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So you want to be an SVI Practitioner?

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So you want to be an SVI Practitioner?

Written by Rebecca Cain | 5th February 2020

There was even more reason for the Think Impact team to celebrate on Christmas Eve 2019, with team members Matt Gidman and Natasha Rees receiving notification of their successful application to become Social Value International (SVI) Accredited Practitioners.

SVI Practitioner status is the only internationally recognised qualification in the social impact measurement space. It is awarded by SVI, the global network that governs the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology. SROI is an approach for measuring the impact of a program or organisation. It looks at what changes for stakeholders from the perspective of the stakeholders themselves. A monetary value is then used to represent the impact experienced by stakeholders, so the value can be compared to the investment required to deliver the initiative.

Becoming a Practitioner is a significant undertaking that requires the applicant to demonstrate their ability to apply the social value principles through completing an exam or a Social Return on Investment (SROI) report. Congratulations Matt and Natasha! We’re very proud of your hard work.

During 2019, Matt and Natasha completed two SROIs focused on sustainability initiatives being implemented as part of a major infrastructure project. The scope of work included external assurance of the reports by SVI, providing the opportunity for Matt and Natasha to also apply to become SVI Practitioners. The reports authored by Matt and Natasha were assessed by an independent assessor. They also had to complete an interview with Social Value International to demonstrate their understanding of social value principles and practices.

Tips from Matt and Natasha for aspiring SVI Practitioners

  • Have a mentor: Someone well versed in SROI methodology to talk through ideas and raise questions with. If no one in your organisation or immediate circle can fulfil that role, then reach out to someone who may be willing to provide support every now and again, either in your area or online.
  • Continually reference the resources and principles: Probably the easiest thing not to do (and something we could definitely have done more of!) but this will help keep you grounded and orientate project decisions around the SROI method. The guide and standards are available here, and the report assurance standard is available here. Even if you’re not producing a report to the assurance standard, it’s a useful document for understanding what a best practice SROI report contains.
  • Find examples of assured SROIs for inspiration: We reached out to SVI who provided some good examples of assured SROIs that were dealing with the same issues and challenges as we were.
  • Bring your own thinking into it: There is no single way of doing something, and there are many scenarios where the methodological guidelines will not give black and white answers. Bring your own independent, creative critique to the process - but be able to back it up.
  • Listen and learn from your assessor: Being able to respond to their feedback and advice is key to meeting the requirements.
“SROI accredited practitioner status is the only accreditation qualification in social impact measurement. There are not many accredited practitioners globally, so it certainly feels pretty special. Not only does it feel like you are joining a community you can contribute meaningfully to but it also opens doors in terms of the value you can bring to the world in which you operate (your organisation, clients, future work, etc.)” Matt Gidman

Interested in becoming an SVI Practitioner?

Becoming an accredited practitioner is a multi-step process that involves:

  • Completing the 2-day SROI Practitioner training. Check out our upcoming training in Melbourne in May 2020 and Sydney in September 2020.
  • Becoming a member of Social Value International or a partner network such as the Social Impact Measurement Network Australia (SIMNA).
  • And the most challenging step, demonstrating your understanding of social value principles by completing an exam or an SROI report.

SVI recently launched a tiered pathway for SVI Practitioners, making it easier for people to get started on the journey and differentiating between intermediate and advanced Practitioners. In the past, becoming a Practitioner was only possible by completing an SROI report to assurance standard. The newly introduced Associate Practitioner level can now be obtained through completing an exam and committing to the social value principles.

The tiered pathway encourages progression from Associate through to Advanced Practitioner, with increasing eligibility for roles such as delivering training and being an Accredited Assessor.

“Being part of this international body means I can contribute to the field more meaningfully” Natasha Rees

Global leaders in social impact measurement

The Think Impact team now comprises over 10 per cent of SVI Practitioners globally with Matt and Natasha joining team members Rebecca Cain, Suzi Young and Kevin Robbie as Practitioners.

In addition, Associate Director Rebecca Cain is one of only two people in Australia qualified to deliver the 2-day SROI Practitioner training. Being an SVI Practitioners gives Think Impact’s clients confidence that our work, and our SROI projects in particular, demonstrates good practice and consistency with internationally agreed upon principles and approaches.

If you’d like to talk more about our SROI services or becoming an SVI Practitioner, contact Rebecca Cain on rebecca@thinkimpact.com.au.