Social Performance Start-up Fund: Emerging lessons and challenges

  • Date Posted: March 13, 2013
  • Authors: Katherine E. Knotts
  • Organizations/Projects: kae associates
  • Document Types: Case Study or Vignette
  • Donor Type: Foundation

Presenting lessons from the experience of Social Performance Fund on building social performance management capacity of networks and MFIs.

This case study describes the experience of the Social Performance Fund (SP Fund), implemented by the Microfinance Centre (MFC) and supported by the Ford Foundation. SP Fund aimed to respond to two key needs within the microfinance social performance management (SPM) agenda, namely scale and sustainable local SPM support capacity. The study presents lessons from SPF’s experience for networks that are currently supporting SPM integration amongst their membership, and those interested in doing so in the future.

SP Fund’s first 24-month project met or exceeded most of its targets around outreach to MFIs and results in terms of building the SPM capacity of networks and MFIs. Lessons for networks from SP Fund’s experience highlight the importance of:

  • Having a clear understanding of members’ needs and priorities;
  • Developing an effective plan to address members’ needs and priorities;
  • Continually building buy-in for the SPM agenda; and
  • Using social performance information to support organizational improvement and on-going advocacy work.

The study also highlights insights of relevance to the industry-at-large, including the key role that networks play in the SPM scale-up process, and the applicability of the SPM agenda to networks themselves.