2012 Social Finance Survey
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Growing interest in social finance will impact philanthropic giving, according to respondents of a recent social finance survey.

Nicole Zummach of SEE Change Magazine and Natasha van Bentum of Give Green Canada recently collaborated on a survey directed to the mainstream nonproift and charitable sector on the topic of social finance. The survey, which closed Monday, followed up on an earlier study conducted by van Bentum and CharityVillage in 2007.

An advance look at survey results reveals some significant findings to be published this summer in the final report. In the meantime, we offer to our readers a sneak preview, sharing some insights on the perceived future impact of social finance on philanthropic giving.

CEOs, senior managers and development directors comprised most of the survey respondents, with over 86% holding top-level positions at organizations in Canada and the USA.

A very high percentage of respondents (93-95%) strongly agree or agree that many charities and nonprofits are unable to tap into sufficient amounts of capital to achieve their goals, and because of the pressing problems we face as a society, organizations in the sector need to explore new ways of accessing sufficient capital to achieve their goals.

In particular, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents say the growing interest in social finance will have an impact on philanthropic giving in a variety of ways. For example:

  • Social finance will be another tool to generate community value and to support innovative solutions to social problems.
  • Donors may give more if there is a quantifiable social return.
  • The debate on philanthropic accountability will give way to a discussion about demonstrating and measuring value that will help donors identify effective organizations to support.
  • The rise of social finance will demand that charities and their staff, when soliciting donations, become more aware and knowledgeable about social financing options and opportunities.
  • Donors will investigate risks more diligently.
  • More money will be available to drive change over time.

Awareness of social finance and its potential is certainly growing among nonprofits and charities. As that understanding grows, it will bring new opportunities for organizations and supporters alike. And while it is likely to bring challenges along with benefits, having more access to capital seems to be something many groups are ready to explore.

The 2012 Social Finance Survey was conducted by SEE Change Magazine and Give Green Canada. The final report will be published in the summer of 2012.

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