Seminar Series

Corporate Social Responsibility: What homelessness organisations can teach businesses, governments and the third sector about measuring social impact


Professor Cameron Graham


Schulich School of Business

Time & Place

Fri, 10 May 2019 11:00:00 NZST in Meremere 236


This presentation will address the role of social impact (SI) measurements in holding organizations accountable for their social performance. It will describe a program of field research that will investigate the development and use of SI measurements in nonprofit homelessness organizations.

It is argued that nonprofit homelessness organizations provide an excellent site for developing our understanding of SI measurements, with applicability to a wide variety of private and public organizations seeking to document their social responsibility and social performance. SI measurements, such as recidivism rates for getting homeless people off the street, are used to hold nonprofit organizations accountable to their stakeholders.

Unlike for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations cannot rely on standard financial statements to convey their results. Nonprofits typically pursue a rich set of goals related to complex social issues. Studying how nonprofits develop and use SI measurements requires investigating the relationship between performance measurement and causal models of the underlying social issue.

It also requires examination of how SI measurements are used alongside traditional financial stewardship measurements, because policymakers and funding bodies want to know not just whether goals are met but whether funding is used effectively. These issues have come to the fore recently with the advent of social impact bonds (SIBs), which will be discussed in detail in this