Why we need skilled impact analysts to improve social capital markets
The investment and philanthropic worlds are converging, as foundations increasingly focus on strategic, results-based giving, businesses seek to manage their supply chains and reputations in a world increasingly concerned about sustainability and social equity, and Impact Investing rises to the fore. But the central question- what's the impact- remains elusive. The quest for a universal set of standard metrics has proven elusive, for good reason. This week's speaker, Sara Olsen, has nearly two decades of work in impact management with an impressively diverse range of investors, social entrepreneurs and nonprofits, from CalPERS to Fair Trade USA to the cellist Yo-Yo Ma. We will talk about the emergence of the new profession of skilled impact analysts, what "good enough" impact information looks like to different audiences, where impact measurement practice is heading, and how you play a role.
This session will include content by Kate Ruff and Sara Olsen originally published in Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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Sara Olsen has been recognized twice as one of America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs by Bloomberg Businessweek for her work defining the impact management discipline.
Since founding SVT Group in 2001, Sara and SVT’s team of subject-matter experts have measured the social and environmental value of approximately $9Bn in private equity, debt and grants in dozens of countries and issue areas. Recent clients include Yo-Yo Ma, Restore the Earth Foundation, Fair Trade USA, the Global Fund for Women and CalPERS’ Environmental Investment Advisor.
Sara is also an adjunct professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies and Hult International Business School. There and in collaboration with her SVT clients, she has educated some 9,000 people in-person in the skill of impact management. Sara is also co-chair of the methodology committee of Social Value International and last year became a founding board member of Social Value United States. As a co-founder of the Global Social Venture Competition, in 1999 Sara instilled the requirement that all teams quantify their potential social or environmental impact, which has since introduced over 15,000 people to the idea of impact management as a business discipline.