Event Details

Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien
Vienna, Austria
May 12, 2014

Event Description

29 participants engaged in lively discussions at the TSI stakeholders meeting on third sector impact in Vienna, convened by TSI member Dr. Ruth Simsa of Wirtschaftsuniversitäut Wien, who introduced the Third Sector Impact Project.

First, a debate ensued about the determination of third sector impact as opposed to outputs. In this context, much interest was expressed in learning more about the connection of internal processes/output and impact: „How can we learn to produce the same impact in better/more efficient ways?“

Although the Austrian Third Sector is dominated by social service organizations, most impact was identified in the fields culture, political climate, empowerment, and open-mindedness. Stakeholders identified different forms of advocacy and political work as most important third sector impacts, regardless of sector of engagement or specific activities and objectives.They proposed three areas for further investigation:
1. Preservation of the social system, securing social peace;
2. Raising consciousness, empowerment, engagement, self-determination;
3. Influencing policy framework towards recognition of stigmatised groups, protection and strengthening of disadvantaged people.

Ready to think outside the box, Austrian stakeholders raised a number of complex issues around impact that researchers may find challenging:

  • Can impact on the individual level of socially disadvantaged users (i.e. getting education, homes, assistance in difficult situations etc.) actually prevent deeper and more sustainable solutions by failing to address the causes of exclusion?
  • How does non-profit “production” of services differ from other forms of welfare?
  • How to put better evaluation and funding mechanisms in place, based on impact measurement (e.g. decline in risky births due to better information rather than higher number of obstetricians)?
  • What is the connection between organisational structures and impact?