So what do you do?

10 March 2011

Are you, perhaps, a lawyer, or an accountant, or an economist? Or do you have to launch into a long explanation when you get asked this question at a party. Through NPC I know an increasing number of people whose job involves analysing charities. Some of these work in foundations, some in academia and many work in charities themselves. I might call these people charity (or not for profit) analysts. Or I might call them social impact analysts. Either way, I think what they do is vitally important to help charities improve what they do.

Two years ago, NPC and the Bertelsmann foundation ran a conference looking at the appetite for an association of such analysts, the role of which would be to facilitate the sharing of ideas, the development of new standards of analysis, and the promotion of the profession of such people. We wondered whether such an association might help create an accepted profession of social impact analyst. Attendees came from more than 20 countries and enthusiastically welcomed the idea.

After much discussion and reflection, we are now in a position to take the next step and launch an association. The original name —the Association of Nonprofit Analysts—has been changed to the Social Impact Analysts Association, or SIA Association, but otherwise the idea and goals are the same.

The association is being launched jointly by the Bertelsmann Foundation from Germany, the Adessium Foundation from the Netherlands, as well as NPC in the UK. We hope it becomes a truly international body bringing together all who care about analysing not-for-profits, want to learn more as well as share, and seek to develop professionally.

The founders want to help bring SIA Association to life but it is up to the individual members to set an agenda and a path forward. The association will as good as the energy and effort individuals put into it. I hope (and believe) that there is a tremendous appetite for the sorts of opportunities sharing, debating and development that SIA Association will bring.

Turning an idea into an organisation with a plan, events and members requires a lot of hard work. We want to recruit someone to take on this job. More information can be found here. This is a great opportunity to help build and shape a new organisation which could play a major role in the sector.

Over time, the practice and profession of social impact analysis will become recognised, accepted and praised. Making parties so much easier.