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Webinar: What Does ‘Impact’ Mean to You?

Posted By Mia Haughton, Vera Solutions, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Live Webinar on Thursday, May 3rd at 10am (BST)

Every nonprofit is working towards making a positive change in some way, be it in the lives of individuals, our communities, or the world we live in. But how do you measure the impact of the good work you do?

Nonprofits who want to increase their mission’s reach need to define what success looks like to them so that they can measure it more effectively. Join us for a live panel discussion where three nonprofit trailblazers from different ends of the spectrum, each with their own unique insights and real-world experience on the topic, will answer the question: what does ‘impact’ mean to you?


Zak Kaufman, Co-Founder & CEO at Vera Solutions
Joanne Trotter, Global Lead, Results and Learning at the Aga Khan Foundation
Amanda Feldman, Director at The Impact Management Project

Don’t miss out, save your seat today >>>


Tags:  impact measurement  innovation  Performance Measurement  salesforce  social impact  webinar 

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Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Outlines Initiatives to Reach "1 Billion by 2020"

Posted By Patricia Haines, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Miller Center is homing in on Women Rising, Climate Resilience, and measuring the impact of social entrepreneurs and their ventures.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 11, 2016—To accelerate its aim of positively impacting the lives of 1 billion people by 2020, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University is focusing on two initiatives—Women Rising and Climate Resilience—which will direct its efforts to help social entrepreneurs.

The Center also has hired a new associate director of social impact assessment to help in finding the best ways to evaluate and prove the success of social enterprises -- metrics that are vital to attracting investors to the field of “impact investing.” In addition, understanding what is driving improvements helps social entrepreneurs plan better, apply enhancements more effectively, and ultimately significantly scale their impact. Joe Schuchter, DrPH, a former operational researcher and monitor for NGOs in Cambodia and elsewhere, will continue and expand the Center’s work developing evidence-based methods for understanding and measuring the individual and collective impact of social enterprises.

“Miller Center empowers social entrepreneurs who in turn work to empower the world’s poor,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center. “Through our work with more than 560 social enterprises over a dozen years, we have developed proven methodologies and programs for helping social entrepreneurs build viable, sustainable enterprises. We have also identified where our approach has the potential for the greatest positive impact, and we’re focusing our energies on those areas.”

New Initiatives -- Women Rising and Climate Resilience

Beginning this year, Miller Center will select social enterprises for its Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) programs that are:
•    Led by women or addressing issues that affect women, or
•    Engaged in promoting resilience to the effects of climate change, particularly those addressing energy poverty, water poverty, sustainable rural development or health.

Women and girls represent the majority of the world’s poor and have fewer paths out of poverty, and investing in women and girls is widely considered the best way to end poverty for everyone. Women also are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, meaning that Miller Center’s Women Rising and Climate Resilience initiatives are tightly interwoven.

In addition, of the social enterprises that Miller Center has already trained and mentored, more than half provide solutions aimed at helping poor communities adapt to climate change. Social enterprises that have participated in GSBI programs have built businesses around solutions for clean energy (e.g., solar and other clean cookstoves, renewable energy generation, solar lighting, sustainable biofuels), clean water (e.g., community-scale water treatment, household water filters, hand pump maintenance, other water treatment approaches), sustainable agriculture (biodigesters, innovative forestry for dryland farmers, production of green charcoal and biochar) and health (e.g., tech-enabled clinics, maternal and pediatric health services, hygiene and nutrition services, curable blindness).

New Emphasis on Metrics

To further support its Women Rising and Climate Resilience initiatives, Miller Center plans to design ways to better assess the impact of social enterprises.

That will include evaluating existing platforms for social impact data collection; capturing and analyzing data at the social enterprise customer level; facilitating research to understand why social enterprises fail; applying business analytics and big data methods to the work of GSBI alumni; and developing entrepreneur and academic curricula on the topic of impact assessment.

“The social enterprise space overall needs much stronger impact-focused measurement,” said Schuchter.  “Our impact assessment commitment is guided by four core principles: a social enterprise’s impact on its customers and the community it serves; our focus on the advancement of women and comprehensive climate resilience solutions; our objectivity and rigor advances only the most impact-focused and impact-capable social enterprises; and the fact that how we assess is as important as what we assess.”

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Its strategic focus is on poverty eradication through its three areas of work: The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), Impact Capital, and Education and Action Research. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry and theology; and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.’s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contacts
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121
Colleen Martell | Martell Communications for Miller Center | | 408- 832-0147

GSBI is a registered trademark of Santa Clara University. All rights reserved.


Tags:  climate  impact measurement  social entrepreneurship  Women 

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If you aren’t part of the mainstream, how do you measure impact?

Posted By Peter Whitehead, Media Development Investment Fund, Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Whether or not you agree with the research and investment blogs that claim impact investing is about to change the world or think the jury’s still got some considering to do before delivering a verdict, all surely agree that measurement will play a critical role in the development – or otherwise – of the sector.

Investors, investees and practitioners – as well as catalytic organizations like ANDE – need to be able to point to outcomes or, better still, societal impact if impact investing is going to live up to even half the claims for its transformative power.

