Ashoka has pioneered the fields of social entrepreneurship and made great strides in committing the world to framework change since its founding in 1980. From the beginning, measuring the impact of its efforts has been a top priority for the global Ashoka team. We define impact as systemic changes, affecting large numbers of people, that flow from the social entrepreneurs, their ideas, and the networks that Ashoka supports.
How do we know if Ashoka Fellows change systems? What systems do they change? These questions and more are answered in Ashoka’s Impact Studies. Every two years, a selection of Fellows answer a battery of questions to help Ashoka assess the efficacy of the Fellowship program and how it could be improved. These studies consistently show that about 80 percent of Ashoka Fellows have changed a national-level system in at least one way within 10 years of their election to the Ashoka Fellowship. In 2013, 87 percent of Ashoka Fellows surveyed indicated that Ashoka had helped to increase the impact of their work, with 49 percent saying that Ashoka had made a “critical difference” in their efforts.
Apart from the impact of the Fellows network, Ashoka is committed to helping the world adapt to an age that increasingly is defined by change rather than repetition. Through partnerships with media leaders and journalists, Ashoka has helped define social entrepreneurship and what it means to live in an Everyone A Changemaker world. Ashoka’s Changemaker Schools Network is a global community of more than 1,100 leading elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as universities, that prioritize empathy, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and changemaking as student outcomes. Through Ashoka’s Youth Venture program, founded in 1986, nearly 5,000 teams of young people have launched and led their own community-serving ventures. These ventures serve thousands more people.
Ashoka’s impact is both multifaceted and far-reaching, spanning many levels of change in many nations across the globe. Going forward, we will continue to seek and develop sophisticated means of measuring the impact of Ashoka’s efforts and improving their effectiveness.