Back in May 2009, NPC and Bertelsmann Stiftung broke new ground when they brought together over 200 charity professionals to talk about social impact analysis. Over two thirds of those who came to the Valuing impact conference agreed that an organisation dedicated to helping professional non-profit analysts would be useful. Conversations were continued following the event, and the seeds were sown for a new organisation.

Today, two-and-a-half years on, and after much planning and discussion about what such an organisation would look like, the Social Impact Analysts Association (SIAA) launches with a sold-out ‘unconference’ in central London. The launch will bring together over 100 attendees from non-profits, funders and grant-makers, government, academia and the media.

If you aren’t joining us today, you can follow events as they unfold via live coverage on the SIAA blog or via Twitter with the hashtag #SIAALaunch. After the launch, videos, photos and other content will be available to download from our website.

The morning of the launch will focus on the current state of play for social impact analysis, with speakers including Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, Michael Green, co-author of Philanthrocapitalism, Caroline Hartnell, editor of Alliance Magazine, Darin McKeever, deputy director, charitable sector at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Rob Owen, chief executive of St. Giles Trust. The afternoon will centre on discussing specific challenges practitioners of impact analysis face, and what SIAA’s role will be in helping its members to overcome these issues in the future. The day will conclude with the opportunity to sign up to some discrete tasks with which we can move forward, followed by some well-deserved drinks.

The aim of the conference is to engage with broader questions about what we mean by social impact, who is involved and why it matters, while also pinning down tangible and practical next steps to help move forward the practice of social impact analysis. Our full programme is available here.

SIAA’s launch is part of an ongoing conversation with social impact analysts about how we can best help them. Between September and end of November 2011, SIAA has recruited over 70 founding members from ten different countries, who we have extensively consulted with. SIAA’s launch, with participants coming from twelve different countries, will bring even more people into this conversation. We hope you are as excited as we are to be a part of it.

Sarah Duncan is an intern for the Social Impact Analysts Association (SIAA). To find out more about SIAA, and how to join, visit their website.

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