SIM TIG Week: Kicking-off Social Impact Measurement (SIM) Week by Veronica Olazabal and Shawna Hoffman

This is Veronica Olazabal and Shawna Hoffman of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Evaluation team. We have the pleasure of introducing this week’s focus on social impact measurement (SIM) for innovative finance and market solutions.

Hot Tips: What does innovative finance and market solutions have to do with evaluation, you ask?

A lot! In recent years, new forms of capital have been mobilized at unprecedented rates to create social good. The responsibility to contribute to social and environmental outcomes no longer falls solely on traditional government, philanthropic, and non-governmental actors; innovative market players, such as impact investors, are beginning to play an increasingly important part as well. This is significant because it exponentially increases the pool of funds available for social impact (see figure below). The emergence of these new actors presents great opportunity for the social sector, but also carries implications for how ‘we’ think, talk about, and—of course—evaluate impact.sunday-post-image-as-a-jpeg

How can evaluation work with innovative finance and market solutions?

At last year’s AEA conference and pre-conference Impact Convergence our colleagues asked a lot of important questions about how to bridge the evaluation and impact investing and market solutions spaces. Below are the top five questions that evaluators are asking about measurement and evaluation of innovative finance and market solutions:

  • How can we evolve or adapt our practices, goals, tools, and language to enable us to effectively engage with market actors?
  • What are the data needs of market actors? How can differing considerations such as cost, timeliness and risk be taken into account?
  • To what extent is attribution important? Do private sector players care about being able to attribute change in the same way that traditional development players often do?
  • How can evaluators and investors learn from each other and leverage one another’s respective strengths, including the private sector’s strengths vis-à-vis robust accounting, efficiency, and effective use of technology, and evaluation’s adherence to principles of objectivity, rigor and ethics?
  • How might evaluators frame their value proposition to investors and other market actors?

To help respond to these questions, this week we will hear from leading thinkers in this space on how they have responded to this new demand for assessing impact.

Rad Resources: Interested in learning more?

  • For more information about the SIM TIG, see here. To join the SIM TIG, see here.
  • Check out this reading list on Evaluating Impact Investing
  • Follow along this weeks’ AEA365 Tip-of-the-Day and hear from some of the leading voices on this topic.

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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