Macquarie Group is supporting Opportunity International’s work to dig beneath the numbers and see how your gifts are really changing lives, says David Fass, Macquarie Group’s CEO of Europe Middle East and Africa.
Understanding the social impact of an organisation like Opportunity International is hard to measure. Sure, we can measure the number of businesses it invests in, its turnover or how many people it employs and the jobs it creates. These metrics are important and Opportunity International has plenty of data to support these questions.
But what do these metrics mean at an individual level? And what does it mean in the very poor countries where Opportunity International operates?
At Macquarie, we’re interested in understanding the real impact of organisations like Opportunity International so our funds can be even more effectively targeted. Our instinct tells us that developing small businesses and entrepreneurs is good for families and communities – but how can we really assess this? It would be really valuable to understand what makes particular microfinance programmes more effective in helping people’s lives than others. But with Opportunity International’s programmes reaching more than two million people, it’s clearly impossible to measure every single project to identify what worked in their particular case.
That’s why Macquarie is excited to fund Opportunity International’s work to gather wide-reaching social and financial impact data. It will look at things like whether micro-loans really can help people make a living from their entrepreneurial business, protect against the risk of a bad harvest, send their kids to school or improve the nutritional intake of their family. These sound like incredibly simple measures. But this gathering of social data will help improve microfinance initiatives to responsibly deliver their services, enhance their ability to reach people in desperate circumstances and, most importantly, transform people’s lives.
We’re proud to be partnering with Opportunity International and to work with City A.M. to better understand how your gifts are helping to do all of this and more.