We actively seek partners to originate or co-design proposals which address specific social issues and respond to charity and social enterprise need.
We know that we will only succeed in our mission by working with partners who have the expertise and understanding of the issue as well as the networks to bring initial ideas to fruition. Partners can be:
- Foundations or other grantmakers, who have a desire to explore how social investment could be used to support their social mission. This could be through co-investing in a fund alongside Big Society Capital, or combining some of their grant with social investment. The North East Social Investment Fund was co-developed with the Northern Rock Foundation.
- Charities who are looking to scale up impactful interventions and business models. While this need can often be met by our intermediaries, there may be opportunities that require more capital than is currently available in the market or which would merit a dedicated intermediary. Examples of this include St Mungo's Broadway with the Real Lettings Property Fund and Macmillan with the Care and Wellbeing Fund.
- Financial investors or more mainstream fund managers who would like to enter the social investment market. This could be by committing a pool of capital to social investment or through creating or running a new social investment fund, such as the Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund.
- Corporates who would like to explore how social investment can help them deliver social value along with a strong business case, which was the case with corporates involved in our Business Impact Challenge.
Tools to support our partners
- We commission research to analyse demand for social investment in relation to specific social issues or social sector business models, for example research commissioned into Winterbourne View
- We convene round tables to bring together charities, intermediaries and other funders to explore opportunities for collaboration and to identify gaps which may require more capital than is currently available in the market. This links to our work incharity and social enterprise engagement where we ran a series of seminars on social investment and homelessness.
- We run challenges and competitions, such as the Business Impact Challenge or Crowd Match Fund, as a way of generating new ideas and partners.
- We make calls for funds in order to select fund managers once an investment concept has been clearly defined and a co-investor has been identified. An example is the first Social Impact Bond fund, Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund.
- We can work closely with a partner to co-design a social investment solution where a social issue has been clearly identified. To develop the Access Foundation, we came together with two partners - Big Lottery Fund and Cabinet Office.
For potential partners who are interested in learning more, we can run a co-development workshop to better understand their objectives and appetite and to explore how social investment might be able to help them meet their goals.