From making money to changing the world, impact management, including measurement, is critical in supporting investors and the ventures themselves.
Impact investing offers the best of two worlds, providing investors with strong financial returns while helping to solve complex global challenges. It’s equally true, however, that this type of investing can be challenging to direct and assess.
This is why sound impact management, including measurement, is so important. Thanks to the leadership of organizations like Impact Frontiers and Impact Capital Managers, along with the example set by high-profile impact investment funds like the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, the real value of impact management is becoming better understood and more universal.
Impact measurement and management are about taking a big-picture view.
Support the impact ecosystem
Sound impact management is important in allowing investors and organizations to make investment decisions that advance the impact ecosystem.
“Impact measurement and management are about taking a big-picture view,” says Marieke Spence, Executive Director of Impact Capital Managers, a non-profit membership organization focused on accelerating its members’ performance and scaling the private capital impact investing marketplace with integrity and authenticity.
Investing activity should be about driving not just financial returns, but also net-positive social or environmental outcomes, notes Spence. “So it’s about establishing an initial impact or sustainability thesis, and it’s also about having a process for evaluating investments, tracking KPIs, and fund management contributions,” she says.
“Impact investors got into the business because they want to make a contribution,” says Mike McCreless, Executive Director of Impact Frontiers. “Without measurement, they wouldn’t know whether they were being successful, why, and what they could do better next time.”
It’s amazing to be able to work at the forefront of combining passion, purpose, and profit.
Change the world
The TELUS Pollinator Fund is an excellent example of the type of impact investing — including measurement and management — that can change the world. The $100-million corporate social impact fund — one of the world’s largest — invests in for-profit companies and founders committed to driving innovation and transformative solutions that help make the world a better place. It supports new and innovative technology solutions and founders from startups that are propelling the world forward. It invests in entrepreneurs addressing key challenges in health, education, agriculture, and the environment by connecting them with the resources and capital they need to grow and thrive.
“Thanks to the vision of our CEO, Darren Entwistle, the fund is an incredible mandate and responsibility,” says Blair Miller, Managing Partner of the TELUS Pollinator Fund. “It’s amazing to be able to work at the forefront of combining passion, purpose, and profit.”
Portfolio companies and investors must work together to measure impact and present tangible results. Successful collaboration starts with having shared goals. “The first ingredient is having a shared language around goals,” says McCreless. “The second is having a shared way of communicating performance against those goals.”
Do well by doing good
Teamwork and collaboration reinforce the impact. “One of our mandates is to contribute to the ecosystem and to find like-minded players, so we’re a member of the Impact Capital Managers (ICM), which is comprised of over 90 funds that collectively represent over $40 billion in impact capital,” notes Miller. Access to networks like ICM offers the Pollinator Fund team an opportunity to share their experiences on approaching impact management, while learning from other global practice leaders in this rapidly growing field.
Impact measurement is a critical component of responsible impact investment practices that can support financial returns while also solving the world’s most pressing challenges. “Globally, there’s a sense of urgency to determine how businesses can be part of the solution,” says Spence. It takes thoughtfulness, understanding of the relationship between impact and return, and smart measurement to know if investments are truly making a difference.
Impact-driven funds like the TELUS Pollinator Fund are driven by both purpose and profit — proof that smart business and doing good in the world are compatible.