Funding Outcomes

The Centre for Social Impact believes in aligning funding and investment with the most effective social outcomes. We believe in rewarding what matters.

Current context for outcomes measurement

Throwing money at the problem is just not good enough – even with the best of intentions. Especially when there is not enough money to go around and people’s lives are at stake. We need the right funding models for the right social challenges that reward the most effective and meaningful outcomes.

Unlike the commercial world, most social expenditure does not reward efficiency and effectiveness. The trend has been to fund programs that isolate one – or two – issues without rewarding a coordinated and effective response that delivers a well-defined outcome. There is a failure to reward outcomes or fund performance-based delivery, which would drive a more effective and efficient market for social impact.

Historically we have invested in physical infrastructure, products and services that deliver financial and widespread economic value; and research and development for innovation. We need to have the same vision for investment in social infrastructure that delivers social and economic value.

A way forward

By creating a genuine market for the delivery of social outcomes we will see the emergence of innovation in funding that encourages collaborative and momentous initiatives for change. We already have a competitive tendering process for government funding that encourages duplication and lack of coordination, which is not creating beneficial change for those that need it most. It is not utilising our talent pool to the right purpose.

There are encouraging signs in this field. We have seen emerging products and initiatives such as Social Impact Bonds in Australia and around the world. We have seen the emergence of stock exchanges that publicly drive the marketplace to perform better for its stakeholders. There has been a groundswell of innovation in microfinance.

CSI and social investment

We believe the debate on funding needs to shift from one of ‘not enough’ and ‘more needed’, to one of innovation and adaption; applying funding and finance models that enable the most effective initiatives for the key challenges. We need capital that enables limited resources to deliver valuable and long-lasting solutions. We need solutions that minimise costs for the future. We need solutions that demonstrably improve the lives of disadvantaged Australians – and keep it that way.

The Centre for Social Impact will continue to explore the feasibility of existing and new investment models for social purpose.

We will pose questions that drive to the point of efficacy for real and long-lasting change and advocate for a shift in policy and action across sectors. We will educate future leaders with the knowledge do the same. We will work across sectors to discover what funding models work, where and for which social challenges so that we can help build a robust and sustainable social infrastructure for Australia’s future.

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