CAF manages Venturesome, a pioneer in social investment. Venturesome has invested in excess of £33 million in over 400 organisations, providing support where access to traditional finance is difficult.


Over the past 12 years, Venturesome has supported a wide range of charities and social enterprises in the UK with repayable finance. Financing is given to charitable organisations of all sizes, at both a local and international level.

Venturesome prides itself on innovation. At the same time it is guided by a priority on seeking to work with organisations delivering the highest impact for beneficiaries of their services.

Two recent examples are work on the social impact bond for St. Mungo’s street impact SIB, and SE-Assist, a programme that provides interest-free loans, bespoke mentoring and expert consultancy to local social enterprises.

Showing how companies can become leading players in social investment whilst supporting their local communities, Venturesome is growing the programme and is seeking new applications from organisations who want to get involved in social investment.

Venturesome also helps our donors to determine whether social investment is right for them, and links them to causes and programmes to achieve their goals. This is becoming increasingly popular.


Taking their inspiration from the world of business as a model for mobilising large amounts of capital and bringing a business approach to their giving, Venture philanthropists are pioneering new forms of charitable investment.

Stephen Dawson is one such philanthropist inspired by an article in Harvard Business Review in 1997 - Virtuous Capital – What Foundations can learn from Venture Capital - which he applied to his philanthropy strategy on retirement.

Stephen comments: “It's all about getting the biggest bang for your buck. That has become even more important since the financial crisis because whether you are a government or an individual philanthropist it is important to get more for less.”

Key terms

Social investment

The provision of funds and use of mainstream investment principals to generate social and financial returns.

Social enterprise

A business whose primary motive is to achieve its social objectives. The balance between delivering a financial and social return will depend on the business in question.

Social impact

This is the effect that an organisation will have on people and society. Generally it will relate to the intended positive impact of an organisation but could equally relate to its negative effects.

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