Data Dives no.2 - Visualising 2,000+ social investments | Big Society Capital

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Data Dives no.2 - Visualising 2,000+ social investments

Our second Data Dives into Social Investment blog looks at the social outcomes being targeted by charities and social enterprises across the UK. 

Whether you want to see investments in the mental health and well-being space or those providing homes, you can use this dataset to understand how social investments are improving lives.

We have used Tableau to enable interactive visualisation of this data set, allowing you to follow your own lines of inquiry. Find out when investments happened, who invested and where in the UK social investors focus. Choose the measure displayed; amount invested (sum £) or number of investments made (count #). Zone in on a particular region or a particular investor, filter by outcome area or beneficiary group. You can also see the legal form and asset lock of investees to better understand what types of organisations are receiving social investment. Just follow your curiosity!

As you explore the visualisation, filtering, clicking and making choices you’ll discover that the median investment size across this dataset of 2,200 social investments is just £50k. However exclude Key Fund and this rises to £161k, or look at just Cheyne Capital and it’s £15m! Clearly investing to solve different problems requires different levels of capital intensity. For example, the dominant outcome area by count # is Employment Training and Education (21%) but by sum £ it is Housing and local facilities (52%). 

You can also see that having excluded nulls, 49% of investments by legal form are into CLGs and only 2% are into CIOs, and being a registered charity is the most common form of asset lock by far (50% by count #). In addition, you can explore regions and see that although by amount invested 30% of investments are into charities and social enterprises headquartered in London, these investments account for only 12% by number of investments.

We recognise that all of the transactions in this dataset bring together the considerable work of intermediaries, charities and social enterprises, and the additional resource requirement of providing data. We are grateful for their combined efforts to increase broader understanding of how social investment is being used.

With this fourth release of deal level data, one of our aims was to increase the number of unique identifiers (UDIs) in the dataset. We are now using company number as a UDI and this will allow us to tap into other datasets, such as 360Giving/GrantNAV. 53% of this data set now has a company number. We aim to increase this for the next release. One immediate benefit of having company numbers is that it allows us to get a better picture of how many distinct charities and social enterprises have received social investment. Of the 1,160 company numbers collected, 851 are unique which suggests more than 70% of the investments are into distinct charities and social enterprises; which if extrapolated to the whole data set suggests more than 1,500 distinct organisations have received social investment, in some cases from several different intermediaries.  

Our Data at Big Society Capital page gives more detail on our data sets, their design and how they fit together. 

In addition to the deal level data we also publish the metrics investees are using to measure their impact. We ask this of all our investees, and by making the data public, we hope it will be used by organisations addressing similar social challenges to learn from their peers. The publication of this data will also create the framework for us to report on organisations’ impact in the future.

There is still a long way to go in improving the availability and quality of data in social investment and we look forward to working with our stakeholders to continue making progress on the challenge of data in the market. If you have any comments or feedback, we would love to hear from you. 

Previous Data Dives into Social Investment blogs: Data Dives no.1 - where BSC has invested

Last updated | 
7 November 2017