What Is Social Performance?

Social performance is defined as “the effective translation of an institution’s mission into practice in line with accepted social values.”

In other words, social performance is about making an organization's social mission a reality, whatever that mission is.  The following are ome of the more commonly promoted social values in microfinance:

  • Providing financial and/or nonfinancial services to greater numbers of poor and excluded people
  • Improving the quality and appropriateness of services already being offered
  • Increasing revenue generated by clients' businesses
  • Building clients' sense of empowerment
  • Reducing vulnerability
  • Alleviating poverty
  • Improving an MFI’s impact on the environment or the community

In order to achieve strong social performance, an organization must manage its social performance as carefully and deliberately as it manages its financial performance.  The Universal Standards for Social Performance Management is a comprehensive manual of the management practices that a financial institution must implement in order to achieve strong social performance management (SPM).  To download the Universal Standards manual and to learn more about its development process, please click here.

Additionally, we invite you to review this list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about social performance.