Using the Sustainable Development Goals to Rally Mainstream Social Impact Investment

Social impact managers and organisations can better attract the funding they need, including mainstream investors, by leveraging the Sustainable Development Goals and demonstrating their results against the SDG indicators.

Using the Sustainable Development Goals to Rally Mainstream Social Impact Investment

Social impact investing is commanding growing interest and attention globally. The broad public support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals has captured the public's attention too. Previously social impact was dominated by foundations and the philanthropic sector, fragmented across organisations worldwide or major government led international development aid and development assistance programs. Often these programs and initiatives operated in isolation to one another.

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals the various stakeholders and public have focused on a shared vision for environmental, health and community economic development. Social impact investment has attracted interest and attention from private sector and "mainstream" investors looking to realize a return as well as doing good. Corporate social responsibilities (CSR) programs have also contributed, funnelling more resources into this popular and expanding sector.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) serve as a critical international agreed framework for the sector. Their wide spread support brings a shared public commitment to see results for the public and private funds invested in social impact. The SDGs provide a common commitment so funding can be more clearly allocated and results measured priorities. With agreement on the 17 common goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/) it's possible to aggregate results and demonstrate the value of the thousands, if not millions, of local initiatives underway globally.

The SDGs are made more measurable through a shared set of indicators, like KPIs. This delivers a more realistic and tangible set of targets that social impact organisations can work towards, ensuring they are contributing to the 17 SDGs. Progress on the 17 SDGs are evidenced by these 230 official indicators (https://www.sdgindex.org/assets/files/2017/2017-SDG-Index-and-Dashboards-Report--full.pdf).

The creation of the SDG Index and country reporting dashboards helps provide more detailed data that can influence investment decision-making and priorities. The Index provides a standardised framework for individual social impact programs to target, measure and report on - with comparability. This transparency and focus is a great benefit to investors, supporting clear and shared understandings of progress and impact so investments results are transparent and comparable.

The Index and framework helps identify where attention and resources are most needed. This helps demonstrate where the most value for money may be achieved. They form a basis for quantitative long term comparable monitoring. With this level of detail, albeit with some work to do yet, a multi-stakeholder approach is more viable as there is a common understanding of the challenges and the obligations.

AVPN 2019 is Asia’s largest gathering of social impact investors. This year's AVPN conference theme is "Breaking Boundaries", as the region, and social impact investing in general, suffers from an almost overwhelming "complex web of pressing socio-environmental challenges”. To be successful in garnering the funding needed to successful deliver the SDGs - underfunded by an estimated $2.5 trillion - social impact needs to attract significant and ongoing mainstream investment (https://conference.avpn.asia/the-avpn-conference/).

To do so AVPN notes 3 key themes for the 2019 conference panels, expert discussions, workshops and events:

  • Collaboration - working in silos will not deliver the change needed. Collaboration is required to deliver on the ground impact and to leverage funding, knowledge and expertise.
  • Funding flexibility - managing funds, and portfolios of programs and projects is critical, as is the opening up to a broader and more innovative set of funding tools that can also recognise the different needs and stages of programs.
  • Expanding the tent - to succeed the SDGs cannot be a specialised sector for investment, they need to be attractive to the mainstream investor, tapping that much larger market.

Tactiv has worked in the social impact sector for over 15 years, in natural resources management across Australia, health program reporting with the WHO and international aid development program management with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We have seen a lot of change in the sector. Most of this has been positive, with the sector maturing to build more successful relationships, improved accountability and transparency, and expanded capacity with transformative technology.

Tactiv's focus has been on providing the underlying software that helps our clients "do more good". Utilising Enquire we empower social impact program managers and organisations to:

  • Create online applications that incorporate indicators for grant funded projects and other investments, enhancing quantitative and qualitative reporting.
  • Extend reach to on the ground project delivery agents to capture and directly report progress and milestones on indicators in a more timely and efficient manner and to ensure a single source of truth.
  • Right size investment measures to improve the information used by decision makers while easing the burden of monitoring and collecting data.
  • Automate evidence based reporting with easy and accurate "at a glance" ad hoc reporting for day to day management and decision making, standardised and scheduled investor reporting and fund/sub fund granular reporting for accountability, transparency and compliance demands.

As the social sector continues to grow its success in attracting the mainstream investor is dependent on meeting their stringent information demands on results. With our flagship product, Enquire Grant Contract and Impact Reporting software, we position social impact managers and their organisations with the ability more easily align, connect, measure and report on their results and align and connect their contribution to the SDGs.

With this capability social impact organisations can better attract the funding they need and more efficiently manage their investor relationships. They can more easily rollup their results to more clearly demonstrate their unique contributions to the high level global SDGs and demonstrate on the ground impact against the indicators.

Tactiv is a proud AVPN 2019 Exhibition Sponsor reflecting our ongoing commitment to this sector. We look forward to being a part of the movement across Asia, and globally, to accelerate the transformation in social impact investing. To connect with us at the AVPN Conference 2019 get in touch to book a meeting or look for us at the Suntec City Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Raffles Boulevard, Suntec City, 039593, 3rd Floor.

Join us for a demonstration of Enquire Grant, Contract and Impact Reporting software to get a look at the future of managing impact investing.

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