Our Deep Dive on Outcomes-Based Financing: Impact Bonds and Outcomes Funds

Recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will require a dramatic expansion in public services in order to meet the social and environmental needs outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Constraints on public budgets means that innovative sources and forms of funding will be essential. Outcomes-based financing, including, pay for success contracts, social and development impact bonds and outcomes funds is a form of innovative financing which has the potential to unlock private investment in critical, underfunded services, enhance delivery of services, especially to vulnerable groups, and strengthen government and service provider capacity through a focus on outcomes, measurement, and accountability. This deep dive provides policymakers, funders and delivery organizations the opportunity to gain a solid grasp of impact bonds and other forms of outcomes-based financing for social and environmental programs. It will provide in-depth knowledge of how these mechanisms work, providing concrete examples from around the world across multiple sectors. The deep dive will also examine if, what, when and where outcomes-based financing makes sense based on a decade of implementation, and explore the latest global innovations in this space.

Who will benefit from a deep dive into
outcomes-based financing

Officials in government and international organizations 

Officials developing policies or implementing social or environmental projects including in the employment, education, health, social welfare and green sectors. 

Philanthropic entities and impact investors

Individuals working to improve the impact of philanthropic and impact investing capital across the globe.

Non-governmental organizations and non-profits

Individuals working in 0rganizations that provide services or aim to build capacity of social organizations desiring to understand how outcome-based financing works and how to engage.

Here is what you will learn  

What outcomes-based financing is and how it works

This will include gaining a solid understanding of the functioning of social and development impact bonds and outcomes funds through concrete examples of projects from around the world.  

How outcomes-based financing can improve the effectiveness of government spending

This will include the theory of the model as well as case studies from a variety of sectors.

The potential of outcomes-based financing to improve the delivery of social services

    This will include how outcome-based financing increases the incentives of implementers of social services to place beneficiaries at the forefront of service delivery and achieve outcomes. 

The role of impact investors in outcomes-based financing  

This will include the various ways impact investors can invest in outcomes-based financing mechanisms  and their role in the project.

What to consider before engaging in outcomes-based financing

This will include an analysis of if, and when, outcome-based financing makes sense, who should be at the table as well as the nuts of bolts of developing a project.

 The potential  challenges to designing and implementing impact bonds 

This will include concrete examples of challenges faced in projects to date and lessons learned.

What our students are saying

I feel better equipped to critically assess when an outcomes-based financing solution might make sense and that's what I was hoping to get out of the course so thank you! 

Mila Nepomnyashchiy
The knowledge I gained in this Deep Dive will be applied in our institution's efforts to facilitate the set-up of an impact bond

International Organization
The learning from this Deep Dive I will be taking back to my organization to help develop outcomes-based financing 

Sara khan 
Teach for India
Outcomes-Based Financing
: 3 weeks
Dates: September 2023 - specific dates coming
Cost: $850

Format and Content: 
    • Intensive three week course  
    • Combination of recorded and live lectures  
    • No need to take time off work - content is released every couple of days so you can watch at your own pace
    • Approx. 4hrs of total video (30-45 min segments) released every 1-2 days
    • Six 60-90min live lectures by Dr. Gustafsson-Wright. Each live lecture will be recorded and made available during the Deep Dive. 
    • Group discussion and exercises with course-participants from around the globe
    • Complete the Deep Dive and receive a Policyware certificate in Outcomes-Based Financing
    Write your awesome label here.
    Dr. Emily Gustafsson-Wright
    Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution,
    Washington D.C.

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    Meet Your Expert

    Dr. Emily Gustafsson-Wright

    Dr. Gustafsson-Wright is a Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution. Her current focus on effective delivery of social services including education and health interventions in developing countries has consolidated her role as a global expert on innovative financing mechanisms including payment by results, public-private partnerships and impact investing. She is the premier thought-leader and convener in the emerging field of social and development impact bonds and has published widely on this cutting-edge topic, including her most recent series of policy briefs which examine the success of impact bonds over the past ten years. With over 20 years of experience in development, her career has primarily focused on applied microeconomic research in human development with regional foci in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean including conducting numerous impact evaluations. Her previous professional experience includes working at the World Bank, the UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, and as Senior Researcher with the Amsterdam Institute for International Development (AIID). Dr. Gustafsson-Wright holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Tinbergen Institute at the University of Amsterdam, as well as Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Finance and Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She is regularly cited in the media including in the Economist, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, and has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as contributed to several books in her field.