Big Society Capital reveals findings of independent survey on its work | Big Society Capital

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Big Society Capital reveals findings of independent survey on its work

Nearly 80% of people surveyed from across the sector have a good understanding of social investment, with 57% of respondents rating Big Society Capital’s overall performance as positive compared to 32% two years ago

Big Society Capital today published its first independent stakeholder survey.

The survey, carried out by sector specialists, Matter & Co, found that:

  • 96% of those surveyed were aware of Big Society Capital, and almost 80% said they had a good understanding of social investment
  • Around 70% of respondents believe Big Society Capital is having a positive impact
  • Charities and social enterprises are least satisfied with Big Society Capital’s progress in bringing them the capital investment they need – only 26% rated its performance at 6 or more out of 10
  • Social investment intermediaries want Big Society Capital to do more to help them become robust

The survey was commissioned by Big Society Capital to gain a greater understanding of how charities, social enterprises, social investors, foundations and many others viewed its work supporting social sector organisations to access affordable finance. Over 200 people from a variety of organisations responded to the online survey, while over 50 key stakeholders gave in-depth interviews.

The survey revealed that opinion is divided when it comes to the progress and pace of Big Society Capital’s work, especially amongst charities and social enterprises. However there was a strong feeling that Big Society Capital had continued to improve since 2014, with 57% of respondents rating overall performance as positive compared to 32% two years ago.

Cliff Prior, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, said: This survey has not only thrown up some very positive results but also some key challenges. I’m encouraged that after only four years of being in existence we are seeing a good understanding of social investment and awareness of our role. But we have more work to do on areas such as taking appropriate risks and the affordability of social finance.

The survey shows that we should engage more with charities and social enterprises to build understanding and to bring them the capital they need, on the right terms. Meanwhile our intermediaries, the social funds, banks and advisers we work with, feel we could do more to help them become robust.

We now need to focus on our core job, the top priority shown in the survey – getting capital funds to charities and social enterprises, whether from Big Society Capital or through our market development work, to help you achieve your social impact. There will be some difficult choices, for example between making social investment more affordable and being more available. Yet, as the political and economic uncertainty post-Brexit continues, it is vitally important that we continue to build a social investment market that supports charities and social enterprises to tackle some of society’s toughest challenges.”

Big Society Capital says it is now renewing its focus on some of the key areas highlighted in the survey. This includes examining the issue of price, helping charities and social enterprises to understand price ranges and how to get the best deal, improving communication, and reviewing the investment and legal process.


Contact Information

For a copy of the Stakeholder Survey Report ‘Your Views’, or for more information, images and interviews, please contact:

David Dinnage

Interim Senior Director, Communications, Big Society Capital

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t | 020 7186 2540 m | 07885 879500



Background on the Stakeholder Survey

Big Society Capital commissioned Matter&Co, a specialist marketing and communications company, to design and run the stakeholder research on a fully confidential basis.

This included an online questionnaire open to all, and in-depth interviews with key stakeholder representatives. A total of 215 stakeholders filled in the online survey, and 51 individuals took part in the interviews. Of those who told us what kind of organisation they were from, 30% were from frontline charities and social enterprises, 23% were ‘social investment intermediaries’, and 10% were foundations, with the remaining 37% including consultants, finance institutions, membership bodies, think-tanks, civil servants and people from the corporate sector. Some 53% of respondents described themselves as the ‘CEO, MD or founder’.


About Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital is a financial institution with a social mission, set up to build the social investment market in the UK, so that charities and social enterprises can access appropriate repayable finance to enable them to grow, become more sustainable and increase their impact on society. It is doing this by building a diverse social investment market: encouraging investors to lend or invest money to achieve a social as well as a financial return. Since it was set up as an independent organisation in 2012, Big Society Capital has invested, along with its co-investors, over £270 million in specialist organisations who lend to charities and social enterprises. For more information visit

About Matter&Co 

Matter&Co works with inspiring organisations across business and society to build success through powerful communications. It provides stakeholder research, strategic thinking, branding, PR campaigns, films, events, publications and digital media for ambitious, values-driven organisations in the social, corporate and public sectors – in the UK and internationally. As one of the UK’s first Certified B Corporations, they are committed to using business and creativity as a force for good. Matter&Co is also the company behind Good Deals, the UK’s annual social investment event, and Pioneers Post, the global social enterprise magazine.

Last updated | 
2 August 2016