GUIDESTAR PLATINUM Common Results Catalog

How to use this catalog?

How does your organization measure progress and results? It’s an
important question and a difficult one.
The metrics you share are your choice and they should reflect what
you already collect and use. To help you think about them, we created
the Common Results Catalog. This catalog contains all of the metrics
currently in our database—by subject area—developed in consultation
with teams of experts.
Browse the catalog to see what metrics make sense for your
organization. If you don’t find a metric that fits, you can add a custom



Impact-financial integration – a Handbook for investors

Executive Summary

After years of framework development, metric definition, and data collection, many investors are increasingly able to anticipate, measure, and manage the social and environmental results of their investments. But for investors to play an even greater role in solving social problems, impact management must leave its silo and integrate with financial management.
The challenge is that financial and impact management methodologies are not designed to be interoperable.
Impact specialists at investment funds typically have their own teams with their own vernacular, frameworks, and datasets, all of which exist in varying degrees of isolation from their financial counterparts.
Siloed approaches leave impact, money, or both on the table. Yet investors who wish to integrate financial, social and environmental considerations are faced with a custom job.
To address this challenge, our organizations have participated for the past two years in the Impact Frontiers Collaboration, an initiative of the Impact
Management Project (IMP), to pioneer new ways to integrate impact management with financial management.
This handbook presents the methods of impact-financial integration that our organizations developed and implemented, along with examples
and lessons learned.


EVPA: A Practical Guide to Measuring and Managing Impact


Introduction from Daniela Barone Soares, Chief Executive of Impetus Trust

What’s Impact Measurement for? Ask a social purpose organization (SPO), and they’ll tell you it helps them prove that what they do makes an impact, gives funders reassurance that their money is well-spent, and provides the stories and case studies they need for further fundraising. They might add at the end that the data helps them refine and improve their programs, and inform their decision-making.

Venture Philanthropy Organisations (VPOs), like Impetus, work for a social sector where the work of impact measurement is driven by the need to extract maximum value from our finite resources. Where SPOs stop doing things that don’t work, even if funders love that project. Where new projects are explicitly based on learnings from previous work and bear the imprint of past successes and failures.

“Managing impact” might not be a phrase to set the world on fire but we believe the benefits of embedding the concept across the social sector would be transformational – and immediately tangible. SPOs are often experts in the needs of their beneficiaries, but lack the data on their own activities to make informed resource allocation decisions, or build an organization that really plays to its own strengths. Data doesn’t just reveal impact – it is a prerequisite for making an impact. It’s also the mother and father of innovation. Innovation isn’t just about ‘new’; it has to be about ‘better’. Data reveals where an SPO could do better and tells them when they’ve got there.

This Practical Guide to Measuring and Managing Impact is a timely resource with a wealth of much-needed information for Venture Philanthropy Organisations (VPOs), and the SPOs they back. It’s one of the many reasons we’re proud to partner with the EVPA Knowledge Centre because sharing best practices is an essential part of the development of our sector. VPOs are in a strong position to take impact measurement and management practice to the next level. Collecting relevant data, and crucially putting it to good use, is a key challenge for SPOs. Our unrestricted funding backs the unglamorous, but essential, work of building capacity. And we’re in it for the long haul: we know this sort of organizational change cannot happen overnight, and we don’t expect short-term projects to do the trick.

At Impetus, we are committed to building this capacity in the organizations we support. We build relationships of trust that allow us to push our organizations to achieve more than they might have thought possible. Our deep understanding of the sector is complemented by the private sector expertise we bring in, and our long-term engagement means that support packages can see an SPO right through the process of finding out what to measure, collecting the data, and putting in place the virtuous circle that connects performance data to performance improvement.

And of course, we are an SPO too! We are acutely aware that we have a duty to expend the resources entrusted to us for maximum impact, and that we only identify impact through data. We need to know what wouldn’t have happened without us – whether that be more lives changed, improved cost-efficiency, greater sustainability, or all of the above, in the organizations we support. This is undoubtedly difficult to measure. But we are committed to finding better, and more useful ways to do so; we know our own funders value this information, but first and foremost we are doing it to ensure that, year on year, we do what we do better. This guide helps us on our journey.

A final word: managing impact is not about removing risk, as this is often the partner of innovation. We believe SPOs should be intelligent risk-takers, with venture philanthropy providing the ultimate risk capital. Data allows you to know when you are taking a risk, as well as whether it pays off. And when the “pay off” can mean changing the lives of thousands, or even millions, we all need to know about it.

Daniela Barone Soares
Chief Executive, Impetus Trust

Expert Group composition

EVPA is grateful for the contribution of the following Expert Group to the development of
this manual.

