Tools & Resources

A Collection of Impact Investing 101 Guides

With dozens of guidebooks and primers on impact investing available, it can be hard for beginners in philanthropy to find the best fit for their needs. Below, we've compiled a curated list of guides specifically intended to steep foundation practitioners into the language, concepts, and visions of the impact investing movement. Visit our 101 Library for a review of beginner resources in impact investing for foundations, including a review of general concepts and those unique to foundations.


  • There's no need to read every guide to become knowledgeable: When reviewing, pick the resource that best fits your perspective, audiences, and needs. If you have any questions, please reach out to us
  • Consider how to stay up to date: In this rapidly evolving field, ideas are still emerging, and terms and definitions are subject to some change. To stay up to date, subscribe to MIE's newsletter and those of the organizations below. 


Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Intro to Impact Investing

This introductory guide to impact investing walks through core questions on what impact investing is and how it can be used in philanthropy (such as through Program Related Investments or Mission Related Investments) and offers sample case studies to demonstrate impact in action.

Community Foundation Field Guide

An Introductory guide particularly designed to fit the needs of community foundations.

The GIIN's Guide to the Impact Investing Marketplace

This introductory guide to answers frequently asked questions about impact investing, including what impact investing is, how it is applied in practice, financial performance, and more.

The GIIN's Impact Investing Roadmap

This roadmap presents a vision for more inclusive and sustainable financial markets and articulates a plan for impact investing to lead progress toward this future. Specifically, the roadmap details six categories of action to drive progress toward the vision. For each category, the roadmap describes specific actions needed, which stakeholders should lead on these actions, and a timeframe. Enacting the plan will require collective action by leaders from the entire impact investing ecosystem.

Across the Returns Continuum

This paper by Omidyar Network offers a framework for investing across the returns continuum—from commercial investments to philanthropic grants. Their framework walks through a broad range of viable investment profiles, some of which involve a trade-off between social return and financial impact, and many of which do not. 



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