Measuring Impact in Practice

Active Project? No
Year Project Began:
Year of Last Input:
Last Updated: Aug 9 2017
Project Location:
State / Province:
Lead Organization:
Coastal Enterprises Inc.
Type of Organization:
Educational Organization

Geographic Scope


Issue Areas

Economy, Employment, Governance


Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), founded in Maine in 1977, has grown to be one of the country’s
leading Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Finance
Institutions (CDFIs).3 In the early 1990s CEI systematically started measuring its program outcomes and its return on investment in order to provide funders, policymakers and staff with a better understanding of how it was achieving its goals and mission.
CEI recognized early that social impact measurement would be a growing issue for its field. Social
impact is why community development organizations exist and should be the first bottom line of
any CDC or CDFI. As CEI delved deeper into the issues of measuring impact, it realized how difficult it would be to prove its impact. Nevertheless, it searched for indicators that describe its
impact. The process of inquiry in itself was valuable in clarifying its goals and strategies.
CEI’s priorities for measurement and evaluation result from how it thinks it accomplishes its mission to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.

Project URL

Project Contact:

- Educational Organization