• This is a great article about the messy reality of solving our endemic social problems. I think it underscores what has dogged the SIF from the start. Unrealistic (hard to measure) claims that would drive the “profit” side of the investments. Five years later and the field has not advances much at all. There are numerous catalogues of “promising” to “evidence-based” practices and this early data suggests if you scale a “promising practice,” you get a bigger “promising practice” The core research question of the SIF is how efficient is the Investment model at getting more capital to effective nonprofits. The performance needs to focus more (not solely but more) on the effectiveness of the nonprofits in setting up and scaling evidence based programs and less on the outcomes as they are often confounded my many variables outside of the intervention.

  • Hayley_Horan

    “Less than overwhelming results” – would the word just be “underwhelming” ?

  • Paul Selden

    Seems as if there are two ways to read these results: 1. When SIF projects identify successful interventions and help them expand, they succeed; 2. When SIF projects break new ground, they fail–or fail to succeed. Is SIF a better way of identifying successful interventions than leaving it in the hands of government agencies? If so, then all government grants should get distributed by local intermediaries. If SIF is no better at identifying successful interventions, then why reinvent the wheel? I’m so tired of hearing about the superiority of private interests in making use of public resources. Are they really so superior? It seems to me that private companies fail at about the same rate that everyone else fails.