Social investment – is it worth exploring further for your organisation?


Social Investment confusion

Social investment has been undoubtedly hyped since its introduction at the beginning of the decade but this method of finance is still largely misunderstood or unknown in the community of charities and social enterprises. It’s fair to say that those in the social investment sector are still discovering where social investment can best help different charities and social enterprises, where it isn't relevant and won't ever be relevant so it’s unrealistic to expect charities and social enterprises to have full awareness and understanding.


In an environment of ever reducing public sector funding, there are misguided thoughts that social investment can be a replacement for grants. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and is an over-simplified narrative. There is certainly potential for this method of repayable finance to help organisations increase the social impact they create but social investment isn’t appropriate for all organisations.

Learning and understanding all the elements and nuances of social investment can be very time intensive whilst an application process can be even more so. Time is a precious resource for charity and social enterprises and it shouldn’t be spent exploring social investment when it’s not relevant for that organisation.

At CAN Invest, through our experience of managing social investment funds and supporting organisations to become ‘investment-ready’, we have developed some quick indicators to identify whether social investment is;

  • currently appropriate for consideration
  • possibly appropriate in the future


  • not appropriate at all.

With this knowledge, we have developed a 5-minute tool to help organisations self-assess whether they should spend time exploring social investment further.

CAN Invest assessment tool

We hope this tool will be informative and give you food for thought… or simply help you with time-saving!

Happy self-assessing!


Greg Woolley - Early Intervention Fund Manager at CAN Invest

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Category: Invest