EPISODE 3: UNVEILING THE HEART OF CHANGE: MEASURING IMPACT IN THE VOLUNTEERING REALM
Ahmad Faiz Yazid
Alumni of Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS) / Student Volunteers Foundation
Ahmad Faiz Yazid is an Alumni of Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS) / Student Volunteers Foundation. He is also a Khazanah Watan scholar, a prestigious award for Malaysia’s brightest talents. He has been engaged in research and publishing since the age of 15. Faiz is currently pursuing Bachelor of Economics with a focus on Financial Economics at Universiti Malaya. Alongside his studies, Faiz is an active volunteer making valuable contributions within and beyond joint research network programmes.
Listen to the podcast interview with the author;
UNVEILING THE HEART OF CHANGE:
MEASURING IMPACT IN THE VOLUNTEERING REALM
"Winds of change are sweeping through as the power of rigorous data analytics emerges, offering a newfound ability to accurately gauge and measure social impact."
For decades, the social sector has anchored itself in traditional metrics, emphasising inputs and outputs as means of demonstrating value. This conventional approach often falls short of encapsulating the true essence of social progress. But winds of change are sweeping through as the power of rigorous data analytics emerges, offering a newfound ability to accurately gauge and measure social impact. This shift in perspective resonates deeply, finding relevance in the heart of Malaysia’s vibrant volunteering landscape.
Deepening our understanding of tangible social impact
The recent launch of Malaysia’s National Road Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR) offers an opportunity to delve into this paradigm shift in the context of volunteering or advocacy in the energy sector, where the mission to improve lives intertwines with the pursuit of cleaner, more sustainable sources of power. Envision a dedicated social entrepreneur or volunteer in Malaysia with a profound vision – to enhance air quality and overall health by making affordable solar panels accessible to rural households. In the past, these visionaries would attract investors by showcasing inputs such as funds raised and outputs like the number of solar panels distributed. We can see parallels in the volunteering sector, where there has been a historical emphasis on inputs, such as hours volunteered, and outputs, like the number of beneficiaries reached.
"However, an evolving landscape demands a deeper understanding of tangible social impact, a trend not limited to social enterprises but echoing across non-profits, foundations, and even governmental initiatives."
Commitment to collect, analyse, and interpret data
Getting started in the complex world of social change necessitates a fundamental grasp of our distinctive skills and values. This understanding allows us to effectively channel our efforts into endeavours that not only captivate our interest but also empower us to optimise our influence. Embarking on this journey of impact measurement within the volunteering sector starts with a quest to identify key performance indicators that will pave the way for meaningful progress. It is a meticulous process, one that requires a commitment to collect, analyse, and interpret data – a cornerstone of informed decision-making.
Returning to the tale of our solar panel-selling social entrepreneur or advocate, a compelling revelation may emerge after diligently gathering an initial set of data – households equipped with these solar panels enjoy an astounding 70% reduction in noxious gases, translating into a substantial improvement in indoor air quality. As data accumulates over time, a more profound impact might materialise – children in homes with solar panels experience a 20% decrease in acute respiratory conditions. This is the crux of true impact – a testament to the power of sustainable solutions.
"This understanding allows us to effectively channel our efforts into endeavours that not only captivate our interest but also empower us to optimise our influence."
Groundwork for sustainability and scalability
Certainly, such metrics can be challenging to quantify, often requiring a patient, long-term vision. But they lay an invaluable groundwork for achieving sustainability and scalability. Volunteers, armed with the resources to delve into this rich tapestry of data, can emerge as true stewards of change. Beyond simply showcasing the outcomes of their dedication, they now possess a tool that fuels operational improvement, enriches the quality of their services, and uncovers opportunities for even greater influence.
In essence, this feedback loop transforms our volunteers and their social impact capacities. It transcends the realm of numbers and charts, aligning every effort with the organisation’s core mission. With each data point, we inch closer to illuminating impactful, effective solutions to societal challenges.
Each act of service becomes a beacon of hope
As Malaysia charts a course towards a brighter future characterised by vibrant volunteering, the ripple effects of impact measurement are set to reverberate widely. Through this lens, the promise of positive transformation emerges not as a distant aspiration, but as a tangible, irrefutable reality. Just as the energy sector ushers in an era of sustainable progress, the realm of volunteering is poised to embrace a profound shift – one where each act of service becomes a beacon of hope, and data illuminates the path toward lasting, meaningful change.
At IVCO 2023, we will be discussing on “Measuring the Transformative Impact of Youth Volunteers” on Day 1. To see the full programme and register for IVCO 2023, go to www.ivco2023.org
Watch the video interview below as the author unpacks the topic;