Investment in social projects is increasingly prominent in the private-sector agenda. In this area, the involvement of companies evolved from charity activitites to initiatives defined as Private Social Investment (PSI). PSI is characterized by the voluntary, planned and monitored transfer of funds to social projects that can potentially bring about relevant changes for the target public.
This is a recent practice in Brazil, but the amount of funds already invested is substantial. Figures from the last Gife Census, a biennial survey that collects the most relevant information about PSI in Brazil, show that R$ 2.9 billion was invested in social projects and programs in 2016. This situation raises a few questions:
- Have funds been invested in the most efficient way?
- Has the target public been properly considered?
- Were the desired transformations achieved?
- How strong was the impact?
- Were the implementation processes properly deployed?
In the current economic landscape, with the reduction of expenses in all sectors, evaluation and monitoring are even more important to guide management in regard to project improvement and optimal allocation of resources. These tools are also crucial for supporting organizations challenged with being effective and creatively coping with complex social problems.
- Evaluations of impact can (and should) be used in highly-complex situations. They are not limited to only one research method and are critical to provide the decision-making process with better foundations.
- A good evaluation boosts accountability not only for funders, but also for the project participants and for the society as a whole. It therefore helps to increase transparency while allowing the decision-making to be focused more on adapting strategies and processes to each context, and on the creation of new initiatives.
The aim of the Evaluation and Monitoring program is to design and carry out internal and external evaluation and monitoring of the various educational programs sponsored by Itaú Social, thus allowing its managers to best follow up their activities. Methodologies are used that combine quantitative and qualitative approaches. The pillars of the program are:
- Implementing strategic monitoring models that allow Itaú Social to keep tabs on the development of process and interim-result indicators, while they also enable a better analysis of the evaluation results;
- Supporting decision-making in program planning and improvement;
- Providing inputs for training courses in evaluation methodologies given to social project managers and other public-policy players;
- Disseminating the importance of evaluation and monitoring by means of initiatives like seminars and publications.
- Private Foundations and Non-Profit Associations in Brazil – IBGE;
- Gife Census 2016;
- Publication – Economic Evaluation of Social Projects;
- Series of publications – Evaluation of Private Social Investment.