Reana Rossouw founded Next Generation Consultants to address the economic, social and environmental challenges of clients while ensuring measurable impact and return on investments. Reana is an expert at developing high-impact business and development models that deliver a high return on investment for funders.
Over the past decade, Reana has developed Africa’s first impact assessment methodology, the Investment Impact Index™ (III), which measures the impact and return on social and impact investments. This methodology is now applied across the continent by social and impact investors, donors and grantmakers.
‘The biggest hurdle in the CSI sector has always been the inability to measure the impact of programmes and organisations,’ explains Rossouw. ‘However, the Investment Impact Index™ provides a clear indication of what to measure, how to measure and whom to measure, which has the potential to spur incredible growth in the CSI sector.’
The III provides a comparative benchmark across organisations and interventions, serving as both a learning and decision-making tool. It enables social enterprises and social purpose organisations to prove the value of their work, the impact of their interventions, and the credibility and accountability of their programmes.
According to Rossouw, the III measures the impact and return on investment of impact strategies, programmes and interventions, across all investment dimensions. The impact technology platform digitises impact data, and presents it in a visual format as an impact report.
‘It is a breakthrough, as it was created for the African context, and is the first of its kind on the continent. Social and impact Investors, grantmakers, donors and philanthropists are able to use the III, since it provides an overview of their total investment, by geographic location, across portfolios, within focus areas and by intervention.
‘But more importantly, for the first time in performance management practice (i.e., monitoring and evaluation) we have a tool not only to measure and show impact, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and feasibility of each intervention, but to integrate stakeholder and beneficiary experiences of the impact they have experienced.’
The impact measurability of the III for the sector is revolutionary as it provides legitimacy and transparency for the work that the CSI sector does.
The III has been tested extensively across the continent by social and impact investors as well as social organisations. According to Rossouw, use of the III by organisations has led to an increase in funding, enhanced transparency and credibility, and more effective socio-economic development practices.
So far, more than 1000 programmes have been assessed, across 16 portfolios, in seven countries in Africa. Not only does the III incorporate and align to global performance management frameworks and standards, but as a result of the outcomes of the impact assessment process, more money has been directed to high-impact and high-return on investment programmes and organisations, thus contributing to a more sustainable CSI ecosystem.
The III has also played a revolutionary role during the Covid-19 pandemic. Especially during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, organisations became much more aware of the importance and value of technology. Using technology to measure and report on impact adds value both from a human resources perspective, and from the perspective of quality, enabling organisations to respond better and more effectively to the situations in which they work.
‘The combination of science, technology and methodology now forms a strong combination to take the sector forward.’