What is SROI?

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a principles-based method for measuring social impact. Specifically, SROI seeks to measure the impact value of an investment, organization, or social business. Values are generally captured in terms of economic and social value relative to resources invested. It can be used by any entity to evaluate impact on stakeholders, identify ways to improve performance, and enhance the performance of investments. It is a flexible tool that uses accepted social indicators alongside project-crafted proxies to capture a social return number that more accurately captures the benefit of a particular intervention than a regular ROI analysis might.

We help social enterprises achieve their mission effectively and maximize SROI.


The Social Enterprise Institute @ Elizabethtown College (SEI) uses the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology to measure the social impact of its partner projects and institutions. After careful review of viable social impact measurement methodologies in use today, our team has determined that the SROI tool offers the most robust, flexible and accountable mechanism by which to capture triple bottom line impact.

Versions of the SROI tool have been in existence for nearly 20 years. In its current iteration, it came into wide circulation in the early 2000s in the United Kingdom. Led by Social Value International based in the UK, the SROI methodology has been deployed as a powerful tool used to capture the benefit to society in terms of environmental, social and financial values. The tool is at once flexible in use, allowing the practitioner to adapt it to its specific context, while rigorous enough to assure concerns from external observers as to its validity.

The SEI is confident that the SROI tool is the state-of-the-art social impact measurement tool. Combined with the SEI’s internal expertise in measuring social value, our team offers an unparalleled toolkit to help any social enterprise or social business capture and express the social value of its work.

Literature Review:

  1. Valuing SROI: Social Return on Investment Techniques and Organizational Implementation in the Netherlands and United States
  1. Valuing the Social? The nature and controversies of measuring social return on investment (SROI)
  1. Quantifying our impact: Evaluating the impact of homelessness services and interventions - the challenges of evaluating long-term impact on client life trajectories
  1. The ambitions and challenges of SROI.