our customers the difference we have made in their communities. It means we can confidently quantify and compare the value of our social value proposals in bids and tenders, making it even easier for customers to choose us for reasons beyond just the quality of our buildings. And it means we can confidently say that in 2019, we made connections with over 116,000 people.
Numbers only tell part of the story. It is people and their experience and stories which give us the true impact. In 2019, our people dedicated over 46,400 hours in community investment work – equivalent to around £864 per employee. Here are a few of our people’s stories from 2019. I hope you find them as inspirational as I do.