Alliance magazine: The role of foundations in a coordinated impact data landscape


Alliance magazine


Sarah Gelfand

“We believe that data collection and reporting is essential to a successful impact investing field, and that foundations have a valuable role to play in nurturing this” says Sarah Gelfand of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).

Following the publication of the special feature on what data can do for philanthropy in the September 2012 issue of Alliance magazine, GIIN have added to the discussion with their observations on the key role that data can play in mobilizing additional resources. GIIN is a non-profit which aims to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing. With the potential of impact investors to work alongside foundations for social and environmental change, Gelfand adds further thoughts on the benefits to philanthropists of enabling access to data on non-financial returns.

Gelfand’s comments on the need for data to be comparable echo discussion on this topic at the Alliance Breakfast Club, which raised the challenges of operating in a sector which contains such disparate ways of measuring and evaluating impact. The article also outlines the GIIN’s efforts to standardize reporting in this area through the creation of Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) and further thoughts on how a shared approach can help bring different types of funders together in an effective way.

“...Foundations engaging with the impact investing market – with supportive grant funding, guarantees and programme- and mission-related investments – are increasingly collaborating with traditional investors to put different types of capital to work in support of the same project, or to hand on social business projects when they become investment-ready. In addition to providing funding, these foundations bring expertise in understanding and managing social and environmental performance, which is valuable for traditional investors…”

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Tagged in: Alliance magazine Collaboration Impact investing Impact measurement

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