I joined Social Value Aotearoa in March 2020 with a background of research and network management, but little specific knowledge about Social Return on Investment as a methodology. It has been such a journey learning from our members this past year, and delving deep into the world of measuring social value, placing stakeholders at the heart, and learning about how to measure the change that matters to communities.
Social Value Aotearoa is a membership community and we have a huge range of members, from expert researchers and practitioners to small non-profits, corporates, and iwi organisations. Everyone is at a different place on their impact management journey, and most say to me ‘we’re just not quite there yet’. The thing about this field is that you never really arrive, it’s a journey. We want to celebrate all our members for being on the journey, regardless of where you are.
In my personal journey, I committed to achieving the Level One Certification of Associate SROI Practitioner. This involved attending an SROI training (I actually went to a couple to really cement the knowledge) and studying for an online exam. The process to register for the exam is easy enough, just filling in a few forms and making the payment for processing – SVA can help you with this process if getting certified is something you are interested in.
I spent about a week studying for a few hours a day, mostly just re-creating the content from the SROI training I had been to for myself to make sure I had revised all the key concepts and had my information all in one place. Because it’s an online exam it makes it open book, which means investing some time into getting your notes together is well worth it.
The exam itself was less stressful than I had prepared for – I hope that this blog gives readers some confidence that this is definitely a doable challenge! It is a timed exam with different sections, each reflecting one of the six principles of SROI. The exam has now changed its format slightly from when I completed it, and it’s now made up of a combination of fill in the gap, true/false, and multi-choice questions. Another perk to the new exam model is that it’s fully automated, meaning you can get your results back straight away.
For me, completing the exam was as much about finalising and validating my learning as it was about gaining a formal certification. SROI is a relatively new field but it’s an increasingly popular methodology that non profits, public sector organisations, and even some corporates are interested in, making it a valuable certification to gain.
We would love to develop the practitioner community here in New Zealand. I’m very happy to talk about my experience getting certified and to help guide others through the process, just get in touch.
Project Lead, Social Value Aotearoa