New Year’s Resolution: Invest With An Eye On Impact

The past decade of growth in Impact Investing movement has been impressive. More investors, entrepreneurs, corporations, foundations and non-profits are investing with the intention of generating both financial and social returns than ever before, and we have seen interest in the subject soar. Yet it is still early days and impact investing has a long way to go. As such, we have many investors circling around impact investing, looking for ways to “stick their toe in the water” and experiment before they make a substantial commitment. If you are in this crowd and are thinking that your New Year’s resolution should be to step up your commitment to maximize profit and purpose and learn more about impact investing, we have created a number of resources to help you. None provide investment advice. Instead, they give you the tools to learn about impact investing, inform your research and be well informed as you contemplate investing with your values in mind.

The Short Guide to Impact Investing: This guide lays out the basic principles and examples of impact investing across the field. The guide’s content reflects crowd-sourced wisdom from dozens of our partners in the space. We kept it short and, we hope, fun to read. We developed a flexible framework and a simple taxonomy to help people get their arms around what impact investing means. Case studies and examples of organizations and investors will help illustrate how to create meaningful, measurable impact.

Impact Investing Network Map: Those inside impact investing and those new to the field often ask “who makes impact investments, and what do they look like?” That is why the Case Foundation built the Impact Investing Network Map. The Network Map demonstrates the publicly available transactions between investors and companies within impact investing. We believe that by bringing the connections between actors to life—looking specifically at the investments that connect them—we can foster a better understanding of the size, breadth, depth and, importantly, the enormous potential of this field. The Network Map is not intended as a diligence tool, but instead offers a way to view the ecosystem more broadly based on data sets made available in the sector.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the pivotal milestones that have led us to today, and to better understand the experiences and lessons learned from pioneers in the field. To celebrate 10 years of growth in the sector, and to highlight these key moments, we put together an interactive timeline. The timeline looks back at the last decade of growth in impact investing, and spotlights the many investors, entrepreneurs and leaders who jumped in and propelled it forward. The moments captured on this timeline are just some of the activities that have helped to shape the ecosystem we have today, but they bring to light the importance of distinct actions that have created opportunities for others and how the movement has progressed in key areas like intentionality, measurement and transparency. While celebrating the progress made over the past decade, the timeline also shows the promise the future holds for impact investing.

As I wrote earlier this year, we believe that forces are at play that demonstrate a promising future for impact investing. A wider and wider range of actors are jumping in, leading others who historically remain on the sidelines to start to explore impact investing allocations. We see Millennials and women playing a greater role in the next decade around how wealth might be deployed with purpose in mind, but we also see continuing momentum from all sectors of the market. Relatedly, we also see a growing number consumers are using their voices, their dollars and their careers to have impact, as well.

While these signs give us hope, there is much more to be done to keep the momentum going. And that is why we are reaching out to those of you looking to learn more about impact investing in 2018, offering the resources you need to learn more about this exciting field. To those new to the movement, we want to welcome you to impact investing! We look forward to you joining a community committed to putting investment dollars to work in the pursuit of profit and purpose.