Funders will also have their own metrics, which they use to decide which ventures to invest in. A funder interested in job creation, for example, may be interested in supporting ventures that can help young people find work, and will be interested in how many young people on your program successfully get a job and stay in work afterwards. It can be tempting to start reporting on these metrics and steer your program towards this result in order to get that funding (mission capture), but if this is not what your program is primarily about, we recommend not to pursue funding for the sake of it.
However, you should be resistant to blindly adopting the metrics or requirements of funders simply to unlock some funding. Ventures that have not decided their own success metrics can too easily be blown off course unless they are absolutely clear about what they are aiming for, and resolute in avoiding funding that takes them in a different direction.
Many ventures working with youth, for example, whose purpose is less exact than job creation or improvement in grades (improvement in student self-confidence or leadership ability, for example) sometimes fall into the trap of going for metrics that don’t really reflect their Mission. As a result, they end up undertaking work that is secondary to what they really want to do.
Be aware also that many funders use social investment metrics designed for portfolios of similar ventures. An impact fund for employment for example might have as its global metric how many new jobs were created by its investments. Such a fund will evaluate each and every potential investment on this basis. This portfolio metric may not be appropriate for your venture. An entrepreneur can push back on this and still be eligible for the fund – this could be part of your negotiation with an investor.