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From Pioneer Post:


The European Venture Philanthropy Association has launched a new toolkit to help those investing in social enterprises maximise the impact of the non-financial support they provide. Daniel Rostrup explains all.

Most venture philanthropy organisations and social investors provide non-financial support, such as strategy consulting, coaching, mentoring or financial management to their investees. But up until recently, there has been little guidance on how to do so effectively and how to monetise the support given.

The European Venture Philanthropy Association has developed a five step framework to ensure those investing in social enterprises are as effective as possible in delivering this non-financial support:

1. Define what is core and train your team

Your Theory of Change (the social change you want to achieve through your investment strategy) will guide you in gauging what types of non-financial support you can most effectively provide to social enterprises, defining what is core to your strategy. The members of your team are your most important asset. Make sure you help them build the skills needed to deliver the core non-financial support or think about working with external or pro-bono partners to offer the expertise you don’t have ‘in-house’.

2. Take a needs based approach

When it comes to offering non-financial support, there might be a difference between what your investee says it needs and what you believe it needs. It is crucial therefore that you take the time to perform a thorough assessment of the needs of the social enterprise you intend to work with, and to ensure that you are able to offer the support that is needed. Develop a specific intervention/ delivery model for a specific social enterprise, and make sure you carefully select partners that will deliver the non-financial support, based on good matching of the investee needs.

3. Set terms, milestones and objectives

Planning is key. Clearly co-define milestones, terms and conditions, roles and responsibilities, delivery mechanisms, and scope of the non-financial support you will offer. This will help manage expectations and can be used by both parties as a pressure point towards the other to ask for the delivery of results or support.

4. Think about networks and networking

Consider how to help provide the social enterprises with access to networks to learn, network and find additional funding.  Peer to peer mentoring, organising investee meetings at global portfolio level and regional level, offering access to thematic networks, providing access to workshops and conferences are just some of the ways in which we’ve found that you can add value.

5. Measure, evaluate and create feedback loops

Monitor and assess the non-financial support you offer; measure – ideally through an independent third party and using the tools in our report – how the investee perceives the value of the non-financial support it has been provided with, periodically, or at least at the end of the investment period. Learnings can inform the future non-financial support cycles, as they generate lessons learned as to what types of support investees value most and which are generating the best outcomes for your investee’s development.

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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