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Social Investment

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Over the last 18 months, we’ve been supporting charities and social enterprises to manage their response to the pandemic. Social Investment Scotland’s (SIS) involvement in the Third Sector Resilience Fund (and later Adapt and Thrive) provided a unique insight to how the third sector responded into increasing demand for services, developed innovatively and adopted online/digital technology to continue to support and deliver impact.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government announced that SIS had been awarded £15m as part of the overall commitment of £30m of resource to the Third Sector Growth Fund.

Although this new capital is eventually repayable to the Scottish Government and therefore must be invested, rather than granted, the terms do allow for greater flexibility than some other SIS funds. In essence, they are more patient- longer term and lower cost. To ensure that future SIS funds meet the needs of the third sector and focused on social impact, we have consulted widely with key stakeholders:-

  1. Contributors noted the need for long term patient funding to rebuild (particularly unrestricted) reserves;
  2. Trustee Boards and senior teams need support to understand the features and benefits of social investment. Business support was also needed to prepare organisations for investment (preparing financial models and business case development);
  3. The terms, features and benefits of social investment should be linked to, and recognise, purpose and social impact; and
  4. The engagement exercise also identified SIS’ role in wider engagement with grantmakers: offering referrals and introductions where there’s an opportunity for joint support.

We expect to launch our new social investment fund from October 2021 with a further new Circular Economy fund later in the year. We have been strengthening our relationships with grantmakers and other funders across Scotland. Working together, we are striving to provide a smoother referral and support network for third sector organisations seeking funding. Acting collectively, we can make a real difference in supporting the sector.

SIS has a developed an events programme to support the sector: explaining social investment, its features and benefits. We’re partnering with grantmakers, third sector bodies, OSCR, SCVO among others to ensure we reach a wide third sector audience. Find out about our events at our learning hub here Preparing for Investment: Sector-specific workshops | Social Investment ScotlandOSCR, ICAS and SIS will be delivering an event around strategy and risk on the 25th August to raise awareness of social investment at Board level, details of the event can be found at Social investment: why trustees need to think differently about strategy and risk – SCVO.

Interested in exploring social investment for your organisation? As a first step, please see our free online tool Investment Readiness Diagnostic Tool | Helping you access social investment (socialinvestmentscotland.com) or get in touch direct.   For those that want to progress, in certain cases, we can also offer some free business support from sector experts to build your proposal.