Introduction to Understanding and Accessing Social Investment

A Brief Guide for Social Entrepreneurs and Development Practitioners
Jessica Shortall and Kim Alter
The SEEP Network and Virtue Ventures, 2009

Cover pageThis paper explores the growing pool of money termed “social investment” that is tailored to enterprise-based approaches to social and environmental problems. Social investment can help organizations build capacity, test innovations, and achieve sustainability.

The goals for this paper are to:

  • provide a working definition for “social investment”, and explain how this differs from traditional funding mechanisms;
  • educate organizations engaged in social enterprise activity and development on social investors and their criteria, as these organizations evolve their own business and funding strategies; and
  • provide concrete advice on approaching social investors, a process that is significantly different from traditional grant-writing.

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