Unlocking Early-Stage Financing for SDG Partnerships

Appendix B: Logit Analysis Case Study Protocol

Logit Analysis

Logit analysis tested which survey variables were statistically significant to partnerships seeking returnable investment.

Dependent variable:

  • Partnership investment: Whether or not a partnership indicated that it had secured any form of returnable investment.

Independent variables:

  • Business plan with funding: Whether or not a partnership indicated that it had established a business plan with a strategy to secure returnable investment.
  • Grant funding: The number of grants the partnership has secured.
  • Location: Regions in which the partnership primarily operates. Regions included in this analysis were East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and global. Partnerships were considered global if they listed more than three regions.
  • Market maturity index: Market maturity was determined by the number of market factors a partnership indicated were present in the markets in which they operate divided by five. Market maturity factors included the presence of credible and stable policies, accurate industry information, technological reliability, standardization, and strong conveners. We determined that this metric would allow us to identify more similar matches than location for two reasons. First, partnerships reported location in a variety of ways (i.e., at the country or regional level or “global”). This made it challenging to determine a standardized market index (e.g., World Bank Ease of Doing Business score) that could be applied accurately across partnerships. Second, market maturity may vary across sectors; for instance, the same country could have strong convenors in the energy market but not for sustainable consumption.
  • Partners: Participation of a government, CSO, or business partner generally or at the local level.
  • Partnership business model: Partnerships selected one or multiple business models in the survey. The survey included five business models: new business venture, financial instrument/fund development, project development, convening, and accelerator. Based on a revised partnership typology that condensed business models into three categories—new business venture, project accelerator, and financial instrument—partnerships were reclassified by the research team into the best-fit category.
  • Partnership stage: Partnerships indicated their stage of business development on the survey (research and development, pilot, start up, scale up). For the purposes of the matching analysis, stages were grouped into “research and development or pilot” and “start up or scale up.”
  • SDG area: SDGs included in this sample are SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities [transportation and buildings]), and SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).
  • Team index: Team index was determined by the number of qualities the partnership indicated were represented by partnership leadership divided by 5. These factors included: at least one person with over 5 years of previous work experience in relevant sector/SDG area, at least one person with over 5 years of previous work experience in the country or countries in which the initiative operates, at least one person with previous experience procuring or managing early-stage investment, at least one person local to the country or countries in which the initiative operates, and at least one woman included on the leadership team.
  • Years of operation: Number of years since the partnership was launched.

These were the key findings from the logit model:

  • Partnerships were statistically more likely to have received investment when focusing on energy or an SDG other than our five focus areas and less likely to have received investment when focusing on sustainable cities. As discussed in Chapter 2, over 90 percent of partnerships that listed “cities” as an SDG area also indicated that their objectives were tied to at least one other SDG (e.g., food or water), indicating that cross-cutting partnerships may be less attractive to funders. From our sample, it is not clear why partnerships that selected “Other SDG” in addition to one of our five SDGs of interest were more likely to receive investment. One possible explanation is that partnerships tied to health initiatives were able to tap into COVID-19 funding pools not accessible to other partnerships in our sample. The impact of SDG focus on partnership investment is an area for further research.
  • Partnerships were statistically more likely to have received investment if they had an established business plan that included investment as part of their long-term funding strategy.
  • In initial analysis, partnerships with a local CSO partner were less likely to have secured investment than those without a local CSO partner. However, once all nonstatistically significant variables were removed, the P value of this variable rose significantly. Given these results, we are not confident that a local CSO partner has a significant impact on partnership investment and did not focus case studies around this factor (Table B1).

Table B1 | Predicted Probability of Securing Returnable Investment


Unit of Measurement


Standard Error

Z Value








Years of operation






Focus on SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy)






Focus on SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)






Partnership included local CSO






Business plan with funding






Team index

Score of 0–5





Market maturity index

Score of 0–5





Grant funding

Number of grants partnership secured





Focus on SDG outside report focus areas






Notes: Dependent variable: partnership investment. Partnerships that received any form of returnable investment were scored as 1; partnerships without investment were scored as 0.

CSO = civil society organization; SDG = Sustainable Development Goal. Logistic regression analysis of 66 commercially driven partnerships. Dependent variable: partnership investment. Partnerships that received any form of returnable investment were scored as 1, partnerships without investment were scored as 0. Bold text indicates statistical significance.

Source: Authors.

Analysis did not find that partnership stage, region, or business models were statistically significant determinates of securing investment.

