Investment Impact Spectrum and Categories

Investment Impact Spectrum and Categories
Here's an Investment Impact Spectrum that works for me, feel free to adopt it or adjust it to work for you!

I offer this Investment Impact Spectrum with associated categories and definitions as a resource for you to use if it is helpful to you. The simple descriptions are above and the linked google spreadsheet provides additional clarifying details. By copying the spreadsheet, you can also customize the definitions to better meet your needs and preferences.

Link to Investment Impact Spectrum google spreadsheet

Some background on this resource

One thing I have consistently found in my work in the area of impact investing is that there is no constancy in definitions. Terms like "community investments," "impact investments," "main street investments," and "catalytic investments" can all mean slightly different things depending on the context and who you are talking to.

I don't think it's a terrible thing that we don't have 100% standardized definitions for these terms. It suggests that "impact investing" is a decentralized space, and I think that is a good thing. However, a lack of clear definitions can make things challenging when we are trying to asses our own investment portfolios or understand how certain investments fit into the overall landscape.

To address this, I've found that it's best to have a resource that we can personally adjust that clarifies the definitions we are using in any specific context. Because I'm focused on supporting those of us who want to apply community-minded thinking to our own investment portfolios, I'm sharing a set of definitions for impact categories that have worked well for me and my clients for this purpose. I'm sharing this resource in google sheets format so that you can copy it and adjust it to reflect the definitions that work best for you.

Link to Investment Impact Spectrum google spreadsheet

These definitions and this spectrum are based on my understanding of commonly used definitions by practitioners in impact and community investing spaces. I have simply organized and clarified these definitions based on what has worked well for my work. I want to be very clear that while I believe these to be common definitions, they are by no means the only definitions for any of the included terms. I'm also not trying to claim that this is the only (or the "best") way to think about the spectrum of impact.

I also want to acknowledge that my thinking for this Investment Impact Spectrum has been especially influenced by Marco Vagelisti's TANHI Investment Classifications and Thrive Impact Fund's Impact Investment Landscape. I'd highly recommend either of those resources as alternatives or complements to the category names and definitions I'm offering here.

You'll see that I've licensed this resource using the Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0 which makes explicit that anyone is free to use or modify this spreadsheet with appropriate attribution and under the license terms.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, let me be very clear on the following:

This is not investment or financial advice. All information and examples included in this spreadsheet are for educational purposes only. The examples ARE NOT INVESTMENT RECOMMENDATIONS. Please do your own research.

I hope you find this helpful!