The Award wins the Third Sector Leadership Award showing $485 Million in SROI created

From The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation
London, England

Earlier this year The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation’s Research team were awarded The Third Sector Leadership Award for their ground-breaking research into estimating the program’s social value. To find out more about the incredible work recognizing Social Return on Investment across our national offices please read on…

Run by Social Value Portal, The Social Value Awards aim to recognize organizations who champion social value creation and community wellbeing. Having recently finalized ground-breaking impact research which estimates that the Award created an astonishing ÂŁ400 million ($485 Million USD) in social value in 2022, the Foundation made an application to the Third Sector Leadership Award and were thrilled to receive the distinction on April 27, 2022. This award is for a nonprofit (third sector) organization that leads the way in embedding social value into the way in which they deliver their services and has made a significant impact on the needs of the communities where they operate.

The Award: Building a Culture of Social Value

Since 2017, The Foundation have been working with the Sustainability and Climate Change team at PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC) to understand, and ultimately measure, the societal level impact of the Award. This paper introduces the Award’s approach to measuring social value, as the organization begins to uncover the true extent of the impact of the Award on young people and their communities around the world and embarks on a journey to embed social value into its culture and processes.

The Foundation makes this research available to the Award’s National Operators around the world. So far, 13 countries operating the Award have undergone a social value and SROI analysis and have begun embedding social value into their operations in several ways; reporting on impact within annual reports, grant proposals and communications about the Award in their country, and using the learnings from the research in discussions with local politicians and government officials. After conducting country-level analyses with a number of National Award Operators, the Foundation working with PwC then employ a benefits-transfer method that allows the application of survey results to similar countries, in order to make an estimate of the Award’s global social value.

More information about the Award’s theory of change and  research results, including select country-level 2020 social value and SROI results, and the research methodology can be found in the Building the Future Impact report.

Research Results

The Award’s global social value estimation is the product of results from the ten countries where Award Operators ran surveys in 2020 and 2021 with their Award participants (n=2,500), adults who support Award delivery (n=1,115), and Award alumni (n=1,059). PwC developed a benefits-transfer method for The Foundation that has allowed the application of these survey results to similar countries. Combined with country/territory-level economic and social data, as well as the Award’s operational statistics for 2020 for all the countries/territories that the Award operates in, this has resulted in an estimated £400 million ($485 Million USD) in present social value generated due to the Award globally, through the 129,119 Awards completed by young people in 2020.

Elizabeth Higgins-Beard, national CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award USA, recently shared how the social value global results have been positively received, as a way of ascertaining and demonstrating contributions to the socio-economic development of young people and communities across America. Policy makers, institutions, agencies and corporations, now can more easily understand the Award’s impact. This gives the Award a great opportunity to build on relationships for social investment optimization. She states:

“To be able to share that every dollar invested is increased three or fourfold, via measured SROI impact is a gamechanger.  This is a shared impact measure that should inspire government, businesses, foundations, and future partners to build towards the future partnering with The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award USA.”

Social Value Beneficiaries and Quantification

Globally, the Award has had an impact on millions of young people since its inception in 1956. Over the years, the positive impacts of the Award on young people, adult mentors, and wider society have been shown through anecdotal evidence such as stories and testimonials from Award participants and adults who support Award delivery. Through social value research, The Award has now collated quantitative evidence which demonstrates the impacts of the Award, including primary data collected in surveys of Award participants from around the world, and secondary research which validates the impacts of the Award’s activities.

The Award’s current research methodology looks at the impact of the Award on young people, adult mentors, and wider society. Young people experience social value through their participation in each Award section; these activities have been shown to increase regular skills practice, regular physical activity, and regular volunteering as well as increase confidence, agency, social inclusion, and provide relief from depression / anxiety. There are also physical health benefits to participating in the Adventurous Journey (AJ) and activity-based Gold Residential Projects.

Adult mentors experience value through volunteering, increased physical activity from joining participants on their AJs, and learning new skills by completing Award training which sometimes translates to increased earnings. Society benefits through the hours young people spend volunteering for local charitable and community causes during their Voluntary Service section and Gold Projects.

The Award’s current methodology tracks the following measurable impacts of the Award, noted by beneficiary. In the future, the Award Association and Foundation plan to expand the methodology to include more impact areas, including improved environmental impact.

For more information contact:  
The Research Team at

Recognition is deserved by the “Building the Future” collaborators and co-authors, Former Director of Impact, Alumni, Trusts & Foundations, Melek De-Wint; Research Manager, Amy Pearce; Research Analyst, Sigrid Grosseth and the in country Award staff and leadership undertaking SROI measurements for the study.

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