We used these findings to structure interview questions to understand how partnerships established a business plan and worked with local partners in practice and how these factors impacted their funding.

Sample limitations

Our survey sample size of 66 partnerships was a significant limitation in this analysis. This sample is also skewed towards partnerships in Stages 1 and 2 of funding, which reflects the partnership platform networks used to distribute the survey. Over half of our survey responses are P4G partnerships. This is a result of our existing working relationship with many P4G partnerships and access to the P4G network.

Case Study Protocol

Case selection

Case studies were selected through two lines of analysis:

  • Statistical matching software to select cases based on relevant variables
  • A review of survey responses based on funding status and funding challenges

Initially, we planned to present cases as matched pairs using a statistical software developed by Nielsen (2016), comparing similar partnerships that had and had not secured returnable investment.3 We found that the significant variation in our partnership sample made this approach ineffective—that is, even if partnerships worked in the same SDG and shared key characteristics, they were often at vastly different stages or operating in different environments. Though we did not ultimately use this approach to analyze or present case studies, we did use the matching analysis to select and interview 10 partnerships from our survey. Demonstrating investment causality using case matching is an area for potential future research in this space. To do this most effectively, a larger sample of partnerships in the same location, with the same business model, and with the same SDG focus would be needed.

We found that using the match analysis alone to select case studies excluded some of the more innovative partnerships in our sample because they did not have similar matching partnerships. Our team selected additional partnerships to feature based on a review of survey responses. Other factors considered were partnership platform, SDG, and geographical representation.

Interview protocol

To supplement survey responses, we conducted interviews with each selected partnership ranging from 45 to 60 minutes. The objective of these interviews was to better understand partnership funding timelines and challenges.

Interview discussion guide

The following document is an example of a discussion guide we used for partnership interviews. Interview questions are at the end of this guide.

State-of-the-Art Report Discussion Guide: GreenCo


    • This discussion is in support of the second WRI State-of-the-Art Report to provide best-in-class research and knowledge around multistakeholder partnerships working to advance the Global Goals. While our first report, A Time for Transformative Partnerships (Li et al. 2020), examined the key success factors of transformative partnerships, our second report will explore one of the biggest challenges faced by partnerships: financing. This report will help both partnerships and investors navigate the complexities of financing to accelerate the SDGs. This report will be released in September 2022 in advance of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.
    • For the purposes of the report, we are interested in commercially oriented partnerships with transformative ambition—that is, partnerships seeking to create system change through a commercially viable product, service, or business model. Specifically, we are interested in partnerships that have secured or plan to secure returnable investment (debt, equity, concessionary debt/equity).
    • Mobilizing private sector investment is a critical component of achieving the SDGs. However, available finance is not channeled towards sustainable development at the scale and speed required to meet 2030 targets—achieving the SDGs will require an estimated $3.7 trillion.
    • Capital to fill this financing gap is available. Institutional investors, for example, hold over $100 trillion in assets. Private sector interest in SDG investment is growing, and the development financing paradigm is shifting from traditional aid to commercial investment. However, multistakeholder partnerships have struggled to tap into growing pools of funding. This report seeks to help partnerships and investors understand how to bridge this funding gap.
    • We are interested in understanding more about your current funding structure and your process for seeking investment (e.g., types of funding you are seeking, why you started out with grant funding, how you are building relationships with or reaching out to potential investors, etc.).
    • We are interested in connecting with your investors/funders for their perspective on the partnership financing gap, if possible.
    • We would also like to feature GreenCo to illustrate key findings around:
      • using grant funding to advance commercial priorities;
      • challenges associated with seeking investment and grant funding; and
      • navigating the DFI/MBD investment process.


  1. Could you walk us through your partnership’s funding journey so far? Please consider the following in your response:
    1. When did you first start fund-raising? Which types of funding did you approach first and why?
    2. Have you experienced different successes and challenges at different funding stages or when working with different types of funders?
    3. Please elaborate on the process of securing IFU and InfraCo Africa investment.
  2. How has your fund-raising strategy changed since your partnership launched?
  3. How have you navigated seeking grant funding to advance commercial objectives?
  4. In the survey, you mentioned challenges around identifying DFI investors with relevant funding envelopes available. Could you please elaborate on this challenge and how you are working to address it?
  5. How do you approach DFIs or MDBs that may be unwilling to invest equity or may feel that GreenCo does not have a long enough track record?
  6. If you could, what advice would you give to the following parties to better enable partnerships to transition from grant to investment funding?
    1. Private investors
    2. Institutional investors
    3. Grant providers
    4. Other partnerships
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