About The Impact Database (ImpactDB)

The Impact Database (ImpactDB) is a data publishing project dedicated to furthering public interest in impact investment and impact approaches through data visualisation and storytelling.

We strongly believe in the the idea that seeing impact succeed is in the shared interest of humanity. We believe that data about impact – critical, encouraging, or neither – belongs, properly, in the public domain. We strive to collect and share impact data based on that belief.

This website is intended to further the mission of impact data visibility and transparency and also make data about impact easier to understand and more interesting.

It’s a huge mission. Our contribution is a modest one. But we see interactive media, storytelling, and data visualisation as key tools that we’re eager to leverage in furthering its success.

In more concrete terms: this website tries to bridge the gap, sometimes a wide one, between financial and academic literature and the narrative of what impact is trying to achieve, on the ground, as it works to improve the global financial system.

Target audience? Everyone potentially interested in impact but especially the journalists and policymakers who can help amplify impact’s message and mainstream its messages.

What are we not? For one, we don’t collect or publish our own data and we’ve never wished to become a data provider for financial markets (our mission is more journalistic). We do, however, seek to develop an evedentiary bedrock for understanding what works in impact. Perhaps we’re best described as “enquiring fans”.

ImpactDB was created by Daniel Rosehill in March-April 2024. Daniel works as the Communications Manager for Sir Ronald Cohen (while we support Sir Ronald’s messaging and thinking, this website is an independent undertaking). ImpactDB is a registration-pending non-profit and if you’d like to help us success please consider supporting us.

What Calls Us To This Mission

Reason 1: Because We Think A World Without Sloths Would Kind Of Suck

(…but we actually have a whole bunch of reasons why we think that impact thinking is smart and encourage you to read them)

Okay, Some Actual Reasons, Then:

We Want To Gather Impact Data

We know that there aren’t petabytes of data about impact investing and impact being produced every day.

We don’t think that data is a magic spell, a hangover cure, a box of dishwasher tablets, or … a remedy for terrible policy.

But we do think that data matters – especially in impact.

If impact suggests that we have a smarter, better way of making finance work, we believe that the onus is on us to back up those claims with numbers that show how these ideas work in the real world.

Currently we believe that data about impact approaches is difficult to access because:

1) It’s produced by a very wide range of groups and simply understanding the breadth of the ‘ecosystem has become challenging and
2) Because it’s frequently published in a format intended for a professional readership (like lengthy reports).

We don’t think that these are bad things. But we do think that they present hurdles to easy access. We’re working at reducing those obstacles.

We Think That People (Not Dollar Signs) Should Be At The Heart Of The Impact Narrative

Communicating about ‘impact’ is difficult because we think that there’s a difficult paradox at play (that rarely gets acknowledged).

On the one hand, it’s about improving the lives of individual people.

On the other, because the problems facing humanity are so big, we’re constantly being urged to “think big” and “think global”.

We think that there’s a real risk in the latter:

We can become so accustomed to “thinking big” that we forget about the individuals (and their lives) who are supposed to be at the very heart of the change we’re trying to bring about in the world.

That’s why we believe that (in impact at least) data and storytelling are two elements that cannot be separated from one another.

To further impact policies and advocate for them to policymakers, we need to accumulate data showing that impact approaches work. But if we neglect to tell the stories of those who belong at the center of this narrative, we’ve done them – and the whole movement – a big disservice.

This is a big objective. We’re working on it.

And Here Are Some Values That Matter To Us

We believe in absolutely transparency around impact data and are committed to helping the impact ‘ecosystem’ open-source the data that it generates.

For that reason, we try to ensure that the perfect never becomes the enemy of the good.

We are transparent about highlighting when datasets are several years ago.

But because we still feel that they are instructive and relevant, they are included in our analyses.

(We’re also on Github)

If you’re reading this, you’re an impact stakeholder.

Even if you can’t read, you’re one too.

We believe that everyone who calls this spinning globe home has a vested interest in seeing it survive.

While we try our best to be positive, we strenuously dislike the idea that impact should be a “top-down movement” targeting (exclusively) the attention of big donors, financiers, and policymakers.

We believe that that exclusionary line of thought is a strategic mistake and that impact needs to engage widely with those it is trying to help to advance its mission.

In light of that, while we love the work that many talented people in academia and think tanks are doing, we think that impact needs to be brought to the attention of a much wider group of stakeholders: the general public.

We try our best to highlight what we think is interesting in this space and bring it to the attention of journalists and other groups.

The purpose of this website is not to portray a portrait of impact as field of unremitting success. Nor to suggest that every idea that impact investing proposes, or has proposed, is flawless.

Much as impact data can prove instructive as to what approaches do work, it has also proven helpful in flagging interventions and methodologies that were less useful.

Analysis that is critical or probative of the merits of specific interventions is more than welcome.

The key, as we see it, is encouraging analysis and discussion about what impact is doing among a community of stakeholders that stretches far beyond the impact investing world.

ImpactDB wishes to thank the following individuals:

  • Sir Ronald Cohen for allowing us to dedicate time to initiating this project
  • Everyone who has generously agreed to allow us to reproduce their data on this website including INDIGO, NZDPU, and others.
  • ImpactDB uses CrunchyBridge as an external managed data provider.

    The database backing the data store is located in a computing region in Germany.

    Our Data Stack

    What we’re using over and under the hood to make this all work.

    We have not received any discount or inducement to share these logos.

    We just like all these companies (and technologies) and wanted to give them a digital thumbs up.

    We Think That These Guys Are Pretty Great Too 🙂

    Again, we just like to pass on recommendations to tech resources that are serving us well: