Social investment is the use of money to achieve both a social and a financial return and is an increasingly popular funding option for donors. It enables donors to support their chosen causes and recycle their capital again and again. By doing this, their philanthropy becomes more than a one-off gift. Social investment can be as simple as an affordable loan to charity, to enable them to build on their work to a more complex ‘payment by results’ structure, in the form of a social impact bond. However it is structured, social investment is increasingly becoming a way for donors to use some of their philanthropic capital, as well as donating funds in the form of grants, enabling donors to give in perpetuity.

Through CAF Venturesome, the donor lends or invests in a charity to support them in a variety of ways for a period of time. Depending on how the charity performs, the loan is repaid allowing the funds to be reinvested into a number of other charities and social enterprises – multiplying its original impact


When Venturesome was founded in 2002, we recognised that charities needed access to affordable, repayable finance which wasn’t readily available from major high street banks and traditional lenders. 

Social investment met that need and we have made it our mission to help charities become more sustainable and to make a greater difference to the causes they support. Over the last 15 years, CAF Venturesome has provided over 500 social investment loans, helping numerous charities do just that. 

CAF Venturesome still believes that by providing charities access to affordable capital, we can help them deliver their mission. Thanks to the support and generosity of our funders, we have provided over £40m in social investment loans to enable charitable organisations to thrive and grow. Here is a great example of a charity that received our social investment back in 2014 and just how far they have come.


Best Beginnings is a small charity with a large reach and even bigger social impact. To date, the charity has reached over 2 million families across the UK. Founded by Alison Baum in 2006, the charity aims to ensure that every child has the best start in life by focusing on the period between conception and a child’s third birthday, where the foundations of a healthy and fulfilled life are laid.

Best Beginnings prides itself on developing and delivering innovative, integrated and professionally informed and evidence-based resources and services. The charity’s most recent resource, the Baby Buddy app, won the prestigious AXA PPP Health Tech award in 2015.

In 2014, CAF Venturesome was approached by Best Beginnings for a loan to provide cash flow support to their operations. The loan supported the charity as it looked to diversify its revenue and become financially sustainable and resilient by growing the trading income.

Over the last three years the organisation has seen their social impact grow immensely with their digital app, achieving over 140,000 downloads since its launch.

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What’s even more exciting is that during the course of the last year, Best Beginnings was named as one of eight charity partners for the Heads Together campaign, spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The charity, with Heads Together, is helping to tackle the stigma, raise awareness and provide vital help for people with mental health challenges. The Duchess of Cambridge spoke at the Best Beginnings launch of its "Out of the Blue" mental health series of films, all available in the digital app.


The CAF Venturesome Development Fund continues to welcome philanthropic social investors and we have now lowered the minimum contribution to £20,000, for this high-impact fund. The Development Fund provides social investment to build the capacity of high-impact charities and social enterprises. It gives organisations access to affordable, repayable finance that they need not just to survive but to thrive and become stronger. This fund provides the opportunity to contribute to this high-impact social investment fund from your CAF Charitable Trust. Our funders can choose the charitable themes they would like to support and as a social investment loan is repaid, the money is recycled into a new loan to support other charities and social enterprises.

The Development Fund also provides the opportunity to top-up existing contributions, which can continue to be invested in activities or sectors that you have the greatest interest in seeing thrive. If you are interested in becoming a social investor and helping meet the need for affordable finance to charities and social enterprises, please speak to our Private Client team today. You can also learn more about the funds and the organisations we support in our flyer


Visit our dedicated web page or blog to read more about us. You can also contact our Private Client team on 03000 123 028 or by email.

Thanks to CAF Venturesome's flexible bridging loan, we were able to continue to produce and deliver educational videos and digital tools to support and empower parents and front line health professionals, as part of our innovative early child health intervention strategy.

Alison Baum, OBE - CEO and Founder Best Beginnings
Read more about Best Beginnings

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