At One Acre Fund, we rigorously measure the outcome of our work on farmers’ lives by continually testing program impact on yields and profits each year. It is important to us that farmers get a return on their investment. We use the $ impact estimate to make strategic decisions across the organization – for example, we prefer to expand more aggressively in areas that show greater impact potential and slow growth, and focus on researching areas which struggle more to generate impact. We use the $ impact numbers to calculate the Social Return on Investment (SROI) for each country, which allows us to compare the $ impact to each donor dollar invested, to understand where we are getting the most “bang for our buck”.
Over time, we have expanded our concept of impact to move beyond immediate farmer profit, and into areas that are not easily monetized but which bring meaningful changes in farmers’ lives. Specifically, we work towards ensuring that farmers in our program not only get big harvests but also have healthy families and rich soils. We focus primarily on nutrition and soil health because our program has a reasonable chance of impacting those areas, and because better nutrition and improved soil health help ensure longer-term success.