Cost-Benefit and SROI Analysis

Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and cost-benefit analysis (CBA) are powerful tools that help maximize the impact of public investments. CEA determines the costs necessary to achieve specific outcomes, while CBA compares programmatic costs with their financial benefits. Social return on investment (SROI) analysis is a form of CBA which focuses on social benefits, such as improved health, environmental, or educational outcomes. CBA is a powerful tool to that allows funders, policymakers, and other stakeholders to make the most efficient use of limited resources to make ositive change.

Our work in cost-benefit and SROI analysis includes:

  • Estimating unit costs to provide services, including variable costs for different types of participants or different program models
  • Evaluating program effects for participants compared to non-participants
  • Determining cost-effectiveness metrics based on inputs and measurable outcomes
  • Applying standardized outcome measures such as DALYs and QALYs to compare diverse programs
  • Quantifying benefits, including direct program savings and benefits to society
  • Determining social return on investment (SROI) and cost-benefit ratios to compare investment options

Program Examples

The Moral Imperative Of Effective Altruism

This past August, a thousand or so entrepreneurs gathered in Berkeley, California to talk about making the world a better place. They represented the usual suspects you’d find at a Bay Area conference – data wonks, business strategists, venture capitalists, and...

Palm Beach County Social Return On Investment (SROI) Analyses


BRC is working with the Children’s Services Council (CSC) of Palm Beach County to estimate the social return on investment (SROI) of the CSC’s programs. The analyses are based on the costs and social benefits of the CSC’s investments in early childhood education, professional development and quality improvement, family supports, and other programs. Benefits are calculated by reviewing the most recent literature on outcomes and economic benefits of each of the CSC’s program, adjusting for local costs. The resulting analyses will be used to help identify the most effective ways for the CSC to invest its funding and to communicate the value of the CSC’s programs to stakeholders.

Pay For Success Technical Support

BRC is working with the Sorensen Impact Center at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business to provide technical support for Pay For Success programs across the West. BRC’s role includes providing cost-benefit analysis, evaluation consultation, and research design support for communities and organizations considering Pay for Success programs in early childhood.

Latest News

The Moral Imperative Of Effective Altruism

This past August, a thousand or so entrepreneurs gathered in Berkeley, California to talk about making the world a better place. They represented the usual suspects you’d find at a Bay Area conference – data wonks, business strategists, venture capitalists, and...

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Strengthening Colorado’s Early Childhood Workforce

BRC is partnering with the Butler Institute at the University of Denver to better understand the economic contribution of the child care sector, and to determine sustainable strategies for building a highly qualified workforce.

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Presentation at the Early Childhood Social Impact Performance Advisors Conference

Each year, the Annual Conference of the Early Childhood Social Impact Performance Advisors hosts one of the nation’s most dynamic conversations about the feasibility, research, and policy implications of Pay for Success programs. The conference is organized by the Institute for Child Success, Ready Nation, and Sorenson Impact Center at the University of Utah, with whom I partner as a Senior Research Fellow.

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Two Definitions of Child Care Quality

As I think about the conversations I heard about early childhood in the past year, I find people are usually speaking the same language.  At conferences, in journals, and in legislative chambers, those of us who live within the early childhood realm generally agree...

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The Five Warning Signs Of EAU (Evaluation As Usual)

Is your organization suffering from Evaluation As Usual (EAU)?  Symptoms of EAU include overly enthusiastic language about successes, wish-washy discussion of potentially negative results, and a general lack of objective and critical data analysis and discussion....

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