Read the whole case study here:

Bloom-Smith: Identifying the Drivers of Social Entrepreneurial Impact/Test of SCALERS


The scaling of social entrepreneurial impact is an important issue in the field of social entrepreneurship. While researchers have focused relatively little theoretical and empirical attention on scaling, a recently proposed set of drivers of scaling – incorporated into what has been labeled the SCALERS model – may provide guidance for new theoretical and empirical work on scaling of social impact. In this study, prior work on the drivers of scaling is extended by adding to the theoretical foundations upon which the SCALERS model is developed and by providing an initial empirical test of the SCALERS model. Initial empirical support is found for the SCALERS model of scaling social entrepreneurial impact.

KEY WORDS: Social entrepreneurship, scaling, organization capabilities, social impact, nonprofit, social enterprise, social capital, human capital, political capital, new venture growth


Nearly every problem has been solved by someone, somewhere. The frustration is that we can’t seem to replicate [those solutions] anywhere else. (Former US President, Bill Clinton, quoted in Olson 1994, p. 29)

The challenge of how to scale social impact efficiently and effectively has become a key issue for both practitioners and researchers of social entrepreneurship (Bradach 2003, Dees et al. 2004, Bloom and Dees 2008).

Managers of social entrepreneurial organizations – and the donors and agencies that fund and support them – are eager to learn how to take a program that has helped to resolve a social problem in a limited way and then scale it up so that the program’s impact on society becomes wider (i.e. helps more people in more places) and deeper (i.e. reduces the problem’s negative effects more dramatically). Can a high-quality, cost-effective, local program that fosters, for example, drug rehabilitation or recycling be scaled up to create significantly less drug abuse or solid waste around the world?

To date, the field of social entrepreneurship has dedicated relatively little theoretical and empirical work to the study of scaling of social impact. The theoretical work has largely focused on the development of practitioner frameworks. In the same way, the empirical work that has been done, specifically to understand the drivers of successful scaling for social entrepreneurial organizations, has been limited, with most of it utilizing comparative case-study approaches (Alvord et al. 2004, LaFrance et al. 2006, Sharir and Lerner 2005, Grant and Crutchfield 2007). While this work has generated some provocative theoretical insights, more complete theorizing and empirical tests of theories have been relatively limited (Sherman 2007). The limited theoretical and empirical work is regrettable since the scaling of a social innovation offers the potential to greatly expand the social value of the innovation to a greater number of beneficiaries. In this way, it is arguably one of the most, if not the most, important dependent variables in the field of social entrepreneurship.

One important exception to the limited theoretical work is the emerging work of the SCALERS model (Bloom and Chatterji 2009). Drawing on previous research on scaling and on case studies and theoretical notions from strategic management, organizational behavior and marketing, the SCALERS model, shown in Figure 1, identifies seven different potential drivers of scaling social impact. These drivers of social impact are: Staffing, Communicating, Alliance-building, Lobbying, Earnings-generation, Replicating and Stimulating market forces, and form the acronym, SCALERS.

Similar to the PIMS research agenda, which focused on identifying factors associated with differences in business performance (Buzzell 2004, Farris and Moore 2004), the SCALERS model has the potential to open up important opportunities for both theoretical and empirical work on scaling of social impact. However, to provide the platform for a research stream of scaling social impact, the SCALERS model needs additional theoretical work and the initial development and testing of measures to assess its predictive validity. In this study, prior work on the identification of drivers of scaling is extended in two important ways. First, this paper adds to the theoretical foundations upon which the SCALERS model is developed. In the process, the similarities and differences between scaling within social entrepreneurship and growth within commercial entrepreneurship are also highlighted. Second, the paper provides an initial empirical test of the SCALERS model. Specifically, it examines both the reliability and validity of the measures and the predictive validity of the constructs of the SCALERS model with a large-scale sample of more than 500 social enterprises in the United States.

Read the whole study here:

Harries, Hodgson, Noble: Creating Your Theory of Change – NPC’s Practical Guide


NPC’s theory of change

I first became aware of the term theory of change during NPC’s research into campaigning, which led to the publication of Critical masses in 2008. It seemed like a valuable concept, capturing a causal model of an organisation’s work, and the links between its activities and the outcomes sought. But I met with scepticism from colleagues who feared it would be of little practical value: there was a perception that it was just evaluation jargon.

I am glad to say that this initial scepticism has been found to be entirely unwarranted. Since NPC first began to explore using theory of change to work with charities around impact measurement and strategy, it has become a core component of our work. We have found it to be enormously useful in helping charities to articulate what it is that they do and why: what they are trying to achieve, and how their strategies aim to get them there.

