SIM TIG Week: Bridging Evaluation and Impact Investing by Jane Reisman

Hi.  This is Jane ReismanFounder of ORS Impact. I currently describe myself as a social impact advisor as I aspire to create connections between what we do as evaluators and the impact that we hope to achieve.

I’ve been actively engaged- along with other AEA members — in building bridges between the evaluation community and the impact investing community which focuses investments on social/environmental impact. Our efforts are paying off.   Two exciting developments in December 2016 signal progress in bridge-building.   Several AEA members were invited to participate in key events led by the impact investing community:  1) the Global Impact Forum’s strand on measurement and evaluation hosted by the Global Impact Investing Network and 2) the World Economic Forum’s workshop “Accelerating Impact Measurement and Management.”

Evaluators contributed fundamental perspectives during these events that are influencing how the impact investing community shapes the next generation of approaches to impact measurement and evaluation.

Some evaluative perspectives squarely align with existing thinking and practices among impact investors; others push the boundaries.

  • Beneficiary voice and stakeholder engagement are essential to defining and determining value.
  • Diverse approaches utilized by evaluators can be blended with existing and emerging impact measurement approaches to create new and robust methods.
  • Impact measurement and evaluation produce critical data for guiding decisions and strategic thinking.
  • Outputs alone are not sufficient proxies for assessing social and environmental changes.
  • Complexity thinking is relevant to designing effective solutions for social and environmental problems.
  • Theory of change is valuable for clarifying impact and measurement priorities.
  • Building an evidence base for impact investing and other market solutions is necessary for strategic and effective investments.
  • Specific skill sets are required for successfully executing in measurement and evaluation.

AEA’s Social Impact Measurement TIG launched in 2016 will provide opportunities to share and hone our thinking, practice, and evidence in this emergent area.

Hot Tips:

  1. Tune into the momentum for developing the next generation of impact measurement and evaluation and seek opportunities to contribute to these efforts
  2. Recognize that the impact investing community is receptive to contributions from allied fields like evaluation
  3. Respect that impact investing has its own culture and mindset about measurement and evaluation and of our perspectives may push thinking in new directions.
  4. For more information about the SIM TIG, see here. To join the SIM TIG, see here.

Rad Resource:  Situating the Next Generation of Impact Measurement and Evaluation for Impact Investing by Jane Reisman and Veronica Olazabal.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Social Impact Measurement Week with our colleagues in the Social Impact Measurement Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our SIM TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

6 thoughts on “SIM TIG Week: Bridging Evaluation and Impact Investing by Jane Reisman”

  1. Hi Jane,

    Thanks so much for the update and insight! You mention that we should tune into the momentum for developing the next generation of impact measurement and evaluation and seek opportunities to contribute to these efforts. Do you have suggestions for where we should be tuning in, besides the SIM TIG?

    Thanks!
    Courtney

    1. Great question Courtney.
      Two great newsletters I read regularly are:
      1. On Impatc #impinv digest prepared by Cathy Clark at Duke (bit.ly/OnImpact; http:/bit.ly/OnImpact)
      2. All Things Impact newsletter prepared by Brian Walsh at Liquidnet (allthingsimpact.com)
      They both require subscribing.

      I also think that the Social Capital Market ( SOCAP) meetings held annually in San Francisco is a great place to gain an immersion experience (socialcapitalmarkets.net)

      The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) has a great repository of resources too (giin.org).

      Happy to talk more about this offline.

    2. Great question Courtney.
      Two great newsletters I read regularly are:
      1. On Impatc #impinv digest prepared by Cathy Clark at Duke (bit.ly/OnImpact; http:/bit.ly/OnImpact)
      2. All Things Impact newsletter prepared by Brian Walsh at Liquidnet (allthingsimpact.com)
      They both require subscribing.

      I also think that the Social Capital Market ( SOCAP) meetings held annually in San Francisco is a great place to gain an immersion experience (socialcapitalmarkets.net)

      The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) has a great repository of resources too (giin.org).

      Happy to talk more about this offline.

    1. Hope you have joined the Social Impact Measurement TIG. There is great momentum happening in this area for strengthening measurement and evaluation. I am enjoying applying our profession’s evaluative thinking and methods in this new space. It is not without its challenges but the possibilities of what we can achieve together make it very worthwhile!

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