Social Finance

Capital for Cause: Back to Basics is a must attend event for all impact investors and social entrepreneurs looking to unleash capital for greater social impact as well as financial returns. It will be an engaging and interactive day of discussion and idea generation focusing on the topics of affordable housing and food security.

For the second year in a row, Dexterity Consulting will be partnering with REAP Calgary to bring a social captial discussion as part of the Down to Earth Week in Calgary, Alberta April 11-15.  The Capital for a Cause summit is being brought to you in part by Dolan Wealth Management - Raymond James and Toniic.  We started exploring this topic when the price of a barrel of oil was still fairly strong.  Since those initial planning days, the Canadian dollar has tanked, oil is still trading at $40/barrel and tens of thousands of people have been laid off.  So why are we talking about social capitla management now?  It might seem counter-intuitive.  It is for this very reason that we are undertaking this discussion at this time.

This past weekend I was in Edmonton for the Good 100 Experiment.  A social venture conference that brought together some of Alberta’s social enterprise community, both non-profit and for-profit.  The two plenary presenters, Lewis Cardinal and Joel Solomon each had something unique to say about the state of social entrepreneurship in North America.  Mr. Cardinal drew upon Cree culture to highlight the role that the locale and environment plays in the development of successful businesses.  Mr. Solomon shared his wisdom on impact investing and financial management with the Renewal, Renewal 2 and the Endswell Foundation.  The former drew upon the history of North American society and the latter presented a current state of affairs, together they painted a picture on what is influencing future growth in the social finance markets.

This blog is entitled Generating Social Capital.  I started it several years ago (just over 5) and since then the ideas around social finance, social entrepreneurship, strategic philanthropy and corporate citizenship have evolved.  I figure it is time I dust off what it means to generate social capital in light of the evolution of this sector.

I was recently at a Calgary+Acumen Fund event where CAWST presented on social impact investing and measuring performance of an organization.  It was a great conversation, in large part, because here was a charity that was advocating for stronger evaluation metrics before donors make charitable contributions.

When an individual evaluates a company before s/he invests there are several things that are evaluated:

  • Leadership
  • Financial stability
  • Product
  • Opportunity for financial gain
  • Future plans and growth opportunities (new markets)
  • Competitive landscape

This is a link to my first Calgary Herald blog post in the Business Section.

This past weekend I was part of a facilitation team taking a group of individuals and organizations through a course on starting a social enterprise.  The workshop was hosted by Canada Bridges and there were about 25 individuals ranging in age, ethnicity, and most especially in the ideas that they felt they could get to market that would make meaningful social change.

In the fall, I posted a brief for the House of Commons Finance Committee on social enterprise and social finance policy development.  The final version, along with others that were submitted can be found here.

The Finance Committee is expanding their work and is now looking at charitable tax incentives.  The crowdsourcing of the last brief proved to be quite successful so I would like to try it again.

Attached is a draft of the submission for the Finance Committee. I will be sending in the final version on January 14th. Please share your thoughts and comments on this blog post. If you would like your name added to the reference list of this paper please let me know so that I can ensure that appropirate credit is made.

My career has been shaped in the charitable sector. It spans two countries, several sub-sectors and a lot of fundraising time. When I decided to launch my own company it was at the begining of the formal social enterprise discussion in the States. I realized early on that what the charities value as their business and revenue models is not what the traditional markets value.  This seems obvious, when charities talk about their business, they talk about the lives that they have saved and how they do it on so few dollars.  When companies talk about their business, they talk about profit and commodities and consumers.  So it was with great interest that I read this past week's issue of the Globe & Mail on renaming the sector from non-profit to Social Profit.

The latest revision of the briefing to the Finance Committee of the House of Commons is below.  I have included references to the Manitoba Corporate Tax Credit for Social Enterprises and the British Columbia's advisory committee on Social Entrepreneurship.