The Beneficiary Voice in Impact Measurement for Social Entrepreneurship
There has been a significant rise in the use of impact measurement in Canada’s social entrepreneurship sector, but to what consequence? Using user-centered innovation and reflexivity theory, this paper explores the extent to which beneficiary voices are represented in the impact measurement frameworks set by powerful funders. Through investigating two case studies, I find that beneficiaries are being marginalized in the impact measurement process, limiting the practice of user-centered innovation. Further, I find that funders are using impact measurement as a legitimating tool, which means that this marginalization is having negative sector wide impacts including leaving the most vulnerable groups behind. This paper addresses the lack of research regarding the consequences of funder-led impact measurement practices in the social entrepreneurship sector and acts as a call to action for funding organizations to reconsider their impact measurement practices and significantly amplify the beneficiary voice.