The goal at the heart of building capacity for impact is to produce meaningful social outcomes reliably and sustainably before embarking on a journey to scale.
In early 2014, Impetus-PEF was invited to chair a working group that would examine the issue of investment-readiness and capacity-building in social organisations as a means of driving growth in the UK social investment market. The working group’s conclusions formed part of a report of the UK National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investment Taskforce, which was established under the UK’s presidency of the G8 in 2013.
Building the Capacity for Impact, published in September 2014, was the product of several months of discussion by a 12-member working group of senior figures from the social investment world. It recommends ways social investment market stakeholders can accelerate progress towards a cadre of high-performing social sector organisations that are capable of reliably producing social outcomes and also scaling.
The report argues that to grow a social organisation’s impact requires new skills, practices and techniques that focus on reliably and sustainably delivering meaningful social outcomes. It contains a number of recommendations for government, commissioners and other funders to ensure that social outcome-producing capacities are prioritised over scaling capacities so that social organisations are significantly more incentivised to provide genuine social outcomes to pressing social problems.
On publishing the report, Daniela Barone Soares, Chief executive of Impetus-PEF and Chair of the working group, said: “We highlight that there are two types of capacity-building required by the social sector – one is around building strong resilient organisations with good governance, systems, controls and management. The other is around building organisations which can reliably and predictably produce meaningful social outcomes, eventually for large numbers of people. Both are crucial for the social investment market to flourish, but the latter has been largely neglected in attempts to develop the market.”
“We recommend much more investment in, and support for, organisations to build these ‘outcome-producing’ capabilities – for the good of investors, investees, and for those who need outcomes most of all, those in our most deprived communities.”
Working group members were drawn from leading organisations in the field, including Big Lottery Fund, Big Society Capital, Bridges Ventures and Unltd.
Download the full paper here.