What to Know About This Guide
We designed this guide to present you, the impact investor, with the tools to develop and execute a tailored impact investing strategy. We aim to provide an objective, agenda- free resource that will inspire readers while also being realistic about the limitations and possibilities of this increasingly popular investment strategy. We will propose new approaches while keeping the principles of traditional investing in mind.
This guide will be most relevant to mission-driven asset owners, such as private and community foundations, endowments, high-net-worth (HNW) individuals and families, seeking to drive social and environmental changes through their investments. These investors want to be accountable for all of the impacts of their assets—both positive and negative. While retail investors, wealth advisors, and large institutional investors are not the primary audience of this guide, we hope that the process and tools are valuable to them as well.
As industry observers and practitioners, we created this roadmap to offer some common methods to achieve the varied impact objectives of asset owners while also building upon traditional investing frameworks. We will define impact investing broadly and apply it across a wide array of approaches and asset classes—from the global public equity and debt markets to less liquid markets and more catalytic strategies.
How to Use this Guide
We have structured the guide to answer a series of fundamental questions about impact investing. Placed in a sequence, these questions—and each corresponding Practitioner Exercise—become the building blocks of your own impact investing implementation plan.
In the “What” chapter, we place impact investing at the intersection of philanthropy, investment, and policy while identifying its boundaries. The “Who” chapter describes the landscape of key market participants and stakeholders and provides the first steps for you to understand who you are as an impact investor. We then move into “Why” investors pursue impact investing to help you develop relevant goals and map them onto a theory of change—the central anchor for your impact investing process. These goals inform “How” you can use the right structures and tools—for both impact and investment—in order to build an impact investing portfolio. Finally, we look at how investors can measure success in “So What,” and then share concrete organizing approaches and best practices in “Now What.”
For more information, please see the full guide attached below.
The views expressed in the blog and the guide attached are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects philanthropy with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact, driving SDG delivery within national development planning. It is led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), and supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Brach Family Charitable Foundation, and many others.