Social Impact Analysis

How to know if your work is making an impact

Course Details

  • Price: FREE
  • Start Date: OCT 10, 2017
  • Time: 3 hours/week
  • Duration: 5 weeks
  • Instructor: Tom Adams

What You’ll Learn:

  • Gain a three-part framework to assess the breadth, depth and focus of your social impact
  • Craft a theory of change for your organization or initiative
  • Learn from case studies of how other social enterprises have measured their social impact in lean and rigorous ways
  • Use Acumen’s Lean Data approach


This course will introduce you to frameworks and practical tools for measuring the social impact of your company, organization, or initiative. You’ll learn how to articulate short-term outcomes and long-term goals, and connect them to quantifiable metrics that support your decisions. Making sense of data to support your process will improve the impact you seek to make.


Project-Based Course

Course Syllabus

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  • 5 reading guides highlighting case studies and examples
  • 5 discussion guides to structure the development of your own theory of change
  • Video tutorials from Tom Adams, Acumen’s Director of Impact and former economist for DFID
Section 1: Introduction to Social Impact Analysis
  • Video: Introduction to Breadth of Impact
  • Video: The Evolution of Our Sector and the Next Stage of Measuring Impact
  • Tool: Acumen’s Impact Framework
  • Reading: Breadth of Impact
  • Activity: Framing Your Impact Challenge
  • Activity: Discuss Your Breadth of Impact
Section 2: Depth of Impact and Theories of Change
  • Video: Depth of Impact
  • Video: Theory of Change
  • Reading: Case Study of Clean Cookstoves
  • Reading: Using Theories of Change
  • Activity: Develop Your Theory of Change
  • Activity: Discussion of Depth of Impact
  • Activity: Discussion of Theory of Change
Section 3: Focus on the Target Population
  • Video: Focus on the Poor
  • Reading: Focus on the Poor
  • Reading: Thinking More About Your Target Population
  • Reading: Defining Your Target Population
  • Reading: Measuring Your Target Population
  • Reading: Tips for Good Questionnaire Design
  • Activity: Update Your Theory of Change
  • Activity: Develop Your Impact Questionnaire
  • Reading: Using the Progress Out of Poverty Index
  • Activity: Discussion of Your Target Population
Section 4: Evidence Review
  • Video: Evidence Review
  • Reading: Evidence Review
  • Reading: Case Study of d.light
  • Reading: What is Evidence?
  • Activity: Evidence Collection
  • Activity: Curating Your List of Resources and Metrics
  • Activity: Discussion of Evidence Review

Course Partners

Tom Adams is Director of Impact for Acumen. He heads the organization’s work to understand social performance through patient capital investing. Prior to Acumen Tom worked for the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

What People Are Saying

Komal Faiz, founder of Design Pakistan

"It was clear, concise, easily understood. Very relevent to all the social work being done in Pakistan."

Komal Faiz, founder of Design Pakistan