Impact Tracking: How is Everyone Else Doing it?

Impact TrackingOne of the questions we hear most often from impact investors, foundations, and non-profits that are searching for an impact tracking tool is “How are other organizations tracking metrics?”

It’s certainly understandable in a relatively new industry such as impact investing to be curious about how competing organizations are faring and what tools they are using.

But for organizations new to metric tracking, “What is everyone else doing?” is not the question you should be asking.


What to Ask About Impact Tracking

Unfortunately for those looking to just copy industry leaders, the methods those organizations use to track metrics are particular to their business and part of what makes each of them unique, and what should make you unique as well.

So it may be easy for us to tell you a metric or definition that someone else uses but it likely doesn’t have any relation to your business. And any given metric tracking solution isn’t going to tell you which metrics to track. So the ways that an organization ends up tracking metrics is a result of their unique business model.


Determine What to Track

The path we recommend when searching for a metric tracking tool starts a few steps before asking how other people are doing it. Before any organization considers adopting a metric tracking tool, they should know which indicators are going to drive their theory of change.

From there, they should determine the metrics they are going to track and they should have proven methodologies for collecting data on those metrics. At this point, it’s logical to bring on a metric tracking tool to help you continue to do the things you have been doing but to help you organize, track, and report on the data that is already being collected–in short, to do what you’re already doing, but BETTER.

If you aspire to track metrics or use the IRIS taxonomy to gain a competitive differentiator but you don’t know where to begin? Check out our blog post on changing expectations for impact investors.