Wayside Chapel Case Study – A Simple Economic Tool to Understanding Social Impact

Posted on the 29th May 2019

Importantly being a smaller organisation without the analytic capacity of other organisations, we wanted to use something where the social impact ‘economics’ had been done. This allows us to free up our resources in other areas of evaluation and social impact.

Would you give me a quick overview of the Wayside Chapel organisation?

Wayside Chapel has been providing support to the most marginalised people in and around the streets of Sydney since 1964.

Wayside Chapel Logo

Today, under the banner of ‘Love over Hate’, Wayside provides a supportive environment where those that are homeless, dealing with mental health challenges, socially isolated or disconnected, can come and be part of a judgement-free community.

Practically, Wayside runs two community services centres that provide a range of immediate supports such as showers, low-cost food, emergency clothing as well as social activities, mental health support and care coordination.

The Wayside Chapel has recently developed a youth program, called The Wingspan Project, which supports young people to gain employment at its social enterprise cafe, Heart Café. All surplus funds go back into the program to support young people in need.

Why did you choose the ASVB Calculator to measure your social value?

We have a simple mission of creating community; but within the simplicity there is complexity, in what does that look like, and how do we evaluate our social impact?

Australian Social Value Bank (ASVB) provides us with a starting tool. Importantly being a smaller organisation without the analytic capacity of other organisations, we wanted to use something where the social impact ‘economics’ had been done.

This allows us to free up our resources in other areas of evaluation and social impact.

How does our tool help your team or organisation achieve its objectives?

We are currently rolling this out across the organisation program by program.

To date, we have used it as a forecasting model to help set up a new youth employment program we have developed called “The Wingspan Project”.

ASVB has produced a model aligned to our theory of change and we will use this model and compare it to actual results. This will allow us to measure the value of the program as well as evaluate our original assumptions to see how they align.

How do you and your team currently use the ASVB?

As a forecasting tool. By the end of this current financial year, we will assess the last six months of outcomes for one or maybe two of our current programs.

Describe your experience in using the Value Calculator tool in practice to create Value Statements?

For now, it has been more of a model experience. We will use this to project the impact of a program and then at the end of that program we will report against the actual outcomes.

What has changed for your organisation as a result of measuring your social value with the ASVB?

We are focusing much more on what the specific goals and values are of a project upfront before it is developed.

What are the main benefits of using the ASVB in your opinion?

Easy to use, you don’t need a lot of data experience or understanding of social economic indicators.

What is your advice to others who might be considering our impact measurement solution?

The tool is a perfect place to start.

It has limitations, but so do other methods. But you can be flexible with the tool to account for certain conditions. For example, the use of averages for Wayside Chapel undervalues the impact for our cohort of people as we are dealing with the most vulnerable chronic homeless.

What we are able to do though, is provide background context and explain the data in a way that ensures people understand that the value created, is likely to reflect lower values in terms of numbers, given the complexity of the cohort of people we work with, and the services delivered.

How would you describe our product if you were explaining it to a friend?

A simple economic tool to understanding social impact.

Interview with Lee Cooper – Head of Innovation, Strategy & Social Impact, Wayside Chapel, Sydney

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