Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Community Development

Investing for Good: Measuring Nonfinancial Performance

Author(s): David C. Colby and Sarah G. Pickell

December 2010

Community Development Investment Review

It is said that Quakers came to America to do good, but did well. The community development field does well, but could be strengthened by demonstrating how much good it does. Except when funded by a foundation or similar institution, often times the prime measures of success for community development are financial performance measures. By contrast, for those of us who work in the field of health, understanding our impact generally requires the measurement of nonfinancial impacts. And for some of us, it is even trickier because we work at institutions that are neither accountable to markets nor to the electorate. Our work involves valuing things that are thought to be “priceless.”

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