Small charities and social investment

November 2016
Institute for Voluntary Action Research

Small charities and social investment – What is the experience like and what makes it work?

Recent research undertaken by IVAR (Institute for Voluntary Action Research) takes a close look at the ‘social investment journey’ of 25 small charities. Their report gives in-depth insights into their motivation, experience of the process, the challenges encountered, the support they received and factors that might improve the journey.

Many of these organisations were stretched, busy, service delivery charities handling social investment ‘off the side of the desk’ with little or no prior knowledge and experience. What many charities really want is unrestricted finance in the form of grants. Failing that, the report highlights that a blend of grants and loans may suit some. Richinda Taylor from EVA Women’s Aid described how blended finance enabled the organisation to open the UK’s first safe house exclusively for older women.

Lenders interested in supporting charities to deliver on their mission need to be willing to see charity survival as a legitimate form of social impact. IVAR proposes that ‘the aim of all social investments should be to leave an organisation in a stronger position, not only financially but also in relation to its ability to pursue its mission’, and identifies a number of clear ways in which lenders can strengthen their practice.

This report is tagged under:

  • Social investment