At HOPE Housing, we understand the importance of delivering clear and transparent impact measurement for investors. Earlier this year, we were proud to share with you research showing our social impact was more than double our original estimations. Using what we’ve learnt from our data and investor feedback, we continue to evolve our impact reporting in a new partnership with advisers Think Impact.
When we embarked on creating HOPE Housing, our primary focus was on addressing a pressing issue: enabling essential workers to achieve homeownership in proximity to their workplaces. This impactful mission has been our driving force.
Recognising the importance of accountability and transparency, we then sought a robust way to quantify the impact we were creating. In our early stages, we collaborated with the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) at the University of NSW to craft our impact ‘theory of change.’
Pleasingly, in our first 6 months of operation CSI measured our actual impact return to be 67 cents for every $1 invested in HOPE, compared with their initial 30 cent forecast. The result validated that our shared-equity model as a successful new way to help our essential workers – teachers, police, firefighters and nurses – get a foot onto the property ladder. The report measured over 20 social outcomes.
With this experience and by analysing our outcomes data, we started to think of ways we could improve measurement and communication of our impact. We sought feedback from our foundation investors and considered ways to refine our impact reporting to make it more relevant for our stakeholders and to also tell our impact story in a more concise and powerful way.
With the support of our Advisory Board we scanned the market to who was leading the field on impact design and assessment. As a result we appointed Melbourne-based social impact advisory company Think Impact who have worked with us to develop a more refined impact reporting process that’s more tailored to the needs of our investors.
“We enlisted Think Impact to optimise our impact measurement and reporting tools, with the key objective to clearly understand and communicate the social impact we were delivering,” said HOPE CEO Tim Buskens.
Working with Think Impact, we’ve refined our theory of change and impact reporting to focus on eight key areas of impact, spread across the key stakeholders, essential workers, their families, and employers.
Kevin Robbie, Managing Director, Think Impact, is a former advisor to the Scottish and UK governments on impact measurement and also worked for Social Ventures Australia (SVA) before joining Think Impact seven years ago.
Robbie says refreshing HOPE’s impact framework was a matter of using the good work that had already been done and refining it based on what investors wanted to know.
“The work that had been done before was good. It was evidence based with a lot of understanding of where HOPE is seeking to make a difference. So we used the data they had collected before to identify the key areas where HOPE is making the biggest impact.” Think Impact has supported HOPE to produce an Impact Snapshot for investors that will not only indicate the social value that has been created in the past year but over time will show the cumulative social value from the innovative shred equity model that HOPE has pioneered.
Buskens says understanding the monetary value of our social impact is a game-changer. It empowers us to make smarter decisions and allows us to maximise the impact of our work.
HOPE’s first Impact Snapshot will be released in early February 2024.