Voicing your support for LGBTQ+ communities is great, but how your organisation takes action becomes the true measure of your commitment. And further to this, in an increasingly socially aware world, how you prove and report on the difference you’re having is the essential next step to spreading awareness and keeping your organisation accountable.
Whether you share it with customers, staff, investors, stakeholders, or the wider community, highlighting your ongoing impacts to the LGBTQ+ community prove your ongoing commitment, support, and dedication to the cause.
How do I know which social impact data to collect?
Firstly, you need to identify the material issues for your organisation. The issues you feel most passionate about and where you want to focus the most of your efforts on. The decision might factor in prevalent LGBTQ+ issues in your local area or the focus of LGBTQ+ charities and organisations near to you.
If you have an LGBTQ+ employee network group in your organisation, it can be valuable to open this decision up to them, giving your LGBTQ+ staff and allies control over the ways in which your organisation can best use its voice and resources to positively impact the community.
What are some examples of issues to consider?
There are many deep-rooted issues that appear time and again at the core of the LGBTQ+ experience.
For example, there’s a disproportionate relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and homelessness – whether by lack of economic stability, disapproving family members, or hostile home environments. It’s been reported that up to 24% of homeless youth in the UK are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Many factors – including economic uncertainty, health inequality, and stigmas surrounding gender, sexuality, and HIV – result in an increased likelihood of members of the LGBTQ+ community suffering from mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or contemplating suicide. In 2018, 52% of LGBTQ+ people had experienced depression in the past year and 61% anxiety, compared to only 25% across the general population.
LGBTQ+ people are also more likely to struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. As well as that, they often experience internal crises over their gender or sexual identity which becomes especially prevalent when intersected with other things like race and culture.
Focusing your social impact efforts on any one of these will prove beneficial and valuable for the LGBTQ+ community, helping to support those suffering and minimising the impact of these common issues for the LGBTQ+ community.
How do we obtain evidence of our impact?
Most measurement frameworks will already have provisions for some of the issues we identified above. For example, HACT’s mental health calculator.
Despite the lack of direct mention of sexual or gender identity in the UN’s SDGs, some of these common issues can be traced within the framework from a more general perspective – although it lacks the specificity that the LGBTQ+ cause deserves. To give a few examples, mental health, HIV stigma, or drug and alcohol abuse could fall under SDG number three: good health and wellbeing. Or homelessness under SDG number 11: sustainable cities and communities.
What’s an example of how we turn our actions into tangible data and evidence?
Let’s say your organisation identified LGBTQ+ homelessness as being a significant focus for your social value generation. Perhaps you’ll have five members of staff volunteering twice a month at the Albert Kennedy Trust (ATK) – a LGBTQ+ homeless charity.
Not only can you collect the data from these volunteering hours to evidence your organisation’s commitment to combat the prevalence of homelessness across the LGBTQ+ community, but you could also perform a wellbeing valuation to generate a monetary equivalent to the impact you’ve been able to have on the lives of actual homeless members of the LGBTQ+ community.
A key part of reporting on your social value is doing so on both the individual and community level. While your volunteer hours show an ongoing commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, you’re also demonstrating the tangible impact you’re having on individual members through the wellbeing valuation.
While you can easily collect data on the time you’ve given and money you’ve raised, tools like a wellbeing valuation equate what these mean in terms of actual real-life value, presenting your impact in easily comparable monetary values. We break this down more in-depth here.
Why is reporting our impact with regard to the LGBTQ+ cause so important?
Social value is all about encouraging meaningful change for people and the planet, benefitting lives across the world. The LGBTQ+ community makes up a significant portion of the world’s population, making the LGBTQ+ cause increasingly important for us to focus on.
For businesses, to get behind the LGBTQ+ cause and do what we can to improve lives across the world is simply the right thing to do. We’ve moved past the point where inclusive practices inside your organisation are enough. Reporting on the wider impact you’re having on the LGBTQ+ community keeps you accountable and brings your organisation’s impacts to the forefront of everything you do.
A few weeks ago, we touched on how the UN didn’t incorporate sexual or gender identity in their 17 SDGs, failing to recognise and support the LGBTQ+ community. There is still plenty of progress to be made in achieving LGBTQ+ equality and inclusivity. By reporting on your efforts, you further this conversation and do your part in encouraging widespread social change.
How will reporting benefit my business?
As we mentioned before, engaging with the LGBTQ+ community and looking for ways to combat the deep-rooted issues faced by individuals within the community is the right thing to do. And not only this, but we’ve reached a stage of social consciousness where failing to do anything can lead to long-term damage to an organisation’s reputation.
There are plenty of ways reporting on your efforts towards the LGBTQ+ cause can prove beneficial. For example, for internal staff wellbeing. Staff want to be part of organisations who share similar values to them – whether they’re LGBTQ+ themselves or allies. 72% of employees would even leave an organisation for one that was more inclusive. Going above and beyond for the community can improve employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, and attract new staff.
Another benefit could be if you wanted to ensure all your inclusivity processes and practices were mirrored across your organisation’s entire supply chain. To determine that everyone you work alongside shares your commitment and values. Reporting allows you to use your own organisation as a benchmark to ensure an ongoing, similar commitment from all partner organisations, supply chains, or shareholders. It spreads the positive impact you’re having outside your organisation and encourages a greater positive impact from those surrounding you.
Standing with the LGBTQ+ community and looking for ways that your organisation can have a positive impact and improve the LGBTQ+ experience is a great thing to do. But it’s also just the right thing to do. Partnering with LGBTQ+ charities or encouraging staff to volunteer at organisations that target common issues experienced by the LGBTQ+ community is only half the battle. What’s also essential is how you evidence and demonstrate the specific impacts you’ve had to your staff, stakeholders, customers, and the wider community.
With Impact, we help you to measure, monitor, and report your organisation’s non-financial data. By visualising your progress and tracking your real-world impacts, you can continue to generate more social value in line with long-term strategies and goals. To find out more, get in touch with us on 0161 532 4752.