Working alongside existing charities can create greater impacts. Some investment methods help people work together better and increase the chances of good outcomes.
The methods of funding described below are able to build on community strengths. They enable local collaborations across government, business, iwi organisations and other philanthropic funders, helping create new partnerships where needed.
Philanthropy New Zealand has some excellent advice specifically around options for collaborative investment methods. The full text can be downloaded on the right, including some case studies as examples, from New Zealand and overseas.
Why work together?
It is important to build strong relationships across a region and to be ambitious about what can be achieved for children and youth to flourish. When a community of like-minded people agree a goal and strategy, they can achieve buy-in and garner the good-will across the community to achieve greater things.
Investments are more likely to achieve better lives for children if givers consider the 'six basics of wise giving', including a regional needs assessment, stock take and/or asset mapping. This will enable better focus on specific areas of greatest need. Alongside this important factor, the method of investment can also make a significant contribution to ensuring the greatest impact.
We have identified four ways to invest that sit under the ‘Collective Impact’ and ‘Impact Investing’ models.
Each method gives the various players the flexibility to work within their area of expertise, while leveraging off each others' strengths.
Collective Impact initiatives are long-term commitments, by a group of important actors from different sectors, to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem. Their actions are supported by a shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities and ongoing communication and are staffed by an independent backbone organisation. John Kania & Mark Kramer – Stanford Social Innovation Review
Large scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination. Successful collective impact effort focuses on a complex community issue and strives to make an impact on the issue. Collective impact efforts involve diverse partners, with equally diverse opinions about the issue, and getting to a common agenda takes time and resources.
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Impact investing is a form of socially responsible investing that aims to benefit society while making a financial return. The social benefit, when measured, can become part of the 'return'.
Impact investment can be used for a single activity (such as social housing), or integrated for a broad programme of action (such as housing alongside additional community and professional supports for residents). Pulling together elements appropriate to the issue at hand (identified through regional assessments) impact investing can improve outcomes through systemic change.
A measurement methodology called ‘social return on investment’ (SROI) is often aligned with impact investing. SROI is an approach to understanding and managing the value of the social, economic and environmental outcomes created by an activity or an organisation.
Most models are cyclical – they create opportunities for a variety of investors to fund programmes and initiatives contributing to positive social change while generating a return that can be reinvested in further social outcomes. The return on investment varies depending on the model and can take a number of forms e.g. monetary return, increases in human capital, and positive societal and systemic outcomes. The models used, and the returns required, also vary as the solutions demand, but will be defined in the planning and implementation process.
For further information check out the Global Impact Investing Network. there is also a Social Return on Investment Network.
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Social Innovation Fund
Social innovation funding supports new ideas, organisations, or ways of working that meet social needs more effectively than existing approaches. Often, social innovation involves the remaking and reuse of existing ideas: the new application of an old idea or the transfer of an idea from one part of society to another.
It is an opportunity for government, philanthropy, business and not-for-profit organisations, because the most important sectors for growth in the next decades are linked to the development of human and social capital. The various stakeholders bring different elements to the fund.
You can download a report about social innovation in Auckland, or read about international social innovation funding at the Monitor Institute.
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Social Impact Investment Fund
A social impact investment fund can bring together investors from government, philanthropy, not-for-profit service providers, the private sector and the public. Focussed on a specific issue, the fund can leverage monetary and human capital to fund preventative social programmes while leveraging cost savings.
Impact investments are expected to generate a financial return on capital and, at a minimum, a return of capital, which can be reinvested.
The various stakeholders bring different elements to the fund, although there is often crossover. Most will provide money and expertise in their chosen field, but there are many more facets including experience in what works, on-the-ground knowledge, evaluation and business acumen. Leveraging these elements into a collective framework provides opportunities to bring about deeper, broader impact and change into communities.
Acumen is an example of new ways of using philanthropy to create positive solutions and have impacts on complex issues.
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