What do we measure?

part 3 in our "Defining and Measuring Series"

Tracking performance of investments to determine if we're meeting our goals for spiritual transformation feels like the holy grail of Kingdom Impact Investing. 

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We have been part of at least a dozen Skype sessions, meetings, and phone calls with other leaders in this space to define the concept and figure out which metrics to use. As entrepreneurs, we are not inclined to keep talking and wait for perfection. It’s time to put forth a working version that can be implemented now and improved over time because we have seen the power of Kingdom Impact Investing and want to unleash it for more good.

Rather than create a rigid, one-size-fits-all methodology, we offer several suggestions that each company or investor can tailor to fit their own culture and goals. After selecting the appropriate measurement areas, a user could add a weighting filter to make is easier to compare companies across industries. Here's the list we're starting to use at Impact Foundation. We welcome your feedback. 

1.    The Basics (yes/no)

At a minimum, all Kingdom Impact companies should exhibit the following:

  • Pays a fair compensation
  • Provides value (quality service/goods at fair prices)
  • Stands against corruption
  • Has satisfied, repeat customers
  • Pays bills on time
  • Practices basic environmental stewardship
  • Has a CEO or other senior leader(s) who regularly participate in spiritual disciplines--some investors and companies choose to implement very detailed metrics for personal spiritual integration

2.    Financial Performance

The markers of financial success are well established and do not need to be repeated here. We mention them to reiterate that without financial viability, a company cannot sustain its impact.

3.    Proliferation of the Good News

  • Number of faith conversations with employee/vendors/contractors
  • Consumers/customers interacting with faith-influenced products or services
  • Corporate chaplain visits
  • Owners and/or employees volunteer their services in the community
  • Intentional relationships built with ministry/church/community leaders
  • Contribution of finances, goods, and services to NGOs and local churches

4.    Environmental Stewardship

Great tools already exist for measuring social and environmental impact thanks to IRIS, GIIN, TONIIC, and others. The following chart from Mission Investors Exchange helps categorize the hundreds of social/environmental impact types into manageable pieces. 

https://www.missioninvestors.org/tools/search/mission-investment-database#impact_sector

https://www.missioninvestors.org/tools/search/mission-investment-database#impact_sector

There are so many potential categories of metrics and it can be overwhelming. So we've chosen to track the following with our investments: 

  • Clean water provided
  • Waste reduced
  • Natural resource management improved

5.    Social Impact

Any of the numerous IRIS, GIIN, or TONIIC metrics would work. Impact Foundation is beginning to track simple categories, including:

  • Jobs created
  • Job/skills training for marginalized or underserved populations
  •  Jobs held by marginalized or underserved populations

Each of the above measurements is worthy of its own essay to dissect its meaning and discuss how to implement it in various contexts, but this is a start. Some may argue that our list is too short or too simple to be accurate. We welcome help to add important concepts we have overlooked, but we caution against making it overly complicated. Busy business owners and investors must be about the important work of running their companies. If we make metrics too difficult or cumbersome, they will not be implemented in the field.