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07 May. 2019 | Comments (0)
This case study is taken from Toward Standardized Social Outcomes for Companies, which was published in collaboration with the Impact Genome Project and generously supported by Moody's. The report is available to download free from The Conference Board.
The Allstate Corporation: Key Facts
- Serves more than 16 million households worldwide.
- Four main initiatives of The Allstate Foundation
- Good Starts Young®, which has raised $10 million from young people and donated it to organizations supporting local and global causes
- Purple Purse®, which has provided 1.3 million domestic violence survivors with financial literacy resources
- Helping Hands®, which has managed volunteers who have donated 1.5 million hours since 2011
- The Nonprofit Leadership Center, which has empowered 1,000 nonprofit leaders to better help their organizations
- The Allstate Foundation goal: “To empower all people to imagine and achieve better for themselves and their community.”
The social impact measurement challenge
The Allstate Foundation has measured the social impact and business value of its community investments for more than 10 years, but without benchmarking capabilities to help validate its work, the foundation and, importantly, its trustees were not able to understand the full results of its funding, including successes and challenges. This lack of insight hampered the organization from pursuing continuous improvement and innovation.
With a corporate culture that values data and benchmarking, the Allstate Foundation was also lacking a data-driven social impact measurement framework that aggregated metrics across its entire portfolio.
“Our trustees knew transforming our social impact measurement strategy required a significant investment and were driven to ensure it was science-based and backed by data. Because our trsutees are all business leaders in the corporation, they knew how important data can be to evaluate work and determine best practices.” Susan Duchak, Senior Manager, Corporate Relations, Allstate Foundation
Using the Impact Genome Project
In 2018, the Allstate team updated its metrics and devised an outcomes-based social impact measurement and reporting strategy utilizing the Impact Genome Project (IGP).
When it began working with the IGP, The Allstate Foundation required all of its partners receiving over $10,000 to use the tool, but it also opened participation to all grantees. Duchak said: “We were very surprised so many of our partners participated, even those who weren’t required to.”
Allstate understood that transitioning to a new reporting framework was a significant change for its nonprofit partners, many of which wanted to know why Allstate was asking them to change their reporting practices and how their data would be used and others that struggled to provide the information that was being requested of them and hence became frustrated with the time it took to complete the survey. It was important for those partners to see the process as a collaboration that would yield benefits for both sides, and the nonprofit community as a whole. In some instances, Allstate had to take particular care to explain the initiative and to get buy-in from nonprofit partners. Ultimately, the company sees the IGP as a partnership, so it will conduct a survey of its nonprofit partners to get feedback from them about the process and the results to make sure that there is a mutual benefit.
In 2019, Allstate will use IGP scorecards to inform the conversations its program officers have with grantees prior to making grants. The scorecards are not the only tool the team will use to make grantmaking decisions, but they have provided valuable insights.
Among other things, the foundation learned that its average cost per outcome in the youth social impact area particularly was lower than other funders, providing both validation of the organization’s work and a methodologically sound reporting framework to communicate successes internally and publicly.
Additionally, Allstate learned that a number of nonprofit partners were relying on anecdotal information to report their social impact, yielding an opportunity for the organization to coach its partners on how to improve their metrics and data collection practices.
These results have driven conversations with nonprofit partners that will help to yield further conclusions in the near future and the Allstate team is excited about the possibility that nonprofit partners will be able to evaluate their programs against others using comparable benchmarks.
Duchak says: “Today, corporate funders are focused on measuring effectiveness. We work to ensure every dollar we invest in our communities is truly having an impact. Philanthropy should be about taking actions based on the best data possible to drive decisions and measure performance. The Impact Genome can seem daunting at first, but it’s all worth it in the end.”