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Venturesome team


Charities Aid Foundation


18 April 2017

Having worked in the private sector for many years I have experienced traditional corporate philanthropy first hand. Typically the corporate social responsibility (CSR) department of a company identifies a charitable partnership that can last anywhere between 12 months to 3 years, or indefinitely. This relationship and model of corporate philanthropy provides huge support for charitable organisations and worthwhile causes, whilst garnering positive engagement from both employees and customers alike.

But what if there was another model that could still deliver high levels of impact? Corporate philanthropy is becoming increasingly creative as organisations seek innovative methods for charitable giving, so what part could social investment play?

Social investment is the use of money to achieve a social and financial return and is an increasingly popular funding option for charities. CAF Venturesome, is the social investment arm of Charities Aid Foundation, and has been successfully supporting charitable organisations since 2002 with over 500 deals and over £40m of social investment loans.

Social Investment diagram

Our social investment is achieved through 100% philanthropic capital from our generous donors and supporters. Whilst a large number of our supporters are individual philanthropists, we also receive support and contributions from companies and corporate foundations - each committed to supporting the delivery of social impact.

CAF Venturesome provides corporate organisations with the opportunity to multiply their giving with philanthropic based social investment. As our social investment loans are repaid the capital is recycled, allowing us to provide new loans to benefit other charities and social enterprises. The CAF Venturesome Development Fund allows corporate funders to choose the charitable themes and areas of social impact they would like to support, and whether the reach is UK only or extends internationally. Supporting our social investment does not need to be approached on an either/or basis with traditional corporate philanthropy, but can be a complementary to an annual charitable strategy.

“The Wates Foundation has supported CAF Venturesome since 2005 with the aim of making it easier for small to medium charities and community organisations to obtain the capital they need. Over the years we have seen the impact of our funding grow and multiply through CAF’s social investment model, furthering the aims of the foundation and its charitable purpose.”

Andy Wates, Chairman of Trustees, Wates Foundation

An advantage of CAF Venturesome’s philanthropic capital is that it allows us to remain focused on ‘impact first’. We expect the social investment to be returned and do charge an affordable interest rate, but we do not ask for a financial return on top. Our expert due diligence ensures we take a pragmatic, risk based approach, whilst lending to organisations that deliver clear social impact. We believe in measuring the impact of the charitable organisations in our portfolio and our Development Fund is wholly focused on delivering higher social impact and supporting the most vulnerable beneficiaries.

One of CAF Venturesome’s earliest corporate supporters has seen an original £200,000 commitment to CAF Venturesome multiply over a 10 year period. At the beginning of 2017 it was recognised that this capital had been recycled 3.8 times and supported 86 separate loans. Even more remarkably, the overall reach of their contribution had grown to over £750,000.  Another contributor supported CAF Venturesome with a gift of almost £1.5m and over the last 8 years, this has been recycled 3 times in over 150 separate social investment loans. The reach of their original contribution has grown to almost £4.5m.

These are only two examples of delivering social impact through corporate philanthropy and each is unique in how their contributions multiplied the strength of their charitable giving. Whilst CAF Venturesome cannot promise identical impact for corporate contributions, we offer the opportunity to grow impact through the recycling of capital. This in turn grows the size of the portfolio and the breadth of charities and social enterprises that can be supported from one charitable contribution.

We believe there will always be appetite and a need for corporate organisations to act philanthropically and strengthen the charitable sector, both as a champion and a provider of much-needed funding. However we think there is also huge potential to use our social investment approach to broaden the reach of corporate giving and truly driving social impact and change.


Interested in becoming a social investor? Visit, talk to one of our advisors today on 03000 123 207 or email