Project design – by thinking through the outcomes sought and using the calculator to consider the evidence that the project will need to collect, the engine will test the project’s proposed approach and how it contributes to: the sustainability of a geographical area, the project’s direct benefit to the community, and its benefit to an individual. When a calculation is completed, it provides helpful projections (particularly through encouraging you to unearth previously unforeseen outcomes) to support the development of projects/activities in the future.
Project outcomes – the engine provides a monetary value to the outcomes produced by your project, demonstrating the full range of impacts you have achieved rather than just the outputs alone.
Comparison – the measure is a means of comparing (in relative terms) the value of your project’s achievements and benchmarking them against the results of other projects that have undertaken a social value assessment. If you are a funder, the engine will enable you to accumulate a bank of data over time that demonstrates the generic characteristics of certain types of projects. For example, capital investment in community buildings will have a longer duration of impact (due to the physical manifestation of the investment) than many revenue projects (where the impact will only be linked to the beneficiaries for the duration of the funding itself). Projects which deliver outcomes in expensive public services activities, for example health care or crime prevention, have a relatively higher Social Value than those which cover less expensive areas of public activity. The engine will help you understand these issues in terms of your planning processes, particularly when you use it for forecasting.
Engagement – the Engine has been developed to democratise the assessment of social value. It provides anyone with an interest, with the tools, to undertake their own assessment of social value. These include academically robust financial proxies related to the key components of a sustainable community. By involving those individuals who have participated in a project in assessing its outcomes the engine helps people identify why and how it helped them and highlights any areas where it was less successful and might be changed in the future. It puts them in the technical driving seat.