Centrum für soziale Investitionen und Innovationen | Centre for Social Investment
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Meta-analysis of SROI Studies

A Comparative Analysis of Published SROI Studies (2002-2012)

1. Overview

2. CSI Team

3. About CSI

Study contact:

1. Overview of the Study

How can we measure the social impact an organization or a project is creating? In recent years there has been much progress with the development and application of the SROI (Social Return on Investment) methodology. However, the field suffers from strong intransparency with no-one knowing about in which areas SROI studies have been realized, what kind of study designs have been used, what impact indicators (and “proxies”) have been applied, who initiated these studies etc.

Our meta surveys the SROI methodology in terms of its practical prominence and scope. Which are the primary fields or problems SROI is applied to? What kinds of methodologies are used in studies published as SROI analyses?

We explore these and related questions in order to map and systemize the broad range of practical applications. Our results shed light on a prospering field and both help SROI practitioners improve as well as push forward the methodological development of SROI.

After performing an extensive analysis and several rounds of careful reviews, we are pleased to announce the official release of the SROI meta-analysis. You can download the document here:

CSI SROI Meta-analysis 2013

We hope you have an enjoyable and informative read and look forward to receiving your comments and entering into discussion. You can contact us via: SROI@csi.uni-heidelberg.de

Thanks a lot to all practitioners that have provided (hints to) published and confidential SROI studies for the analysis!


2. SROI Meta-analysis Team

Gorgi Krlev

Gorgi Krlev

Research Associates
Phone: +49 6221 /
Dr. Robert Muenscher

Dr. Robert

Former CSI Head
of Advisory Services
Professor at University
of Applied Sciences Worms
Phone: +49 6221 /

Katharina Mülbert


Student Assistant
Phone: +49 6221 /
Dr. Georg Mildenberger

Dr. Georg

CSI Head of Research
Phone: +49 6221 /

Contact: For any questions, do not hesitate to use SROI@csi.uni-heidelberg.de or contact Gorgi Krlev directly.


3. About CSI

The Centre for Social Investment is a central academic institute of the University of Heidelberg cooperating with the economics, social science, law and theological faculties. Its mission is to improve the theoretical and practical understanding of social investment through research, teaching, networking and consulting.

The Centre for Social Investment was founded by Prof. Dr. Helmut Anheier and Dr. Volker Then on July 1st, 2006 at the University of Heidelberg. Since its foundation, CSI has been growing rapidly and has become an important voice in the civil society debate.

Principal Tasks and Activities

To serve its objectives, the Centre engages in four principal, integrated tasks on an ongoing basis: Research, Teaching, Convening, and Outreach. These tasks are being translated into concrete programs and activities:

  • Research... carry out research relevant to social investment, philanthropy, civil society, social economy, hybridity and social impact measurement; engage in national, international, and comparative research, with special emphasis on Europe; contribute to basic theoretical understanding, applied knowledge and policy debates in the field; and embed the emerging field of social investment studies in the major social sciences disciplines while encouraging inter-disciplinary approaches ...
  • Teaching... co-ordinate teaching on social investment, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, and civil society across university faculties and departments; contribute to Ph.D., graduate and undergraduate education; offer a range of executive training programs, including a summer academy to foster leadership and policy skills and to build management capacity...
  • Convening... serve as the forum for, and intellectual engine of, policy debates in the field by bringing together practitioners, policy experts and researchers, nationally, in Europe, and internationally; provide a neutral platform for the development and discussion of new approaches and innovative thinking in the field...
  • Outreach... disseminate research results, teaching material, and policy-relevant findings to diverse academic and practitioner audiences as well as policymakers; offer advisory and consulting services, reaching out to existing and emerging practitioner and policy communities at the European level; generate greater awareness of issues relating to social investment .

Our interdisciplinary team combines knowledge and know-how from various fields including business and organizational psychology, business studies, economics and educational science.

To learn more visit CSI's web pages.

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