Determining impact and return: How now?

30th May 2016

Determining impact and return: How now?

30th May 2016

Determining impact and return: How now?

How to measure the impact and return on investment of community/social programmes has plagued industry practitioners for a long time.

The Investment Impact Index™ was developed as a uniquely African methodology to solve this problem.

Until now there has been a lot of focus on monitoring and evaluating the outputs and outcomes of social, community and enterprise development programmes. Moving to the next stage – measuring the impact and return of development programmes – has been more problematic.

Although 90% of all funders and intermediaries measure their work through quantitative assessment and 75% of all funders and intermediaries claim they have the capacity to measure their work and 58% of all funders and intermediaries have a framework to measure their work:

  • Only 24% of all funders and intermediaries have a data evaluation framework.
  • Only 25% of all funders and intermediaries have an evaluation plan.
  • Only 5% of all funders collect qualitative date.

Research evidence suggests that it is because:


  1. Don’t have clearly defined indicators to measure impact and return.
  2. Don’t have clearly defined theories of grantmaking, practice and change to be able to measure substantial change.

Development organisations:

  1. Don’t have the resources, skills or capabilities to extend current M&E practice to the next level.
  2. Have more pressing needs, such as fundraising and marketing.

This presentation was delivered at the Sustainable Brands Conference in Africa. The presentation details specifically how the Investment Impact Index works, how to define impact and return on investment as well as what indicators and aspects of impact to consider. It also shares lessons learned over an extended 5-year period.

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