Today, we recommend that all social purpose organisations—charities and funders, social enterprises and investors—build their work on a theory of change. It is at the heart of strategy. It is the foundation for the development of an impact measurement framework. It should be the cornerstone of attempts to work out whether and how well you are achieving your mission. NPC’s approach to impact measurement, set out in our Four pillar report, is built around the concept of theory of change.

Of course, a theory of change is only as useful as its practical application and we should not get lost in the quest for theoretical perfection. But taken at face value, as a theory to explain how your work is supposed to function, it is immensely powerful. For us in the charity sector, committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for those we aim to serve, it helps test whether our understanding of the world is backed up by what happens in reality. Theories of change, therefore, should not be static—they evolve and improve as our understanding and knowledge is advanced by evidence and observation.

NPC published its first paper on theory of change in 2012, and it has since become our most popular publication, downloaded more than 13,000 times. Theory of change is also our most popular training course, with 169 participants over the last two years. In our consulting we have worked directly with 47 clients to help them develop their own theories of change. While most of this work has been with charities, funders are increasingly seeking our help too. At the same time, we have seen growth in the wider theory of change market: other consultants and advisors have built up their own offerings to help social purpose organisations make use of the concept.

After a long time in development, NPC has also published its own theory of change. This process has helped us to understand the opportunities and the challenges developing a theory of change can present. As an evolving model of our work, it is sometimes hard to know when it is finished. And producing a theory of change is not the same as embedding it throughout our work, and using it to drive our strategy and impact measurement. We are on a journey with theory of change, as is the UK charity sector today.

I am delighted to mark this step with the publication of a new paper on theory of change, sharing the insights we have gleaned through our work with clients and partners. I hope it helps you get an even better grip on what is at the core of your work—what you are trying to achieve, and how you plan to get there.

Tris Lumley, Director of Development, NPC

Read the whole guide here:


Hulme: Impact Assessment Methodologies for Microfinance


Microfinance programs and institutions are increasingly important in development strategies but knowledge about their impacts is partial and contested. This paper reviews the methodological options for the impact assessment (IA) of microfinance. Following a discussion of the varying objectives of IA it examines the choice of conceptual frameworks and presents three paradigms of impact assessment: the scientic method, the humanities tradition and participatory learning and action (PLA).

Key issues and lessons in the practice of microfinance IAs are then explored and it is argued that the central issue in IA design is how to combine different methodological approaches so that a “fit” is achieved between IA objectives, program context and the constraints of IA costs, human resources and timing. The conclusion argues for a greater focus on internal impact monitoring by microfinance institutions.

Keywords: methods, microfinance, credit, impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation, poverty reduction


In recent years impact assessment has become an increasingly important aspect of development activity as agencies, and particularly aid donors, have sought to ensure that funds are well spent. As microfinance programs and institutions have become an important component of strategies to reduce poverty or promote micro and small enterprise development then the spotlight has begun to focus on them. But knowledge about the achievements of such initiatives remains only partial and is contested. At one end of the spectrum are studies arguing that microfnance has very beneficial economic and social impacts (Holcombe, 1995; Hossain, 1988; Khandker, 1998; Otero & Rhyne, 1994; Remenyi, 1991; Schuler, Hashemi & Riley, 1997). At the other are writers who caution against such optimism and point to the negative impacts that microfinance can have (Adams & von Pischke, 1992; Buckley, 1997; Montgomery, 1996; Rogaly, 1996; Wood & Sharrif, 1997). In the “middle” is work that identifies beneficial impacts but argues that microfinance does not assist the poorest, as is so often claimed (Hulme & Mosley, 1996; Mosely & Hulme, 1998).

Given this state of affairs the assessment of microfinance programs remains an important field for researchers, policy-makers and development practitioners. This paper reviews the methodological options for assessing the impacts of such programs drawing on writings on microfinance and the broader literature on evaluation and impact assessment. Subsequently it explores ways in which impact assessment practice might be improved. It views impact assessment (IA) as being “…as much an art as a science…” (a phrase lifted from Little, 1997, p. 2). Enhancing the contribution that impact assessment can make to developmental goals requires both better science and better art. The scientific improvements relate to improving standards of measurement, sampling and analytical technique. Econometricians and statisticians are particularly concerned with this field. Improving the “art” of impact assessment has at least three strands. One concerns making more systematic and informed judgements about the overall design of IAs in relation to their costs, specific objectives and contexts. The second is about what mixes of impact assessment methods are most appropriate for any given study. The third relates to increasing our understanding of the ways in which the results of IA studies influence policymakers and microfinance institution (MFI) managers.

