Most people involved in staging major events have experienced their potential to have positive effects on the people and communities that interact with them. Major events have the power to mobilise large numbers of people and create meaningful impacts on their lives in a number of different ways. At a basic level this might simply be the creation of an enjoyable or pleasurable experience for spectators. At an advanced level this might be the creation of an opportunity that positively changes peoples' long-term behaviour. In either case, these impacts have almost always been observed anecdotally but rarely captured through a structured approach to impact measurement.

eventIMPACTS seeks to provide the starting point for a more structured approach to the measurement of the social impacts of events. The impacts and guidance captured here are by no means complete, they are purposefully not prescriptive, and will be open to interpretation to a far greater degree than other areas such as economic impact. Whilst social impacts are not generally measured against fixed or numerical outcomes, it is however perfectly possible to provide evidence of delivery and outcomes for social impacts in both qualitative and quantitative ways.

The reason for measuring social impacts can often be linked directly to the aims and objectives of the event funders. It is important to recognise that satisfying the objectives of a stakeholder should not offer the only incentive to measure the social impacts of events. Any event organiser should wish to understand how their event impacts on the perceptions and behaviour of people (whether directly or indirectly).

Social impacts are unlikely to happen by chance and must be managed if they are to occur. The starting point in delivering specific social impacts is for an event to have clearly stated aims and objectives that describe the delivery mechanisms by which the planned impacts will occur.

eventIMPACTS has identified four areas of social impacts. These are by no means exhaustive, but they offer a framework which allows many aspects to be covered.

Download - Social Measures toolkit here (pdf)


The measure of peoples' experience of attending an event

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Identity and Image

Measures of peoples' changed perceptions of a host city/region as a place.

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The impact of engaging with an event to bring about a change in people's interest in participating in a certain activity

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Volunteering and Skills

The impact of acquiring new skills or experiences through working or volunteering at an event

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