Impact Investment Starts With Understanding Impact

One of the recent corporate trends has been a growing concern for the social impact of companies' investments. Rather than looking at investments as simply a way to make a profit, both traditional and nonprofit companies are looking for ways to invest that entail a good rate of return on solving social problems as well. The number one question, however, is how to quantify the real social impact of the investments.

Three concepts can be used to help determine this measurement. The first is being consistent across the company regarding the data collected and the metrics used. Second, rather than narrowly focusing on just a few metrics, identify a few general domains of impact, each with its own set of measures. Finally, understand that the process will take time; there are no shortcuts to developing measures unique to one's company.

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