Situating the Next Generation of Impact Measurement and Evaluation for Impact Investing

To support the growth of a stronger evidence base for contributions to positive social and environmental impacts this paper presents a typology for structuring thinking about impact measurement and evaluation for impact investing.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Kaye Stevens.

Authors and their affiliation

Jane Reisman and Veronica Olazabal

The Rockefeller Foundation

Year of publication

2016

Type of resource

  • Discussion paper

  • Example

Key features

The paper provides background information about the development of impact investing and the current impact investing landscape with a particular focus on the need for improved accountability and measurement of social and environmental impacts. Factors that need to be addressed to reduce the gap between the growth of impact investing and the measurement of impact have been identified through consultation with impact investors.

Three propositions are presented to address the impact investment industry’s commitment to measuring and reporting underlying investments are discussed:

  1. Measurement practices (methods, tools, and approaches) need to evolve.
  2. It is imperative to conceive of new measurement practices that borrow from the strengths of both business metrics and social sector evaluation.
  3. Impact theses (logic models) are a foundational element of impact measurement and can apply at both investor and investee levels.

The paper presents a taxonomy of options for measuring impact that addresses some of the risks and barriers identified by investors, the clusters of options are:

  1. Standards
  2. Performance Monitoring
  3. Rigorous Outcome and Impact Measurement
  4. Market Systems Analysis

Each cluster is discussed in detail and case examples are included.

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Advocates for evaluation;
  • Commissioners/managers of evaluation;
  • Evaluators;
  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening;
  • Impact investors

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

This paper will be valuable for anyone seeking to understand the background and current issues in the measurement of social and environmental impacts.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

The paper has been informed by discussions with both evaluators and impact investors and offers perspectives from both fields. 

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