Read the whole paper here:

Social and Emotional Skills: Well-being, connectedness and success


Education systems need to prepare students for their future, rather than for our past. In these times, digitalisation is connecting people, cities and continents to bring together a majority of the world’s population in ways that vastly increases our individual and collective potential.

But the same forces have made the world also more volatile, more complex, and more uncertain. And when fast gets really fast, being slow to adapt makes education systems really slow. The rolling processes of automation, hollowing out jobs, particularly for routine tasks, have radically altered the nature of work and life and thus the skills that are needed for success. For those with the right human capacities, this is liberating and exciting.

But for those who are insufficiently prepared, it can mean the scourge of vulnerable and insecure work, and life without prospects. We know that preparing students with technical or academic skills alone will not be enough for them to achieve success, connectedness and well-being whatever endeavours they wish to pursue. Social and emotional skills, such as perseverance, empathy, mindfulness, courage or leadership are central to this.

We are born with what political scientist Robert Putnam calls bonding social capital, a sense of belonging to our family or other people with shared experiences, cultural norms, common purposes or pursuits. But it requires deliberate and continuous effort to create the kind of binding social capital through which we can share experiences, ideas and innovation and build a shared understanding among groups with diverse experiences and interests, thus increasing our radius of trust to strangers and institutions.

Over the last years, social and emotional skills have been rising on the education policy agenda and in the public debate. But for the majority of students, their development remains a matter of luck, depending on whether this is a priority for their teacher and their school. A major barrier is the absence of reliable metrics in this field that allow educators and policy-makers to make progress visible, and to address shortcomings.

This is why the OECD is now developing a comprehensive international assessment of the social and emotional skills of students. The study will help education leaders and practitioners better support students in the development of these critical skills. It will provide insights and guidance for jurisdictions to better understand the policies and practices that foster the development of social and emotional skills amongst students. And it will enable us to look inside a number of education systems, and understand where and how success is being achieved, for students of different ages and backgrounds.


“Social and emotional skills” refer to the abilities to regulate one’s thoughts, emotions and behaviour. These skills differ from cognitive abilities such as literacy or numeracy because they mainly concern how people manage their emotions, perceive themselves and engage with others, rather than indicating their raw ability to process information. But, like literacy and numeracy, they are dependent on situational factors and responsive to change and development through formal and informal learning experiences. Importantly, social and emotional skills influence a wide range of personal and societal outcomes throughout one’s life.

In an increasingly fast-changing and diverse world, the role of social and emotional skills is becoming more important. A faster pace of living and a shift to urban environments means people need to engage with new ways of thinking and working and new people. Ageing and more diverse populations and the dismantling of traditional social networks place additional emphasis on people’s sense of trust, co-operation and compassion. Rising complexity and the increasing pace of technological change call for the ability to act independently and to adjust to changes on-the-go.

Social and emotional skills determine how well people adjust to their environment and how much they achieve in their lives. But the development of these skills is important not only for the well-being of individuals, but also for wider communities and societies as a whole. The ability of citizens to adapt, be resourceful, respect and work well with others, and to take personal and collective responsibility is increasingly becoming the hallmark of a well-functioning society. Increasing ideological polarisation and social tensions are increasing the need for tolerance and respect, empathy and generosity, and the ability to co-operate in order to achieve and protect the common good.

Social and emotional skills have been shown to influence many important life outcomes, but also to influence the development and use of cognitive skills. Coupled with increasing awareness of their malleability, and their growing relevance for the future world, this has attracted renewed interest from policy makers and researchers.

Despite their importance, measures of social and emotional skills are still scarce. OECD studies such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) are covering a growing range of social and emotional skills and have shown not only that these skills are related to important life outcomes, but also that they can be assessed meaningfully within and across cultural and linguistic boundaries. The OECD is now taking this work further with a comprehensive international assessment of the social and emotional skills of school-age children, through the Study on Social and Emotional Skills. The skills included in the study are set out in the following pages, along with an explanation of why these skills are so important and how these skills may be fostered.

Read the whole study here:


The Outward Bound Trust: Social Impact Report 2017


Not everything that matters can be measured and not everything that is measured matters

This famous saying always comes to mind when I think about the work of The Outward Bound Trust, our social impact and our ability to measure and demonstrate the value of our work to the outside world.

For some, a belief that powerful adventurous experiences go on to produce real learning of use in everyday life is simply a matter of faith. It follows as night follows day and it does not need the appliance of science to make the case.

