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© 2020 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit.

SPM In Action

Feedback Loops in Action

Through Social Performance Management, we are able to collect information across a range of social indicators. These indicators come from the various regions and partners we operate with, with the aim of providing all stakeholders – from our microfinance partners through to our supporters – with sufficient social performance information to drive decision making. Our intention is that with an ongoing supply of social data, these decisions will lead to better outcomes for our clients and their families.

Our goal is to build feedback loops in each partner that provide relevant and timely social performance information for both internal and external stakeholders. The aim is to ensure the collection of relevant, reliable, quality social data which is reported to key stakeholders who then use the data to assess achievement of social goals, client needs and preferences, and quality of services delivery. Data is then used to improve these products and services.

Dashboard of Social Indicators

Hover over a section of the chart to learn more

Select a section of the chart to learn more

Social Performance Dashboard

Opportunity’s SPM dashboard, as shown, allows us to promote best practice, improve our understanding of who we are reaching, how their lives are being transformed and ultimately make decisions about how we can better serve those people and their communities. A common set of measurements across our network enables us to report with consistency, which will continue to improve as more data is gathered over time.

Client Level Indicators

Client Outreach

Income levels - % of new clients who are:

  • Moderately poor < USD $5/per day
  • Poor < USD $2.50/per day
  • Extremely poor < USD $1.25/per day

Gender - % of female clients

Targeted minority - % of clients from excluded groups (defined by partner)

Rural/urban - % of rural clients

Unserved clients - % of clients who had never had access to formal financial services

Client Level Indicators

Client Transformation


  • Change in income level
  • Number of jobs created


  • Access to appropriate health services
  • Access to sanitation facilities
  • Decreased vulnerability


  • Access to education for their children
  • Participation in key househohld and community decisions


  • Increased love for God and neighbour (client reported)

Institutional Level Indicators

Range of Services

  • Number of financial services offered
  • Number of non-financial services offered
  • % of clients receiving financial education

Institutional Level Indicators

Client Protection

  • Responsible pricing of products (more/less than average interest rate in the country)
  • Client retention (%)
  • Staff retention (%)

Institutional Level Indicators

Client satisfaction

  • Client satisfaction mechanisms (complaint process, exit interviews, product/service changes driven by client surveys)
  • Client satisfaction measure

Institutional Level Indicators

External reporting

  • Reports or social data submitted to key external stakeholders, including Mix Market, MicroFinance Transparency and Social Ratings

Institutional Level Indicators

SPM Implementation

  • Self-assessment rating on Universal Standard for SPM

Best Practices in Social Performance

SMART Client Protection

SMART Certification is the standard for best practice in microfinance. It is an independent, objective seal of confidence that an MFI is treating clients well and protecting them from harm. SMART Microfinance is set out by the SMART campaign’s Client Protection Principles.

Learn More

Universal Standards for SPM

The Universal Standards for Social Performance Management ("Universal Standards") is a comprehensive manual of best practices created by and for people in microfinance as a resource to help financial institutions achieve their social goals.

Learn More

Case Study: Implementing Best Practices

Opportunity Bank Serbia (serving 26,000 clients) received SMART Certification in March 2014.

The process of implementing best practices and receiving Certification has led to substantial improvements in governance, policies & procedures. It has also led to staff better understanding the impact of their work, leading to a greater level of staff engagement and as a result increased loyalty. Improved client satisfaction and employee engagement has meant OBS’ client retention rate has increased from 64% during 2013 to over 75% by the end of 2014.

The CEO of Opportunity Bank Serbia said, “SPM has made us more efficient, more profitable, and a better workplace. Our clients are more loyal, trust us more, and are more satisfied with our services. Our vision is clearer and we are a stronger, even prouder team.”

Innovations in SPM

Opportunity continues to work with its partners to embed a systematic approach to using social data that will in turn maximize outcomes for our clients. The use of technology will enable partners to effectively innovate to meet the changing and varying needs across the communities they serve.

Learn more about these innovations below

Mobile Money

Mobile Money

Mobile money is the provision of financial services – loans, savings, insurance and other services – through a mobile device. Innovative delivery channels such as mobile money provide new opportunities to serve clients with transformational services that better meet their needs.

The explosion in the availability of mobile phones (there are 66 subscriptions per 100 people in Africa) and the development of applications and agent networks for provision of financial services has opened up the possibility of:

  • Expanding outreach to areas that are too expensive to reach with traditional channels (the cost of providing services is 80% less)
  • Enabling clients to make transactions in small village shops in their communities saving time and effort that can be invested in their businesses
  • Providing clients with a suite of information services, including education in financial literacy and wider issues such as health and domestic violence
  • Collecting feedback from clients through SMS and automated voice-recognition technology
  • Providing clients with increased safety and security as there is no need to carry cash from loan meetings.

Opportunity has started to provide mobile money services in Africa and are now reaching over 300,000 clients.

Charles Lubumba, Coffee Farmer, Uganda

Charles Lubumba, Coffee Farmer, Uganda

Learn more about one of our clients using mobile money

Electronic Data Capture

Electronic Data Capture

Opportunity’s partners in Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda have adopted common tablet-based data collection software, replacing traditional paper and pen. The technology has reduced transaction and survey time, reducing the cost of providing services, and providing data to management with less lag, enabling better decision making. The technology is also improving quality and security of information through biometric data capture (fingerprints).

  • At the pilot site in Ghana, 73 staff in 26 branches are using tablet technology
  • Data captured for 8,000 new savings and loans clients
  • Rwanda and Uganda to follow in the second half of 2015
Samuel Dwamena, OISL Officer, Ghana, with MeOS tablet

Samuel Dwamena, OISL Officer, Ghana, with MeOS tablet.

