Expected Returns


An expected return is used by investors to determine the expected value of a certain venture. It is traditionally measured by the amount of profits (benefits - costs), discounted by the value of today's currency. In the context of a grant-making and impact investing, a similar approach can be used to measure investments. Examples formats of this measurement include Social Return on Investment (SROI), Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR), and Economic Rate of Return (ERR). SROI is the most common and is documented further below.

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  • How Impact Investors Actually Measure Impact

  • Additional Information

    Social Return on Investment (SROI) (from pp. 16 of measuring the “impact” in impact investing, linked in resources)

    According to the SROI Network, SROI is “a framework based on social generally accepted accounting principles (SGAAP) that can be used to help manage and understand the social, economic and environmental outcomes.”5 SROI was developed from social accounting and cost benefit analysis. SROI puts a monetary value on social benefits, and compares public and private benefits to costs.

    In its simplest form, the SROI ratio can be calculated by: SROI ratio = (Present Value of Impact) / (Value of Inputs)

    It can take the form of a %ROI, a ratio, or a Net Present Value (NPV) number.

    There are two types of SROI. The first is evaluative, which is conducted retrospectively and based on actual outcomes that have already taken place. The second is forecast, which predicts how much social value will be created if the activities meet their intended outcomes.

    This is especially useful in the planning stages of an activity, or if existing data does not enable you to compute an evaluative SROI


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