To them, Outward Bound Trust is about alchemy, magic and art. For others, a rigorous evidence base of quantitative and qualitative data along with longitudinal research is necessary before such experiences can be recognised as effective. Until you can hold it in your hand and measure it very precisely, it must be suspect.

At The Outward Bound Trust we firmly believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle – where science meets art. This is our fourth Social Impact Report and we are proud of both the way we have developed our evaluation techniques over the last decade and the story that they tell about the positive impact of an Outward Bound experience on the lives of young people.

There is a huge amount in this report that “proves” the value of the work we do. We also know that nothing contained in this report ever quite matches the look on the face of a youngster on top of a mountain who has just realised that there is far more in her than she had ever previously imagined. It is when one puts the two together that Outward Bound really makes sense.

Executive Summary


The Outward Bound Trust provides courses for young people to develop their social and emotional skills at every stage of their education from the end of primary school through to university, and during the early stages of employment. The skills that they develop are those that will play a pivotal role in how successfully they navigate the challenges of adolescence and early adulthood: helping them to flourish and thrive in many different ways throughout their lives.

This is The Trust’s fourth Social Impact Report in which we demonstrate the various ways that Outward Bound courses help to reverse the decline in young people’s well-being; improve their engagement and performance in learning; and bridge the widening gap between the academic skills pupils develop at school and the broader set of skills that are needed for employment.

Read the whole report here!:


The unlonely planet: How Ashoka accelerates impact

Results of the 2018 Global Fellows Study


In today’s world of unprecedented change, where can we turn for answers about how to thrive and best contribute so we can ensure these changes are for the good of all? I have had the distinct privilege of an extraordinary array of answers to this question through our Ashoka Fellows. This historical moment has offered new technologies to eliminate barriers to participation and offers new ways of organizing.

I have learned from our social entrepreneurs that practicing empathy, skilled teamwork, offering new roles for others to be changemakers are signature qualities of a new leadership for our time. The following pages offer what we have learned from our largest survey of our Ashoka Fellows to date.

In 2018 more than 850 Ashoka Fellows from 74 countries took part in a Global Fellows Study designed to understand their impact as well as the role Ashoka has had in contributing to that impact. We believe this to be the largest global study of system change social entrepreneurs done to date.

The Data Set Represents a Diverse Group of Fellows In Various Sectors and Geographies

Of the 858 responses, 42% were women, 57%  were male and 1% identified as “other gender identity.”  This distribution is representative of Ashoka’s overall network. The respondents focus on a wide variety of population groups including people living in poverty (55%), women (48%) and people with disabilities (25%). The Fellow
respondents also represented a variety of business models, with 32% reporting that they received no revenue from selling products or services, and 12% reporting that they received all of their revenue from selling products or services.

Fellows Generate Systems Change that Sticks

Ashoka’s view of system change is emergent and context-dependent. It is open to a whole array of system elements as well as how they interact – including but not limited to public policy, industry norms, changes in market systems, building new professions, how different systems interact, etc. Ashoka learns with each social entrepreneurs’ journey not simply the issues relevant in each geography where that entrepreneur is working, but the how-tos of strategy as well as the skill required and support needed for building leadership for deep and lasting positive change.

Our metrics to measure systems change have evolved since we first conducted this study in 1998, and include: independent replication, public policy change, market change, and shifting mindsets. In the Global Fellows Study, we found that 90% of Fellows report having seen their idea replicated by independent groups or institutions, 93% reporting having changed markets and/or public policy, and 97% report that their strategy focuses on mindset shift.

Systems change often necessitates many different strategies targeting a diverse array of stakeholders, demonstrated by Fellows’ reported partnerships. 86% of Fellows report partnering with NGOs, 72% with Universities and 61% with for-profit companies. Ashoka is learning from Fellows’ partnerships with companies and leveraging their work to create a more equitable world where everyone is powerful and able to create positive change.

Read the whole study here:


Kiss Julianna – Mihály Melinda: Társadalmi vállalkozások és ökoszisztémáik Európában

Az Európai Bizottság jelentése 2018 decemberéig rendelkezésre álló információk alapján áttekintést nyújt a magyarországi társadalmi vállalkozások helyzetéről. Bemutatja a magyar társadalmi vállalkozásokat mozgató fő motivációkat és hajtóerőket, és kitér az elmúlt években zajló elméleti és jogi háttér változásaira is. Becsült számot ad a magyar társadalmi vállalkozások számáról, felvázolja a jelenlegi szakpolitikai helyzetet, és perspektívát nyújt a jövővel kapcsolatban is.

A tanulmány az Európai Bizottság megbízásából a European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Euricse) és az EMES International Research Network (EMES) szervezetekkel kötött megállapodás keretein belül készült el.

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