Holly Piper

Head of CAF Venturesome

Charities Aid Foundation


24 September 2019

Are we clear enough?   Are we quick enough?

At CAF Venturesome we are passionate about supporting social enterprises and charities to sustain and grow their impact - and we are always looking to improve how we do this. 

We are currently surveying our 100+ current portfolio of investee organisations (as a start!) to provide an additional viewpoint on our customer service - and what we can do differently.  We think that the number of “repeat customers” we have is a good endorsement, but we want to ensure we are supporting all of our investee organisations as well as we can.

We are looking afresh at whether our loan products are as useful as they can be - in particular how we can support social organisations for whom short-term debt may not be the best fit for their needs. 

Smiling woman on her laptop

Do you know how flexible we are?

But one thing that’s struck us is that our current flexibility isn’t well understood - so in the hope of providing clarity, here are things that we love (genuinely)!

  • Early repayment
    We love it when social organisations repay their loans early, and we don’t charge early repayment fees.

    Usually organisations repay early because they are in a stronger financial position than they expected. Repaying early is cheaper for the borrower; and great for us, as we can lend this money to other social organisations seeking finance. Good news all round.

  • Rainy day planning
    Sometimes organisations need to know there is money available to draw on in case contract payments are delayed or they have seasonal cashflow problems. We understand that they need to secure the finance, but not necessarily draw it down and start paying interest on it, so we offer “standby facilities”.

    An organisation typically pays 2% for one year, as a non-utilisation fee up front, for the peace of mind that the money is available should they need it. If they draw down the loan within the year, they get the fee for the unused period reimbursed.
  • Flexibility
    Every social enterprise and charity is different, and we are extremely happy to agree a specific repayment schedule that suits them and us.

    Some organisations want to make regular monthly repayments over the loan term (and our fabulous loan calculator can help to show what the repayments will likely be); others might need to delay their first capital repayment until a year in or more, or only repay us when they hit certain income targets.

    And for many organisations, their needs will change over the course of the loan - we try to be as understanding and flexible as we can be in these circumstances, and frequently vary repayment schedules.

The majority of social investments we make are unsecured loans and standby facilities - but we also do secured lending, Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), quasi-equity, charity bonds, and many more...

"We are always looking to improve our social investments products and services - so if you think there is something we should be doing, please let us know."

Holly Piper, Head of CAF Venturesome

If you want to know more about a social investment from CAF Venturesome or want to use your philanthropic capital to support our fund, talk to our team on 03000 123 300 or email us at venturesome@cafonline.org and we’ll be happy to help.