The European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) has released A Practical Guide to Measuring and Managing Impact to help social investors, social purpose organisations and other funders more effectively measure and manage impact.
Initially conceived to address concerns raised by EVPA members about the practicalities of working with the maze of existing methodologies, databases, tools and metrics on social impact measurement, the Practical Guide does not 'reinvent the wheel'. It attempts to distil best practice from the various ways of measuring and managing social impact in five easy-to-understand steps and provides practical tips and recommendations for how to implement impact measurement at the level of the social investor and in the social sector organisations that they support. The guide then goes a step further by focusing on how impact can and should be managed by organisations to achieve even greater impact.
EVPA says the manual should be useful both for beginners in impact measurement, who are considering how to get started, and for more advanced investors who are struggling with how to better integrate an impact focus into everyday investment management decisions.
It can also be used as a reference for key decisions on topics such as resource allocation, deal selection and investment management. It draws on real-life examples from social investors and venture philanthropy organisations as well as five longer case studies. The manual does not consider how to measure financial impact but focuses solely on social impact (using a broad definition of social that may also include environmental or cultural).
The guide is the result of a multi-stakeholder initiative including major contributions from an expert mix of 27 investors including foundations, social investment funds, venture philanthropy organisations, impact investors, investees, consultants, academics and representatives of other networks(in Europe, Asia and the US, as well as a wider group of experts asked to provide feedback on the first draft.
Lisa Hehenberger, Research Director of EVPA, explains: “In this data driven age, the topic of effectively measuring impact is of great importance to all investors and social sector organisations that claim to deliver impact. But measuring impact is not the end game. The data that is derived from any impact measurement system must be used to manage impact: to refine and improve programmes, inform decision-making and ultimately, maximise impact.”
Daniela Barone Soares, Chief Executive of Impetus Trust, the UK-based venture philanthropy fund and EVPA member said: “The Practical Guide to Measuring and Managing Impact is a timely resource with a wealth of much-needed information for venture philanthropy organisations and social investors and the social organisations they back. It’s one of the many reasons why we’re proud to partner with the EVPA Knowledge Centre1,because sharing best practice is an essential part of the development of our sector.”
Pieter Oostlander, EVPA Chairman-Elect, commented: “We see the Practical Guide as a trigger for a movement towards best practice when it comes to measuring and managing impact. EVPA is committed to take this work to the next level and issue high-level guidelines on impact measurement in 2014.“
Kurt Peleman, EVPA CEO, added: “At EVPA, we are proud of this guide as we are convinced it will help our members and other practitioners to make better decisions that will lead to higher impact.”
1The EVPA Knowledge Centre is the hub for knowledge and thought leadership on venture philanthropy and social investment in Europe and beyond. It provides information on venture philanthropy issues and connects researchers both through workshops and by providing information on the EVPA website. It is `sponsored by Natixis Private Equity. EVPA is also grateful to Fondazione CRT, Impetus Trust, Invest for Children, Noaber Foundation for the support of its Knowledge Centre. EVPA is grateful to Adessium Foundation and Omidyar Network for their structural support