How Social Entrepreneurs Begin To Measure Impact

Forbes’ contributor, Devin Thorpe, packs a crowd of social entrepreneurs and impact investing experts into his latest article. Each practitioner provides a different perspective; each new angle exposes a little more of the puzzle.

A managing director at Caprock, Matthew Weatherley-White, shares his $0.02 on common mistakes, and the real value of impact metrics:

Matthew Weatherley-White… cautions that no single set of metrics will work for all social ventures. “We believe that there are no universal impact key performance indicators. Instead, social entrepreneurs should be prepared to measure, on day one, whatever impact metrics are endogenous to the operations or mission of their enterprise. Far too often, social entrepreneurs believe that tracking and reporting on a host of socially-aware metrics will make their business ‘more’ impactful… when, in fact, doing so may be (at best) a distraction to operating the business or (at worst) a distorting force, putting at risk the survival of the enterprise. Seen through this lens, impact measurement can be interpreted as answering the question of ‘materiality’: what impact measures are critical to the survival of the enterprise. That set of measures should be what the entrepreneur strives to report the day the doors open.

Stephanie Gripne, Founder and Director of Impact Finance Center, will help illuminate the differences between outputs and outcomes, while Lisa Hagerman, Director of Programs at DBL Partners, makes an argument for the inclusion of narratives in impact reports. With 6+ names to a page (it’s a 4 page story) there is plenty of advice and opining to go around. Catch ’em all.

This article was written by Devin Thorpe for Forbes.