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Evaluation and social impact measurement amongst small to medium social enterprises: Process, purpose and value

In recent years, the imperative to communicate organisational impacts to a variety of stakeholders has gained increasing importance within all sectors. Despite growing external demands for evaluation and social impact measurement, there has been limited critically informed analysis about the presumed importance of these activities to organisational success and the practical challenges faced by organisations in undertaking such assessment. In this paper, we present the findings from an action research study of five Australian small to medium social enterprises’ practices and use of evaluation and social impact analysis. Our findings have implications for social enterprise operators, policy makers and social investors regarding when, why and at what level these activities contribute to organisational performance and the fulfilment of mission.

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