The evaluation of the associative actions, a double-edged sword

A report dedicated to the evaluation of associative actions was submitted to the Government in April 2022. It defends the principle without ignoring the risks that an excessively financial, exclusively quantitative or purely external evaluation can bring to associations.

Social impact has become firmly established in the associative landscape as a necessary condition for the legitimacy of associative action. If what we do is useful, valid, positive, etc., we have to test, measure, evaluate. As Yannick Blanc, of Fonda, explains, “the measurement of social impact has become, for the associations and other actors of the ESS. [économie sociale et solidaire, ndlr]a major strategic issue. […] The SSE is expected only with benevolence if it demonstrates its effectiveness and its relevance. “” Since your raison d’être is a promise of social transformation, give us tangible indications of the relevance of your commitment,” it is said. The technical name of this injunction is the measurement of social impact “(1).


The report requested by Sarah El Haïry in 2021, when she was Secretary of State in charge of Youth and Engagement, aims to answer a question: “How to position the evaluation in a way that provides information on the achievement of the objectives of a public policy. – when it is based on the mobilization of the associative sector – while serving the associative project? All the tension that goes through the measurement of social impact is summarized in this question.

Obliged by the funders (public, but also more and more private), the evaluation is often perceived by the associations as a constraint or control… while, as the authors of the report tell us , should rather be conceived as “a continuous improvement process. of the associative action and, consequently, of a strengthening of confidence in the relationship between the public authority and the association […] Each party must emerge as a winner from the implementation of the evaluation. » Public authorities ensuring the correct use of grants and associations questioning their governance, their strategy, their organization and the implementation of their actions and their impacts. An ideal “win-win” approach… with a few conditions.

Rating, yes but…

The authors of the report, the general delegate of IDEAS (a labeling institute for non-profit organizations),[…]

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