The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the topic of the analysis and illustrate how the overall book is going to develop. It highlights why the practice of social impact assessment is strategic for social enterprises. As for the key role that social mission plays in this kind of organizations, they have to find a way to measure and monitor the fulfillment of this mission. From this perspective, assessing social impact has both internal and external benefit: it allows to assess resources allocation and to keep stakeholders informed about achieved results. The chapter also explains some of the main barriers that could hamper the implementation of the process. The specificities of social enterprises pose the need for suited models to assess this kind of impact, as financial measurement standards are unsuitable to track social and environmental outcomes. However, a wide range of models exist that can help managers driving the process. Finally the structure of the remaining chapters is outlined.
KeywordsSocial entrepreneurship Social mission Social impact assessment Models Self-assessment
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