For Small Charity Week we’re celebrating the contribution that small charities make to all our lives. 97% charities have income less than £1m and an important focus of our work is on how social investment can be a useful tool for them.
What is the gritty reality of social investment? If I were being cruel I would start by misquoting a saying most frequently credited to the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius “Life is really simple, but lawyers insist on making it complicated. “
We know that all too often there is a mismatch between the hype of social investment and the gritty reality. Part of this is a mismatch of expectations – between the social investor with the money, and the social enterprise looking to raise finance. And in my experience, this mismatch is particularly striking around the issue of governance.
Last month saw an important milestone for Big Society Capital: the first investment redemption from our portfolio. Scope, the disability charity, repaid the £875,000 investment we made via Investing for Good, the social finance intermediary who arranged and underwrote the transaction.
In 2014 Golden Lane Housing (GLH) faced a challenge. It was a problem faced by many voluntary organisations and social enterprises and it was this: how to get capital to expand and develop the business.
Early attempts to introduce payment by results into public services may have been met with scepticism, but the coalition government made important progress in developing new commissioning mechanisms that focus on paying for outcomes rather than simply paying for services, and showed a willingness to learn. Read more in The Guardian >>
There is good news and bad news when you are an only child. The good news is, you get all of the attention. The bad news is, you get all of the attention. When you are an only child, you are expected to be good at everything. Of course, nobody, and no organisation, is made that way.
Furnistore is a charity that provides good quality furniture and households goods at affordable prices to individuals and families in Redhill. The charity is mainly staffed by volunteers who collect unwanted items from local residents which are then sold to the public. A discounted or free service is available to help those families who may not otherwise be able to afford basic household goods or have been referred by social agencies.
One of Big Society Capital’s key objectives is to increase the flow of capital into the social investment market and in particular to attract greater and more diverse sources of finance into the sector. As part of the market building effort to meet that objective we hope to encourage the launch of social investment products suitable for both retail and institutional investors.