In an exciting development this week, a brand new WOSM Service on social impact measurement was launched! This pioneering service is designed to provide National Scout Organizations (NSOs) with the tools and resources necessary to measure the impact of Scouting on the personal development of young people.  

Understanding the transformative power of Scouting is at the heart of this new service. It offers NSOs with a range of resources to explain the concept of social impact and provide methodologies to measure it, as well as access to trained consultants ready to support the process of conducting research on impact. 

Through the service, NSOs can gain crucial insight into the many dimensions of personal growth within the Scouting community, helping them identify where Scouting has the most impact and areas that could be further developed. In today’s competitive landscape, marked by heightened pressure to secure funding, partners, and greater recognition, the ability to demonstrate impact can help NSOs enhance their reputation, develop partnerships, and expand membership. 

The new Social Impact Service is truly ground-breaking for several reasons. First, it empowers all NSOs to undertake impact measurement using a toolkit, reducing their reliance on external consultants. Secondly, the research methodology was developed specifically for the context of Scouting and non-formal education, making it tailored for volunteers and staff from NSOs to implement. Over time, as more NSOs adopt this methodology, the service will help paint a detailed regional and global picture of Scouting’s profound impact. 

A key component of the services the Impact Measurement Toolkit, built on two previous pilot projects undertaken with seven NSOs from across the globe. The toolkit is a key outcome of the Measuring the Impact of Youth Organisations project, a joint effort between the European Scout Region, YMCA Europe, and Maynooth University, was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme and the Eric Frank Trust. 

The methodology’s development involved NSOs and YMCA member organisations, alongside the Centre for Youth Research and Development at Maynooth University, ensuring the research's integrity and relevance. Pilot tests conducted by Les Scouts, Scouting Ireland, Sojuz na Izvidnici na Makedonija, Scouterna, Junák – český skaut and YMCA Netherlands refined and validated this approach. Also, five NSOs from the Africa, Arab, Asia-Pacific, and Interamerica regions are implementing the study. You can watch a short video and read a web story from the project event.  

As WOSM looks to the future, we anticipate extending the service to include community and institutional level impact measurements. For the moment, NSOs are encouraged to explore the resources, toolkit, and support available on the Treehouse Service page, as we mark this a significant step towards understanding and enhancing the social impact of Scouting on a global scale.