New government legislation has been announced, making it mandatory for all of New Zealand's Not-for-Profits to report on their impact as well as the more standard financial requirements. One organisation that has had a focus on impact since its beginnings is Jasmine Social Investments.
A foundation established by Sam Morgan and his family following the sale of Trade Me to Fairfax in 2006, Jasmine's mission is to identify high-performing social ventures led by stellar individuals and take them to the next level by providing assistance, capital, and access to skills and networks. To-date, they have provided over $50 million in funding.
"We are creating a portfolio of effective, sustainable and well-governed organisations that are investment worthy for other results-driven philanthropists," explains Nina Gené, CEO of Jasmine.
Jasmine funds scalable impact by investing in outstanding Social Entrepreneurs, who are solving a basic need for the very poor. To qualify for funding, organisations need to have a durable solution, with a well-defined and cost-effective impact, and the ambition to grow to reach over 100,000 beneficiaries.
How they work
Jasmine works to deeply understand organisations and make them "highly fundable" by helping them articulate a clear vision and goals, grow their organisational capacity, be metric driven and well-marketed.
Jasmine performs due diligence on each organisation they fund through an annual review process to assess the quality of operations and the ability to fulfil the mission. No money is released unless, and until, they are confident that the grantee is making a real impact that is cost-effective and scaling. A recent report from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, named Jasmine as one of the few foundations that offer their due diligence to other funders.
On the impact side, Jasmine focuses on the single best indicator to quantify success, for example, gains in literacy and numeracy for a primary education project. They then seek to understand what the primary indicators are, how robust the methodology used to collect the data is and whether a case for attribution (the work the organisation is doing is linked to the impact) can be made. Often as organisations grow and become more sophisticated, they will supplement and validate their internal data with an external evaluation.
A couple of examples
Jasmine's core global portfolio is made up of 20 non-profits with an average 6 fold increase in the number of people impacted since the initial grant, and almost a 50% reduction in the donor subsidy required to support the organisation. In short, the organisations supported are growing and becoming more self-sustaining.
For example, Jasmine added One Acre Fund in the portfolio when they were running a pilot with 4,000 smallholder farmers and today they are a US$135 million non-profit serving 2 million clients. Their key impact metric is the average increase in net profit per farmer, and One Acre Fund has consistently proven that a $72 subsidy will double the income of subsistence families and improve their food security.
Another early investment was Living Goods, which is now serving 8.9 million people (double the New Zealand population!). Living Goods conducted a Randomised Control Trial, the gold standard in most cases, which demonstrated that the Living Goods programme had a 27% reduction in the mortality rate of children under-five. And with that evidence on hand, they are now planning to scale up to serving 25 million people by 2021 with a subsidy of $1 per person.
"We have built a robust due diligence process that allows us to understand and quantify the impact our portfolio is achieving on a regular basis," explains Nina. "While the new regulations will not affect the way Jasmine operates, we think it is immensely important that the Charities Services raises industry standards to make sure that every philanthropic dollar is used effectively to create long-lasting impact."
BDO New Zealand: Your Not-for-Profit partner
BDO can provide New Zealand's Not-for-Profits with the assistance they need to produce comprehensive, concise impact reports, no matter the type of activities they undertake. We have years of experience working with Not-for-Profits in a range of industries, and understand the need for a tailored approach to your impact reporting. Contact us today for more information.