Now That’s What I Call Philanthropy & Social Investment 6: Best of the week 08.03.13

Hello again Friday philanthro-socinv fans! Apologies that there hasn’t been a web round up for while, but I have been off for a few weeks. Rest assured that I’m back now though, and have rolled up my sleeves and sifted through the Internet (yep, the whole thing) to find the best stories about philanthropy and social investment which I present here for your delectation:


1) At number one is a good article from Forbes India about growing philanthropy in Asia. I was particularly interested to see how closely this echoes the recently-released first report in CAF’s Future World Giving series, which assesses the potential rise in philanthropy that could  result from the boom in the the global middle class.


2) A great blog by the Institute for Government’s Adrian Brown suggested that the UK Government’s enthusiasm for Payment by Results might be waning in the wake of disappointing intital results form the flagship Work Programme. PbR is something I have been intersted in for a while (see CAF’s Funding good Outcomes report for more on this if you’re interested).


3) A major new report this week from Big Society Capital and the City of London attempted to make the case for the importance of tax incentives in encouraging social investment. It estimated that an additional £480m of social investment could be unlocked if the right incentives were put in place. I will be analysing these findings in more detail in a separate post.


4) And while we’re talking impressive-sounding estimates of the potential for social investment, the Rockefeller Foundation suggested this week that social investment (or “impact investing” to use their more American term) in India is likely to grow at 30% a year. If this proves true, India could become a massive global player in the social investment area.


5) In the “And Finally” slot this week is news that filmaker George Lucas has proposed making an extraordinary gift that could be worth more than $1bn in the long-term, to fund a museum devoted to the art of visual storytelling. If there is any truth in the idea that philanthropy can be used to absolve us of our earthly sins, then this just about starts to atone for The Phantom Menace…


Rhodri Davies

The Social Investment policy landscape

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Social investment, social finance, impact investment. Call it what you will; using non-grant approaches to finance social goals is big news. Investors want to know how to do it, advisors want to know how to tell them to do it, CSOs want to know how to take advantage of it, and governments want to know how to smooth the way for it to happen even more.

Social investment (as I interpret it, at least) encompasses a very broad range of approaches and expectations, from making loans where there is a “negative return” (i.e. some but not all capital paid back) to equity investments in social businesses that are able to deliver near-market financial returns. It is important to remember this when considering why social investment is such hot news, as this spectrum of approaches obviously mirrors a wide range of motivations amongst potential investors.


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