Social Impact Audit

What is a social impact audit?

A social impact audit is a systematic assessment of the social impact of an organisation or project. The aim is to measure and understand the effectiveness with regard to social objectives. Various methods such as interviews, surveys and data analyses are used for this purpose. The results can be used to improve the organisation's strategy and increase transparency towards stakeholders. It is a tool for measuring and improving the social responsibility of an organisation.

What is it about?

A social impact audit assesses the extent to which an organisation or project successfully implements its social objectives. It measures the social impact and enables the organisation to align its strategies accordingly. It also helps to increase transparency towards stakeholders such as donors or investors.

Who is affected?

Stakeholders affected by a social impact audit:

  • The organisation itself: Adjustment of the strategy, increase in efficiency

  • Donors and investors: Basis for decisions on further support

  • Target groups: Basis for decisions on further support

  • Target groups: Improved services and offers

  • Public: Increased transparency and trust

  • Employees and volunteers: Increased commitment and motivation

  • Government agencies: Comparison and adoption of best practice

  • Demonstrating compliance with regulations other NGOs and companies

Each of these groups can benefit or be influenced by the results of a social impact audit in different ways.


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Human rights and social impact?

Human rights and social impact are closely linked, especially when an organisation or project focuses on social justice, equality and community well-being. Here are some connection points:

  • 1. assessment: audit verifies compliance with human rights standards.

  • 2. risk detection: identifies potential human rights violations.

  • 3. Transparency: Promotes accountability and openness.

  • 4. stakeholder engagement: considers the needs of marginalised groups.

  • 5. Strategy alignment: Results influence the direction of the organisation.

  • 6. trust building: positive impact strengthens stakeholder trust.

  • 7. reputation management: Minimises risk of scandal.

  • 8. legal compliance: Checks compliance with human rights laws.

A social impact audit can therefore help to improve an organisation's compliance with and promotion of human rights.

General criteria:

  • 1. purpose and mission: clarity and contribution to social impact.

  • 2. stakeholder involvement: Participation and feedback mechanisms.

  • 3. Measurement and reporting: Metrics used and their communication.

  • 4. transparency: openness regarding goals, strategies and results.

  • 5. Sustainability: Long-term orientation of activities.

  • 6. Ethics and integrity: Compliance with ethical standards.

  • 7. capacity building: Investment in employees and communities.

The specific criteria may vary depending on the organisation and sector. There are various frameworks such as SROI (Social Return on Investment) or GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) that can assist with implementation.


  • 1. transparency: clear presentation of social impacts

  • 2. better decisions: Data-based strategy development.

  • 3. stakeholder trust: Strengthening relationships with stakeholders.

  • 4. market differentiation: emphasising social responsibility.

  • 5. potential for improvement: identifying opportunities for optimisation.

  • 6. risk management: early detection of social risks.

  • 7. access to financing: attracting socially orientated investors.

  • 8. regulatory compliance: fulfilment of legal requirements.

A social impact audit helps organisations to maximise their social impact and act responsibly.

How does a social impact audit work?

  • Planning: Objectives, selection of methodology, stakeholder identification.

  • Data collection: Collection of data through surveys, interviews and existing data sets.

  • Analysis: Evaluation of the data, identification of strengths and weaknesses.

  • Reporting: Preparation of a report with results and recommendations.

  • Feedback: Obtaining feedback from stakeholders.

  • Implementation: Implementing the proposed measures.

  • Monitoring: Continuous evaluation and adjustment.

Each step can be adapted depending on the organisation and its objectives.

BFMT's experts have the necessary qualifications and expertise to provide you with the best possible support and review on this topic.


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