Social Sector Office
Learning for Social Impact

Learning for social impact: What foundations can do

As we detail in our report, we believe that a few significant trends shaping the sector will drive the future of social impact assessment: An influx of new talent from fields like technology and venture capital, where measuring results is expected; the demand from social investors to see credible metrics of impact before accepting below-market rates on their capital; and the U.S. government’s push for innovative solutions to social problems from nonprofits that can demonstrate results.

Foundations are at the center of driving impact in the social sector, and can and should play an integral role in the future of assessment. We urge foundations to:

  • define best practices for working with grantees on assessment;
  • agree on a limited number of common metrics;
  • and build a system to share assessment learning.

A learning driven approach to assessment, based on core beliefs we have developed should be at the core of a new push for social sector effectiveness.

Download the full report (PDF–2.3MB) 


A call to action

What if the top 25 US-based foundations agreed to best practices for working wth grantees, common metrics, and to share lessons from evaluations? Listen to four thought leaders react to McKinsey's call to action.

Why is the moment now?

Momentum for social impact assessment is building. Why is the moment now to take decisive action? Learn more from four industry leaders.

Washington calls for innovation

Sean Stannard-Stockton speaks about the implications of the government's involvement in the social impact assessment space.