A measurement and evaluation framework to support social impact investment in Canada Article uri icon

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abstract

  • A priority of federal and provincial governments in Canada is the development of a robust social finance sector. Social finance refers to private investment that creates both social or environmental impact and financial returns for investors. Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), a national network of non-profit community foundations with the goal of "relentlessly pursuing a future where everyone belongs," is an integral part of Canada's social finance sector. CFC is currently working with the federal government and others in the impact investing sector to develop a platform---Outcomes Canada---to foster outcome-based impact investment by connecting: (1) community organizations seeking financing for promising community-led initiatives; (2) investors seeking to invest in worthy projects; (3) governmental buyers seeking to achieve priority social and environmental outcomes (e.g., reduced homelessness, reduced carbon emissions; hereafter, "social outcomes"). CFC has identified sound measurement and evaluation of social outcomes as critical to the ultimate success of the Outcomes Canada platform. However, measurement and evaluation in this context is challenging, as attested to by recent calls for new measurement approaches to support impact investing.