CASE Smart Impact Capital Highlight: The Four Impact Basics


As part of the application process for the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship’s (CASE) F. M. Kirby Impact Prize, a new annual prize of $100,000 USD in unrestricted funds that will be awarded to one scaling impact enterprise each year, we want to provide all applicants with access to CASE’s award-winning resources and learning opportunities.

An important part of scaling your impact as an entrepreneur is articulating your impact strategy to potential investors and funders. If you are articulating your impact for the first time, or are unsure of how best to communicate what you expect your impact to be, we recommend you watch a beginner-level video from our global CASE Smart Impact Capital™ program: Articulating Strategy to Investors: The Four Impact Basics.

CASE Smart Impact Capital™ is an online training course operating continuously since 2016 that helps entrepreneurs and investors to strategize, target and close impact investments. In addition to helping thousands of individual entrepreneurs and investors decode the impact investment marketplace, it has been licensed as a professional curricular tool by over 70 cohorts of entrepreneurs working in over 100 countries, through dozens of accelerators, universities, training programs, and funding agencies, including Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, ESADE, Agora, Islamic Development Bank, Echoing Green, FHI 360, Grand Challenges Canada, SOCAP, Opportunity Collaboration, and many others. Over 90 percent of users report the program met or exceeded their expectations.

Articulating Strategy to Investors: The Four Impact Basics explains, in a lively 12-minute animation with real-life examples, the four impact basics that you need to “pack in your suitcase” on your journey to securing impact investments for your enterprise. According to Cathy Clark, Faculty Director of CASE and CASE i3, and lead author of CASE Smart Impact Capital, “Impact entrepreneurs need to answer questions from potential investors about two dimensions: their business growth and impact evidence. There are many kinds of impact evidence they could provide – we go into more depth on those in the program, but they all start with the four impact basics.”


Impact Basic 1: Your Mission Statement captures the impact that you are trying to make. Good mission statements are short and include three essential elements: 1. A verb, 2. A target population, and 3. An outcome, which is the effect you’re trying to have.

Impact Basic 2: Your Impact Story is a longer version of your mission statement. It is your brief explanation of the problem you are addressing and the “special sauce” of your solution. In 30 seconds or less, how does your solution uniquely address the problem you’ve identified?

Impact Basic 3: Your Theory of Change is your theory of how your activities lead to your desired outcome. A theory of change is called a theory because you usually don’t know if it will work – you are making assumptions. The best way to develop a theory of change is to use an impact value chain (logic model). The impact value chain culminates in your impact – the change that is statistically attributable to you. What are the critical assumptions in your value chain? What can you measure to see if they are working?

Impact Basic 4: Your Key Performance Indicators are data that you collect on outputs of your operations that relate to the ultimate social outcomes that you aim to achieve. These will likely change over time as you test and modify your theories of change.

Articulating Your Strategy to Investors is just one of dozens of valuable tools available in our CASE Smart Impact Capital™ toolkit. A recent user in Capetown, South Africa wrote this feedback on the toolkit: “I am a chartered accountant with 25 years in investment banking experience internationally. I am completely blown away by the quality and depth of content in the course. It is a full A to Z how-to for an impact finance professional. Keep up the good work!”

This is why, in an effort to make CASE Smart Impact Capital™ more accessible to entrepreneurs as well as impact finance professionals, we lowered our rates for new subscribers this year. Individual licenses are now $99 for users in developed markets and $29 for those in developing markets for six months of access. Group licenses for 4 or more users cost even less:

Learn more about CASE Smart Impact Capital or the F. M. Kirby Impact Prize and sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on the latest tools and resources coming from CASE.


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