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Where to turn for funding - impact investors for a social impact venture?

We're a 2 year old firm staffed currently by 4 consultants banded together deeply believing that international development must be designed and implemented by communities and their local partners to be self-sustained. I have proven, as founder that 99.9% of the time donors and implementers do not return to evaluate and learn from what communities could self-sustain after projects close. We know this is deeply needed for projects to be designed based on what still works (do more), doesn't (do less) plus teaches us much about our ROI. Donors and foundations we have approached are interestingly uninterested in learning this; non-profits are interested but cash-strapped, so how to approach impact investors or __? More at ValuingVoices.com

12 Replies

Victoria Cabrera
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Victoria Cabrera Entrepreneur
Marketing Coordinator at Patxi's Pizza
Jindra, could you please clarify what you are asking here.?
Jindra Cekan, PhD
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Jindra Cekan, PhD Entrepreneur
Case Study Research Lead, Ex-post Evaluation in USAID E3 Basic Education at Management Systems International
Victoria, I am asking two questions: 1)how to approach impact investors to fund such a different approach to international development and 2) is there any other category of funder who would fund such work for social good? Thank you...
Julie Trell
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Julie Trell Entrepreneur
Consultant: Corporate Philanthropy, Enterprising Educator, Creative THNKr, Door Opener, Light Bulb Turner-On
The area of evaluation and measurement sadly doesn't have as high a priority or visibility in the impact investing and funding arenas. I would check out some of the more established and forward thinking foundations (Moore, Macarthur Foundation. Or find out who the funders and players are around GIIRS - http://b-analytics.net/giirs-ratings (GIIRS Ratings are the gold standard for impact measurement in impact investing. GIIRS Ratings are rigorous, comprehensive, and comparable ratings of a company or a fund's social and environmental impact.)

Global Impact Investing Rating System -http://impactinvesting.marsdd.com/simt/global-impact-investing-rating-system-giirs/
Thomas J. Kaled
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Thomas J. Kaled Advisor
Business Development Consultant @ thomas.kaled@gmail.com
Dr. Cekan,

If I understand your question you are simply looking for folks who have sufficient funding for your Organization . Your Organization, if I have correctly gleaned the critical information from your website, purports to have a methodology to simultaneously study a project (funded by and conducted by 3rd parties) and adapt it to the community dynamically, longitudinally. Do you have an algorithm or any discernible, objective data (interval or ratio level data) which verifies such a claim? If not then perhaps your difficulty in acting in an 'other than overhead' capacity either to the funding organization or recipient of such largesse is that your assumption (we can help) is faulty or it is unclear. Objective data will clarify either.
Dina Destreza
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Dina Destreza Entrepreneur
Digital Content Manager at Keyideas Infotech
Great venture Jindra Cekan. Before talking to an investor about your venture, I would suggest you for an interaction. Know your investor's forte especially something which is close to his or her heart. Don't be surprised if an investor shows an interest which is contradictory to your proposal. After all, everyone has their own preferences. If you want the right investor, please don't hesitate to spend time looking and interacting with him or her. There are many investors indeed, you would find one. If your organization have a little amount of liquidity, use it but don't stop interacting with investors. And if your organization is cash-strapped, keep
Jackson Powell
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Jackson Powell Advisor
UI/UX Designer & Front End Developer
Hi Jindra,

What a specific and focused question! I would suggest your reach out to Lonnie Sciambi and ask him directly for his advice.

He's a successful entrepreneur having started and sold two companies. He's offering to answer a question of yours with a customized and personal response for free. No strings attached. :)

You can find him on FounderDating or his website:http://www.thesmallbusinessforce.com/ask/

Best of luck!
Ada Smith Jackson
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Ada Smith Jackson Entrepreneur
Founder at ENSO Strategic Partners
Jindra, your dilemma hits a bit close to home in my work - my consulting model is being designed to sustain a long term partnership with clients (as opposed to project based consulting) to provide these organizations with strategic support that carries them beyond the project itself - the issue of sustainability is a big one. I would love to connect with you one on one and see if there are any commonalities that can be built into our approaches.
Jindra Cekan, PhD
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Jindra Cekan, PhD Entrepreneur
Case Study Research Lead, Ex-post Evaluation in USAID E3 Basic Education at Management Systems International
Everyone, many thanks for all your input! I have reached out to you or to those you recommended. Julie, looking at Giirs made it clear to me that sustainability evaluation is needed re: impact investor measurements (hence developing this for such investors or the Mars group would be an 'ask' and I have reached out to them). Dina, yes I agree, the issue is identifying them and Jackson I will write him!
Thomas, many thanks for your input as well -especially your understanding "study a project (funded by and conducted by 3rd parties) and adapt it to the community dynamically, longitudinally".Yes, there have been a handful of such studies we have found (http://valuingvoices.com/catalysts-2/) and analyzed and have done two ourselves and are proposing more...We do have a mixed-method approach which is customized for different clients based on what data they already have against which to measure impact. See our capabilities statement on the right bar here: http://valuingvoices.com/publicationsspeeches/ . Our desire is to be catalytic -- to encourage investors, donors, and others to not only do and use such assessments but also to also design for long-term sustainability by learning from past success for upcoming projects as well asbuild capacity in-country for such learning. We imagine impact investors, foundations would invest in us as it is a 'game changer' in international development where currently 99% of the time no one returns (making "sustainable development" quite hollow).
Jindra Cekan, PhD
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Jindra Cekan, PhD Entrepreneur
Case Study Research Lead, Ex-post Evaluation in USAID E3 Basic Education at Management Systems International
Ada, wonderful, let's talk! My skype is jinczech333, cell: [removed to protect privacy]. Cheers
Dina Destreza
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Dina Destreza Entrepreneur
Digital Content Manager at Keyideas Infotech
Thank you for your email, Jindra. If you need any assistance, you can always send me an email. And I would be very glad to assist you. If you need any software to be created for your work, do let me know and I would be glad to assist you. Regards, Dina
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