Building Social Impact Ecosystems and Infrastructure in the Yukon

Image by Nadezhda Buravleva

Written by Angela de Burger

The Adopting Common Measures program is highlighting key social purpose organizations across Canada and showcasing their impact and the progress they are making towards a more sustainable future for Canadians in keeping with Canada’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Interest in social impact measurement has been growing steadily in the Yukon and Jaret Slipp is excited to see where it’s leading. 

Throughout his career in the social service sector, Jaret has focused on making a difference for people and places. Over time, he wanted to find ways to increase his ability to affect change and measure lasting social impact. This led him to complete an MBA in Social Enterprise Leadership at the University of Fredericton – the first degree of its kind in Canada. 

 

Jaret Slipp

“I’ve always seen myself as an entrepreneur working within the social service sector, so being innovative and determining if actions are creating impact is important to me,” says Jaret. Now working as a consultant for social enterprises in the Yukon, he takes every opportunity to expand his knowledge base so he can build and share tools and information with his clients. 

The value of a community of practice

With his ongoing interest in social enterprise, impact tracking and measurement, Jaret says it was a natural fit to join the social impact measurement Community of Practice, hosted by Social Innovation Canada.

“As a group, we explore many different facets of social impact measurement and engage in thoughtful conversation about how it can be done efficiently with an effective dashboard,” says Jaret. They don’t shy away from talking about the challenges that can come with various measurement approaches either, which has helped the group figure out answers so they can move forward with confidence. 

Jaret says he is interested in determining both financial and activities metrics that can be tracked across sectors, making it possible to compare and contrast results with other organizations for greater cross-sector information sharing.

Social impact-focused ecosystem building

Right now, Jaret estimates that there are more than 700 nonprofits and social enterprises in the Yukon and each one is at a different stage of measuring their impact. 

“A social entrepreneurship and social finance ecosystem is emerging in the Yukon,” says Jaret. At this time, he sees various people and organizations engaging in this work however they are doing it independently. He is optimistic that more collaborations will come with time, in addition to further structures and tools to do it successfully. 

He has been researching and working on ways to establish social finance structures for several years. Working in partnership with several organizations, including Yukonstruct Society and Yukon Venture Angels, Jaret is exploring how to blend and create a pool of capital as well as create matching investment opportunities in the Yukon. He also sees an opportunity for establishing a place-based social impact fund that will place a high value on social impact outcomes in addition to financial returns. 

Jaret envisions a day when a Yukon-focused fund is available to access, serving the region’s needs and accelerating local economic development. Key areas of focus could include housing and working with Indigenous communities to support their needs. 

Determining what to measure

Jaret shares that the organizations he works with are currently measuring their core activities, desired impacts and key performance indicators within reporting frameworks they have developed themselves. He believes that community supporters and funders would also be interested in learning about the organizations’ theories of change and how they are working towards measuring a deeper level of impact. 

He has not yet seen alignments to global impact indicator frameworks, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but thinks it’s likely that those links will be made in future iterations of these groups’ frameworks. 

“A collaborative, coordinated impact framework could be coming, but that’s down the line a little,” says Jaret. “The reality is that funding is shrinking so organizations are being pressed to think about things differently. To attract and retain funders, organizations are increasingly being asked to convey their impact through clear metrics, showing real value through concrete social return on investment metrics per dollar of funding. Moving forward, this may change how they view social impact measurement.”

Jaret notes that although there is some social impact language being used in the government environment, there are no standardized definitions or understanding of what is meant by various terms and descriptions. Developing a common language and understanding between funders and social impact organizations on these topic areas may be challenging in the short-term as all parties learn and develop alongside one another. However, the opportunities for making deep, long-lasting social impact will make these efforts worthwhile. 

Optimistic for the future

Jaret is looking ahead to the coming years with optimism. He is dedicated to working with social purpose organizations in the region to support them in building an impact baseline for their work, establishing a sustainable impact measurement practice and becoming investment ready. He also plans to engage with Indigenous communities and groups on the topic of social impact measurement. 

The building blocks of a strong, social impact-focused ecosystem are present in the Yukon. Jaret is committed to helping develop the infrastructure, including investment and funding opportunities, that will lead to even greater impact and community success. 

Related Stories