The materials offered here are illustrations of my knowledge products. I produce briefs, working papers, articles, webinars, videos, and other products that help us be smart, innovative, and intentional in our social impact work.
Traditional social sector and international development organizations have prioritized measuring the impacts of their work for decades. Understanding the ways in which they are bringing about change or helping people and communities has long been part of the traditional social sector ethos. And, accountable to taxpayers, funders, and a diligent global community, these organizations have long felt the pressure for demonstrating tangible results. Consequently, most international development and social sector organizations have embraced a practice of robust measurement and evaluation and invested in the processes, systems, tools, capacity building, and partnerships necessary for assessing the progress and outcomes of their work.
The emergence of new actors dedicated to using market forces and capital markets for social good—such as impact investors, for example—has dramatically increased the pool of funding available to solve complex social problems. With a dual focus of generating good at the same time as financial returns, market actors, specifically impact investors, have fundamentally disrupted the old way of doing business.
The Measuring Impact Performance session at Total Impact Conference 2018 in Philadelphia shared the story of the impact investing community’s journey towards impact measurement and management. Beginning with a presentation, the session sought to clarify the problem that needs to be solved in IMM, situate progress that is being made, and share practical and relevant solutions across the spectrum of impact investing. In the panel discussion that followed, Patsy Doerr of Thomson Reuters, Jim Lumberg of Envestnet, and Brian Trelstad of Bridges Fund Management shared their perspectives and experiences. The slides linked here present key points from the session and serve as a useful orientation to the IMM field for investors, wealth managers, and evaluators alike.
Putting "Impact" at the Center of Impact Investing: A case study of how Green Canopy designed its impact thesis
More than ever before, investors are looking to put their money where their values are. As a result, impact investing has burgeoned into an over $100 billion industry in just over ten years.
But how do impact investors know whether their money is truly having a positive impact on people and the planet? How can these investors better manage their results, and use material data – both positive and negative – about social and environmental performance to maximize their impact?
This case study documents the journey of one organization, Green Canopy Homes – and its financing arm, Green Canopy Capital – in the development of their impact thesis. As the second case study in a series supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, this piece shares practical insights on how to systematically think about, measure, and manage impact.
Putting “Impact” at the Center of Impact Investing: A Case Study of Toniic’s T100 Project.
The Rockefeller Foundation has just released Putting “Impact” at the Center of Impact Investing: A Case Study of Toniic’s T100 Project which I prepared with my colleague Haley Millet. Toniic’s T100 Project is making significant strides in developing and applying practical and relevant approaches to measuring impact and deepening the practices of impact management among impact investors during this vibrant time when numerous organizations have been building conventions for communicating, measuring and managing impact.
This report offers a close-up view of the development of T100 which is building evidence about social and environmental performance and their relationship to financial performance in impact investing — all framed within the 17 Sustainable Development Goals using an accessible framework which Toniic developed. This report highlights the T100 trifecta—tools that deepen impact investors’ understanding of their portfolios’ financial and impact dimensions, a community of practice that shares investors’ journeys and intends to inspire a broader community of investors, and a longitudinal data base that is publicly available and robust enough for academic research. Through accounts of the experiences and perspectives of Toniic partners, members and staff involved in T100, the report shares areas of progress, points of tension, and broader lessons for advancing the use of valuable data to strengthen and grow impact investing for addressing global goals.
Situating the Next Generation of Impact Measurement and Evaluation for Impact Investing (with Veronica Olazabal)
This timely discussion paper, co-authored with Veronica Olazabal from The Rockefeller Foundation, addresses the landscape of impact measurement and evaluation as impact investing continues to gain popularity as a mechanism for generating social and environmental impact. The paper asserts three propositions that are intended to advance the impact industry’s accountability to its commitment to measuring, managing and reporting underlying investments. It further offers a menu of measurement approaches based on a review of existing and promising practices–that connects impact measurement to the evaluation field of monitoring and evaluation. The next generation of impact measurement and evaluation are anticipated to leverage the strengths of both business and finance metrics as well as social science – based evaluation methods.
I2L2: A Formula for Change (with Anne Gienapp and Tom Kelly)
This working paper makes the case for a broader view of the key elements that add up to social impact that is durable and robust. Changes in lives and the environment are the end game for social impact, however, intentional consideration of influence, leverage, and learning rounds out the equation for change.
Streams of social impact work (with Carlyn Orians, Robert Picciotto, Edward Jackson, Karim Harji, Nancy MacPherson and Veronica Olazabal)
Parallel streams of measurement and evaluation are flowing side-by-side—each focused on assessing social impact. One stream is the evaluation profession—focused on philanthropy, government, and non profits/NGSO; the second stream is impact measurement—focused on impact investments and other market-based approaches. They have developed independently from each other but can both be enriched through convergence of mindsets and methods and a deeper understanding of the context, challenges, and opportunities that create demand for each stream.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Nuclear Security Initiative
This report shares key findings about the accomplishments of the seven-year, $24.7M nuclear security-initiative supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It has value for sharing lessons learned about sunsetting an initiative and the particular kinds of success measures appropriate to advocacy and policy-change efforts.
A Guide to Measuring Advocacy and Policy (with Anne Gienapp and Sarah Stachowiak)
This guide is a call to action for funders and advocacy organizations to shift their thinking about measurement related to advocacy and policy change. Rather than focusing narrowly on policy wins as the primary outcome, the guide offers several relevant buckets that enable and sustain policy change. These outcome categories are more realistic and relevant for focusing evaluation efforts because policy change occurs in a systems framework that includes capacity of advocacy organizations, shifts norms, strengthening the base and more.
This brief provides key areas to consider when designing evaluation of networks that have been developed to facilitate social change: types of networks, network purposes, and techniques for useful monitoring and evaluation.
Learning and Evaluation Plans for Advocacy and Policy-Change Strategies
This presentation offers highlights from the AEA 2015 panel Designing Measurement, Learning, and Evaluation Plans for Advocacy and Policy Change Strategies. The presenters share five recommendations they developed based on recent evaluations of advocacy programs and initiatives. These recommendations support a relevant framework for linking evaluative practices to strategic decisions and actions in the context of advocacy and policy change work.
This presentation offers highlights from the AEA 2015 panel Designing Measurement, Learning and Evaluation Plans for Advocacy and Policy Change Strategies. The presenters share five recommendations they developed based on recent evaluations of advocacy programs and initiatives. These recommendations support a relevant framework for linking evaluative practices to strategic decisions and actions in the context of advocacy and policy change work.