This paper explores and clarifies the significance of aligning mission, objectives and strategy with impact measurement in social entrepreneurship. We present a framework for understanding the value created by social entrepreneurs, presenting theoretical and practical insights into impact measurement. Drawing on case studies in latin america, we suggest the presence of a ‘mission measurement paradox’ that affects social entrepreneurs in their attempts to measure social impact and understand value creation. The paradox suggests that social entrepreneurs are failing to evaluate their social impact with sufficient regard to their social mission. Preconceptions resulting from the use of traditional management approaches in social enterprises are presented, with guidance on how these can be avoided by both researchers and practitioners.