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Toyin Ogundana

CAF Venturesome

Charities Aid Foundation


CAN I APPLY FOR SOCIAL INVESTMENT IF MY INCOME IS VOLUNTARY?

August 2017

Short answer: Yes!

Social investment can be a confusing world to navigate for a charity or social enterprise thinking about taking on finance.  A very common question that we hear is from organisations wondering if they’re eligible for investment or not. Many believe only social enterprises, or charities who earn a lot of their income through trading activities (e.g. through a shop or contracts delivering public services) will be eligible for social investment.

Whilst this may be true of some types of social investment, at CAF Venturesome we regularly lend to charities who have little or no trading revenues - those who earn their income through grants and donations. Here are some of the fantastic charities we’re currently working with:

  • Investing in capacity: Prisoners Abroad - this unique charity, supporting British citizens imprisoned overseas, and their families at home, is funded through a combination of grants from government, trusts and foundations, and individual giving – virtually all voluntary income. Responding to a significant increase in demand for their services, Prisoners Abroad’s trustees decided to invest in fundraising capacity, and VS approved a loan to increase their office space and bring on more FR staff to do so. This loan was approved based on the fact that the org has a strong track record of fundraising, a good pipeline and prudent financial management.

  • Managing Cashflow: Headliners empowers young people to have a voice through a unique multi-media journalism programme, where young people research and produce stories for publication and broadcast about issues that concern them. This is funded through grants and donations. Like many charities, they are not always able to predict the timing of receipt of grants, and find it helpful to have an overdraft-like facility in place as a back up at the beginning of a year. Venturesome has a long relationship with Headliners and supported them with several of these facilities, which have helped Headliners to focus on service delivery over the years whilst managing cash flow.

Prisoners Abroad is such a great organisation to be part of – there aren’t many places where the work you do saves lives, changes lives and opens doors into a new future.  With support from CAF Venturesome we will be able to continue making a real difference for so many people.

Pauline A. Crowe - Chief Executive, Prisoners Abroad


What these charities, and others who we’ve supported over the years, have had in common is good governance, a strong track record in fundraising (even though the funding environment might be rapidly changing), clear financial strategy for the coming years, and the ability to articulate clearly why they are looking for repayable finance, and through what sources it will be repaid.

There are many situations in which charities can make use of repayable finance – if you’re not sure whether you’re eligible or not, please do get in touch! We are always happy to have a chat over the phone, and help where we can or put you in touch with others if we can’t.

Want to know more? Talk to our team on 03000 123 300 or email us at venturesome@cafonline.org and we’ll be happy to help.

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