Achieving the End-to-End Process Using Technology

Achieving the End-to-End Process Using Technology

Monitoring client needs and measuring change is a long-term commitment. This means a systematic approach to collecting, verifying, storing, analysing, using and reporting client data. Each of these functions is a critical step in an ‘end-to-end’ process that our partners need to adopt if they are to be successful in understanding and improving performance.

Opportunity’s partner in India, Samhita, is working to embed this end-to-end process in their day-to-day business operations through an innovative mobile application.

All 403 of Samhita’s staff have been issued with low-cost tablets, and in June 2015, this entirely replaced paper capture of client survey data for their client-base of 87,207 clients.

Electronic data capture allows Samhita to more efficiently store and analyse client data, and provide useful and regular management and Board reports.

The reduction in time to collect, analyse and use data compared to previous paper systems has been profound – Samhita can now analyse average income level of new clients (using the Progress out of Poverty Index®) by branch on a weekly or daily basis. Management can respond to trends in outreach in real time and address performance issues at individual branches.

Before, we used to wait for our turn for access to the branch computer to enter the data. Now, we can enter the data instantly on our own tablets, which saves me around 2-3 hours a day.”

Lakhan Lal Porte, Loan Officer, Samhita

Successful management of Social Performance goes beyond just technology. Management and Boards need to be committed to understanding and responding to clients’ needs – data on how products and services are meeting those needs and transforming lives can ensure those decisions are better-informed and impact is enhanced.

Samhita’s commitment at all organisational levels to reaching poor and rural clients in northern India is evidenced through key decisions the organisation has taken to expand into poorer communities and provide services that respond to clients’ needs.

Man using tablet in India

At Opportunity, we have a strong belief that the clients we work with are also our partners. We put great value in listening to our clients’ needs and providing innovative, transformative services that meet those needs. I am proud of our Social Performance Management program and our commitment to innovate and expand our programs through a strong focus on collecting, using and reporting client data and feedback. I also believe this report is a vital part of our commitment to hold ourselves accountable to our supporters, whose ongoing support is critical to our programs and the 12 million clients we serve around the world."

Vicki Escarra, Global CEO, Opportunity International, pictured (left) with Sara Nzatumande (right), farmer in Rwanda

Project Supporters

We would like to acknowledge and thank our supporters for their continued commitment to Opportunity’s efforts to transform lives. Thanks to their support, we have been able to create a solid foundation for our work and expand the Social Performance Management program substantially over the last 12 months.

Macquarie Group Foundation awarded initial funding to Opportunity International’s Social Performance Management program in India in 2012. Further funding has recently been awarded allowing us to further expand the program in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) has supported capacity building projects since early 2013. This support has enabled a two-year capacity building project in Social Performance Management best practice implementation and data collection in seven African partners.

The Australian Government’s Overseas Aid program has supported Opportunity International’s Social Performance Management efforts since 2009, with recent funding going towards our work in the Philippines.

I support the work of Opportunity in implementing better Social Performance Management and believe that it is critical that organisations have the data they need to understand and improve their outreach to the poorest in society.”

Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Co-Founder and Principal of Blue Haven Initiative
SPM program supporter since mid-2014

The Macquarie Group Foundation is funding Opportunity’s Social Performance Management program because we see great value in assessing the impact and outcomes of its work in the microfinance field. The regular collection and analysis of client data means robust information is available to improve programs and effectively direct resources, particularly helpful as the program expands in India and East Asia. We are proud that our continued support of this capacity-building tool can empower families in extreme poverty.”

Shemara Wikramanayake, Chair, Macquarie Group Foundation

Opportunity International

Social Performance Management Team

  • Head of Team

  • Calum Scott, Global Impact Director
  • Team Members

  • Alexandra Doyle, Social Performance Manager
  • Nicole Wong, Social Performance Analyst
  • [email protected]

Opportunity International Global Leadership Team

See the Global Leadership team

SPM In Action | Social Performance Management | Opportunity International



Annual Percentage Rate
Annual Percentage Yield


Banking Correspondent
Business Intelligence


Code of Conduct Assessment
Consultative Group to Assist the Poor
Client Protection Principles: The 7 Client Protection Principles (CPPs) describe industry best practices relating specifically to the protection of microfinance clients. They were developed by the Smart Campaign in 2009.


Effective Interest Rate


Internal Rate of Return


Microfinance CEO Working Group - a group of 8 microfinance networks who collaborate to encourage endorsement of Triple Crown initiatives in microfinance.
Microfinance Institution
Microfinance Transparency - an industry initiative to promote transparency around credit product pricing
Management Information System(s)
runs "Mix Market", a public data hub where MFIs share institutional data to enhance transparency and market insight


Net promoter score


Operating Expense Ratio
Operational self-sufficiency


Portfolio at Risk
Progress out of Poverty Index - a poverty measurement tool designed by Grameen Foundation
Partner Reporting System


Return on Assets
Return on Equity


Social audit
third-party assessment of SPM practices
SMART objectives
stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound
Smart Campaign
An initiative to standardize best practices for client protection (includes Smart client protection certification process)
Small medium enterprise
CERISE Social Performance Indicators 4 - a self-assessment tool for partners to assess adherence to the USSPM and other best practice standards
Social Performance Management
Social Performance Task Force - developed the Universal Standards for SPM. Calum Scott is a Board member.


Technical Assistance
Triple Crown Initiatives
refers to 3 key SPM initiatives: 1) Endorsing the Smart campaign, 2) Endorsing Microfinance Transparency campaign and 3) Committing to implement the USSPM


Universal Standards for SPM are a global, industry-wide effort to clarify and standardize SPM practices. Their development was coordinated by the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) with input from stakeholders and they were published in 2012.