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Economic indicators for at the level of individual people
Economic Indicators at the Community Level

Economic impacts

Social enterprises and other organisations can have substantial effects on the economic situations of individuals, households and communities. Increasing personal or household incomes through jobs is one very direct way, but other ways of influencing people’s economic situations include increasing people’s access to public benefits; providing goods or services that individuals would otherwise have needed to pay for, and giving people access to affordable credit.

In addition to influencing outcomes for individuals, organisations may also have a wider impact on the overall local economy. For example, if a social enterprise chose to source most of its goods and services locally, it might help other local businesses thrive and keep money circulating in the local economy. nef calls this idea ‘local money flows’ and measures what it calls the ‘multiplier effect’.

Who might use these indicators?

The indicator of local economic impact, LM3, can be useful for all organisations in an area in need of, or undergoing, regeneration. Some of the indicators, e.g. around decreasing expenditure, will be useful for social enterprises that provide goods or services to people in need. Others, such as credit unions, will have a role in increasing financial literacy, decreasing people’s risk of problem debt or default, and increasing savings. See the table below


Economic indicators for at the level of individual people:

Increasing individual or family income

Anti-poverty benefit uptake

Improved/increase in salary or wage

Improved work-related benefits

Decreasing individual or household expenditure

Providing essentials below market cost or free

Lower proportion of income spent on the items provided than before

Increase in resources for other necessities

Increase in disposable income/ income for discretionary items

Decrease individual/ household risk of problem debt/ default

Uptake of low-interest loan alternatives to sub-prime lending (at community level)

Decrease in uptake of sub-prime lending (community level)

Individuals decrease use of sub-prime lending

Individuals debt burdens decrease

Increase individual or household savings

Uptake of savings products/accounts

Increase in level of savings

More frequent savings contributions

Retirement savings, or long-term savings


Economic Indicators at the Local Level:

Decrease financial exclusion

Increase financial literacy initiatives

Increase number of people involved with financial literacy initiatives

Increase access to financial services (e.g. savings, cash machines, low-interest loans)

Measurements of uptake of financial services

Increase resources in the local economy

Amount an organisation spends on supplies (goods and services) in its localĀ area

Amount the organisation’s suppliers spend in the local area

See LM3

Social Return on Investment (SROI)