A Decade of Social Impact Development

Social Impact Assessment has developed greatly in the past decade all over the world. A major milestone in this development in Israel was the establishment of Midot – a unique Israeli non-profit organization (NPO) which I have had the privilege to lead as CEO for the past 7 years. It is founded as a partnership between the private sector and the social sector, in order to advance the ideas of social impact assessment across Israel – the founding members are the largest investment firm and the largest NPO in Israel.

Midot’s first and best-known product is a rating tool for Israeli NPOs. The idea was to rate NPOs according to their levels of effectiveness so that donors could use this rating as a tool when they make decisions who to donate too. This was a revolutionary concept at that time, and as such even caused some resistance, from NPOs who did not want to be rated against others. Before Midot was established, impact assessment was mainly done by very long, expensive, in-depth research evaluations (which are still done today), but was not relevant to very small NPOs who were not able to afford them. The Midot process is very affordable and allows practically any NPO to go through it. It mainly focuses on the impact practice of the NPO and is based on the underlying assumptions that the NPOs who have a higher level of impact practice, are more likely to produce better outcomes. This was based on similar international tools (such as Mckinsey’s OCAT and NPC’s little blue book)- but was actually the first time when the ideas of impact, outcomes, logic models and theory of change were being spread out among the social sector in Israel.

As time went by, we came to the understanding that the rating of NPOs is not enough, and what was needed was actually to train the people in the social sector about these issues. So we started delivering workshops and established a training program, which over 2.000 participants have gone through during the past 4 years. But that was not enough as well. As the social sector got more and more developed, there was a growing need for more in-depth services regarding impact measurement. This led to the development of tailor-made consultancy services – which were designed to meet the needs of NPOs. During this time, other forms of cooperation between the social and business sector were also developed – such as social businesses and even social impact bonds (There are 4 active SIBs in Israel today and many more under formulation).

These new developments required new and more in-depth forms of measurement. As time went by and the overlaps between different players in the social assessment arena became more significant, we came to the understanding that in order to achieve our mission and to achieve greater impact, it would make more sense to form strategic partnerships between the relevant players. That is why we initiated, and successfully accomplished, a merger between Midot and Social Finance Israel (part of the Social Finance group which is a world leader in impact investing and measurement). This merger, which was finalized just a few weeks ago, created one big organization who can address all of the issues of impact measurement – from rating NPOs, through workshops and trainings, consultancy services and up to very in-depth impact measurement processes required as part of the execution of social impact Bonds. This marks the beginning of the next phase of impact measurement development in Israel.

Guy Beigel
CEO, Midot

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