Social impact bonds should offer lower risks or higher returns, says report (subscription)

Risky Business by the Social Market Foundation says there is a gulf between what commissioners are prepared to pay and the returns most investors will accept.

How Non-Profits and Think Tanks Are Pushing Government to Better Leverage Data

Non-profits, foundations, and universities are enthused by government’s growing interest in the use of evidence and evaluation. They are chiming in with either support for government initiatives or undertaking their own initiatives.
Some non-profits and foundations are advocates for the use of evidence-based decision-making in different policy arenas, while others advocate use of different tools or techniques for program evaluation. Interestingly, as government at all levels begins to adopt these approaches, the non-profit, foundation, and university communities are enthusiastically chipping in to help.
Examples of Advocates Sponsoring Initiatives

America Achieves. This new non-profit sees itself as an entrepreneurial start up with some political savvy and bipartisan firepower. It is sponsoring a “Results for America” initiative to improve “outcomes for young people, their families, and communities by driving public resources toward evidence-based, results-driven solutions.” In a recent letter to President Obama’s chief of staff, they advocate an ambitious agenda for a federal evidence and evaluation framework. They also developed an agency-by-agency scorecard that assesses individual agencies’ capacity and use of evidence and program evaluation. It has piloted the scorecard on two agencies, with more on the way, to highlight progress.
In the spring, America Achieves co-sponsored a well-attended event with the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project that gave the government’s evidence-based agenda popular attention in the media.

Center for American Progress. The Center is sponsoring a “Doing What Works” Initiative which advocates both “pay for success” and “social impact bonds” as tools for implementing results-based program initiatives. For example, it sees a role for such financing approaches to support wastewater, drinking water, and other critical infrastructure improvements.