Influencing Impact Report

The Social Impact Analysts Association’s Social Investment Working Group (SIAA-SIWG) have released a report that explores the factors that influence how impact measurement is conducted within the field of social investment.

The Influencing Impact: Understanding impact measurement in social investment report includes a descriptive research study conducted by the University of California Los Angeles and reflections from SIAA members on issues raised by the study.

The study’s research questions were:

  1. What factors influence and inform the way in which impact is measured in the context of social investment?
  1. What are impact analysts doing when asked to help organizations measure impact in the context of social investment?

The researchers explored the first question by focusing on the role of analysts working in or with social enterprises. One of the main findings was that the background, training and role of analysts influence the approach to impact measurement. In addition, the context or characteristics of the social enterprise, such as the complexity of the program’s theory of change or logic model, the age of the program, and the availability of financial resources, influenced the impact measurement approach taken.

John Gargani, one of the SIAA Social Investment Working Group conveners, reflects on the study:

‘The SIAA survey suggests three market forces that drive the quality of impact measurement— what analysts know how to do (the supply side of the market), how clients want to use impact measurements (the demand side of the market), and the level of resources allocated for impact measurement projects (the market value of impact information). I believe we can leverage these forces to improve the quality of impact measurements beyond that currently produced by the market.’

The research sheds light on existing practice and supports anecdotal evidence SIAA has received since 2011.

The report Influencing Impact is available for download here.

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