CSI announces bold $12M project to catalyse social change on a national scale

31 May 2018

The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) has announced the launch of an ambitious new project aimed at improving social impact on a national scale. Amplify Social Impact™ (Amplify) will provide a range of solutions to help the social sector measure, understand, and achieve social change. 

Amplify will incorporate a platform of online tools, a set of research reports, and a series of events across Australia that will help improve social outcomes in five important social issue areas: housing, education, work, social inclusion, and financial wellbeing. The $12m project has received $5m in stage-gated funding from UNSW Sydney to get it started, and CSI is in the process of forming partnerships and fundraising to enable the achievement of the full project.  

The online platform is an integral part of the overall Amplify strategy. It incorporates the following tools: 

  • Australia’s Social Pulse™, which reveals how it’s tracking in key social issue areas over time, across the country, and across cohorts 

  • Indicator Engine™, which helps organisations find the right indicators to measure so that they know when, where, and how they’re making a difference 

  • Yardstick™, the programs, outcomes, and impact database, which reveals the programs, strategies, and initiatives across the country that are succeeding and providing opportunities for replication and improvement. 

In addition to the online platform, CSI is building an evidence base for key issue areas to provide detailed insights and a benchmark to measure social change. People will then brought together at “Connect and Convene” events to generate ideas and form a national plan of action. 

“In Australia, we spend $500 billion on social purpose, yet more often than not, we have no insights into how effectively we’re helping people,” said Professor Kristy Muir, project owner, and CEO, CSI. “Amplify is our answer to that. This is the first project of its kind that connects evidence, people, technology, and data to reveal the pathway to social impact in Australia.” 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Enterprise, Professor Brian Boyle said the university was proud to support such a worthy initiative. “The vision of Amplify so clearly articulates into our 2025 Strategy of improving and transforming lives and advancing a just society. This project brings together the best of academic research and innovation and will undoubtedly create lasting social impact in Australia, and beyond.” 

The project has received consensus across the spectrum of the social sector, from small community organisations through to large not-for-profits. 

Dr Elli McGavin, National Head of Policy, Research and Social Justice for The Salvation Army, said that Amplify was the first project of its type that looks at enabling social change in this multi-faceted way. 

“The social sector is often under-resourced, with inconsistent benchmarks by which to understand and measure social issues. Amplify provides an opportunity to develop a national view on these key issues and bring collective intelligence to the impact we are achieving.” 

Bec Reidy, Community-Network Developer with Bidwill Uniting, agreed: “For us, as a small not-for-profit, we want to understand not only the impact of our work but also the bigger picture. We want a robust understanding of the issues we’re trying to solve, and a way to tell if our work is making any difference. With a good, standardised outcomes-measurement strategy in place, we’ll know we’re in the best possible place to ensure future funding. More and more, this funding is reliant on demonstrating our outcomes.”  

The Amplify project has received the initial stage of seed funding from UNSW Sydney, and with that expects to release the evidence base for the first social issue area – housing – in June this year, with the first series of Connect and Convene events happening in September on the same issue. Australia’s Social Pulse in beta and the Indicator Engine are due to launch in June 2019.  

Dr Lyndsey McKee, the newly appointed Director, Social Impact Industry, at CSI will steer the project. You can read more about Dr McKee's appointment on the CSI website

To get involved, go to http://amplify.csi.edu.au/contact-us/ 

About the Centre for Social Impact 

The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) is a national research and education centre dedicated to catalysing social change for a better world. CSI is built on the foundation of three of Australia’s leading universities: UNSW Sydney, The University of Western Australia, and Swinburne University of Technology. Our research develops and brings together knowledge to understand current social challenges and opportunities; our postgraduate and undergraduate education develops social impact leaders; and we aim to catalyse change by drawing on these foundations and translating knowledge, creating leaders, developing usable resources, and reaching across traditional divides to facilitate collaborations.