There are plenty of guides and indicators to help mainstream impact investors compare like with like – if your goal is to create jobs or roll out microfinance, there are accepted ways to measure and compare what you’re doing – but what about non-mainstream sectors? And what about impact sectors where the ultimate goals are more intangible, like supporting human rights or democratic development?

For example, Media Development Investment Fund invests in independent media around the world that provide the news, information and debate that people need to create thriving, free societies. We provide capital and technical assistance to help independent news businesses become financially self-sustainable, strong enough to remain independent of powerful governments and oligarchs who want to trade cash for influence.

To evaluate our impact, we focus our assessment efforts on two broad areas: first, our direct impact on investees; and, second, our investees’ impacts on their societies.

Assessing the extent to which our support contributes to our investees’ sustainability is relatively straightforward; we evaluate how each media company’s reach, sales and viability (determined by assessing a range of risk factors) change over the course of their involvement with us, all based on monitoring data we collect on a monthly basis.

But what about our impact on helping people build free societies? For practical – mainly resource – reasons, assessing impact at this level is less systematic. Even so, we think it’s important to do what we can and we conduct deep-dive studies on individual clients to understand the role they play in their societies. This can show whether a newspaper in Guatemala is a trusted source of investigative journalism, for example, or whether a news website in Malaysia provided important information to voters in national elections.

In 2014 we have supplemented this type of assessment by including portfolio-wide societal impact metrics in our annual Impact Dashboard. This year we focus on our clients’ efforts to hold leaders accountable for their actions through reporting on corruption and tracking policy promises. While this falls short of measuring our achievements in helping to create free, thriving societies, it takes us a step further than we have gone before and provides our investors with a better insight into the changes they are helping to create.

We would love to hear how other impact investors have developed impact measurement in non-mainstream sectors, as well as any feedback on our approach and suggestions for improving it.

You can take a look at the interactive Impact Dashboard 2014 or read the pdf here:


Tags:  ANDE Members  impact evaluation  impact investing  impact investment  impact measurement 

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3 emerging trends in impact evaluation

Posted By Global Partnerships, Thursday, June 19, 2014
Updated: Thursday, June 19, 2014

This blog post was originally published on Global Partnerships' weekly blog, News & Insights.

by Tara Murphy Forde, director of research & impact, Global Partnerships 

It isn’t every day that you get to geek-out with a room full of people who spend their days trying to measure the often intangible impact of small and growing businesses in emerging markets. Each year members of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) gather in Washington, DC to discuss common challenges and solutions for metrics & evaluation. This year the attendees included a diverse group of investors, capacity development providers, researchers and entrepreneurs who all share Global Partnerships’ (GP’s) commitment to thoughtful and rigorous impact evaluation. As a new member and first-time attendee, I was struck by the diversity of our approaches yet the shared nature of the challenges we face in trying to understand and measure the impact of our work.

Emerging trends in impact measurement

This year the conference focused on “Measurement in Action,” highlighting the catalytic effect that collective action around measurement can have for the small and growing business sector. In conjunction with the conference ANDE published its annual “State of Measurement Practice in the SGB Sector” report, which uses data and interviews with 30 different organizations to identify and analyze key trends in measurement practice. The following emerged:

  1. The need to balance and align social metrics with financial performance indicators

  2. The need to place greater emphasis on transparency and attribution

  3. The need to develop more efficient data collection and data management approaches

Based on these points, A New Vision for Shared Metrics was put forth for discussion and feedback. While there was lively debate about how, there was general agreement on the need to move beyond the focus on accountability (Metrics 1.0) and standardization (Metrics 2.0) to value creation (Metrics 3.0).

Creating value through impact measurement 

In order to invoke action, ANDE asked each member to reflect on the following questions, which I will take a moment to share here:

What should your organization do to create more value through impact measurement?

What we at GP are currently working on:

What more can we do:

1. Developing a rigorous, consistent, and iterative evaluation practice that is grounded in the existing body of evidence, empirical knowledge, portfolio data, and targeted case studies/impact assessments

1.a. Document and share learnings with investees, investors, and industry peers

1.b. Encourage knowledge exchange among investees to facilitate the adoption of best practice

2. Selecting metrics that matter to our investees and where possible aligning them with IRIS Standards

2.a. Invest in the data collection and reporting capacity of our investees

2.b. Provide feedback to IRIS regarding our experiences with implementation

3. Tackling the difficult yet pressing question of how to quantify GP’s contribution to downstream impact

3.a. Engage in frequent dialogue with other ecosystem actors who are tacking this same question

3.b. Be more explicit about the logic and assumptions behind our measurement approach


What does Global Partnerships need from the sector to make this happen?

  • Consolidation and sharing of the evidence base
  • Collective investment in the measurement and evaluation capacity of small and growing businesses
  • Development of information systems and technologies that facilitate accurate, easy, and efficient data collection in often remote locations

Walking away from the conference I was both energized and hopeful about what we as a sector can accomplish in our efforts to create more value through our impact measurement efforts. I look forward to ongoing exchanges and partnership opportunities that may emerge through our activity in the ANDE network.  Stay tuned for updates!

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Tags:  Impact Evaluation  impact measurement  impactimpact  metrics 3.0  metrics and research  metrics framework  social metrics 

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