SIM TIG Week: Evaluator Engagement in the Evolution of Social Impact Measurement by Jane Reisman and Alyna Wyatt

Hi! We are Jane Reisman, Chair and Alyna Wyatt, Program Chair, Social Impact Measurement TIG.

As impact investing and other market solutions for addressing global goals have been evolving, so have approaches to social impact measurement. Evaluators have been increasingly engaged in efforts to create bridges between the evaluation and impact investing communities and these efforts are paying off.

Leason Learned: One particular bridging effort of note is the Evaluator Advisory Group which has been providing input into the development of IRIS plus—the update to the IRIS system for the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).  What would come as no surprise from a group of evaluators, is that the Evaluator Advisory Group advocated for asking more “why” questions, elevating the voice and values of the beneficiaries and clients, and using data to inform decision-making for transformational impact.

Evaluators have also been weighing in on the Impact Management Project – a global effort that has been developing shared norms across sectors pertaining to measuring and managing impact.  Through this effort, five main questions have emerged:  what, how much, who, contribution and risk. These types of questions are highly relevant to evaluative thinking and methods.

While conversations among evaluators over the past few years have revolved around ‘What is this Social Impact Measurement thing’, or ‘What does this mean for me in my work?’, evaluators have been joining many tables that are working on developing concrete and practical actions that cut across sectors and a range of actors. Many of these efforts will be highlighted in the SIM TIG track at Evaluation 2018. 

Cool Trick: Our SIM TIG Business Meeting (Thursday 1 November at 7:30pm) will continue to showcase the bridging of evaluation with the evolving conventions of impact measurement and management in the private sector by hosting a panel of representatives from cross-sectoral organizations who are working on policies to guide  social impact measurement.  Our participants, Victoria Carlan from the Impact and Innovation Unit of the Government of Canada, Joanna Cohen from the Office of Evaluation at the MacArthur Foundation, and Katsuji Imata from SIMI (Social Impact Measurement Initiative) and CSO Network Japan will each discuss how they have considered both standards in evaluation and the conventions in impact investing in formulating policies and guidelines.

Rad resources:

  • Guidance is continuously created and curated through a variety of different efforts. We have been actively updating the SIM webpage with links to these resources which you can access here.
  • As a nascent practice, lessons learnt are being routinely documented and shared. These will be highlighted in the coming week’s 365 blogs!

We can’t wait for the learning and sharing that will happen at Eval 2018 and we also look forward to welcoming new members to the TIG at Eval 2018.

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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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