SIM TIG Week: The Currency of Social Impact Measurement by Mishkah Jakoet and Amreen Choda

Hello, we are Mishkah Jakoet and Amreen Choda from Genesis Analytics.

Social Impact Measurement (SIM) is important for the legitimacy, advancement, and management of impact investing. SIM can also help align incentives among stakeholders and improve communication. While innovative finance matured over the past decade, similar advancement in SIM is complicated by  diverse approaches, methods, and tools responding to various stakeholders. Unfortunately, much of SIM is focuses on outputs, uses limited evaluative thinking, and doesn’t consider how change happens.

Lessons Learned:

To best capitalize on the currency of SIM, investors and development practitioners/evaluators need to bridge the gap between their practices. At the 8th African Evaluation Association Conference  in Uganda last month, participants agreed that the evaluation profession has much to offer to overcome the challenges inherent in SIM. With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, Genesis Analytics curated the Innovations in Evaluation strand to start building this bridge by facilitating dialogue between investors and evaluators. A discussion output is below:

Lessons Learned:

  • For many years, the evaluation profession emphasized attribution of impact, but there is now a greater focus on contribution, which matters to investors looking to enhance the impact of their funds.
  • Investors use impact measurements for different objectives at different stages of the investment cycle. Evaluators must be flexible and responsive to meet these needs.
  • Some investors have been reluctant to embrace SIM, because they think a randomized control trial (RCT) is the only option, yet worry about the ethics of randomly assigning a treatment group. Evaluators and investors should share knowledge, particularly to explore the value of options beyond a randomized controlled trial, and jointly develop a contextualized definition of impact and a SIM technique based on this definition.

Rad Resources:

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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