One of the things I find hard is the externalities, because often there are tons of things that a company is influencing. For example, with Heroes & Friends (our company) we try to built a platform for social movements (NGOs, social enterprises, etc.) and we don't control who is using it. So it can be used for ineffective movements but also highly effective ones. However, in our view we see a new society emerging where people take action themselves and take responsibility to improve their own community and help other people too. So on the surface it might have less direct impact (depending on the users) but on the long-term we want to be the market place of the 'informal economy' where people can 'harvest goodwill'. In order for this bottom-up economy to self-organize it needs a system or marketplace that provides the technology to do so, and we are basically building the best software for social movements to grow. But how would you include or exclude externalities? Which ones do you count and which ones do you leave out?
Is it a positive externality that more than 1 million people read good news stories and opportunities to act in their social media because of our platform or not? Is it a negative externality that many projects are not optimalized for 'doing the most good'? I'm just wondering how we could measure this for our own company but also for many others because I think there should be a lot of data points included.
It was a really informative and good read, thanks for being so specific. I think I've got a high potential project that can play a huge role in ending Malaria and it needs funding quite soon (2-3 weeks), so I'm supporting them in a funding round. They only need €12.000,- more, would we be able to join the EA grants even before the next round has started?