Kia ora! I’m now back in New Zealand and reviewing my notes from the European Venture Philanthropy Association conference. Today and tomorrow I’ll share a few of my insights. 

The conference started with a crash course on venture philanthropy. We heard first-hand stories of venture philanthropy practice from practitioners in Europe.

Key learnings

Social investment for social enterprise is well established, both within Europe and through European foundations reaching out globally. Much of the practice in Europe is similar to ours, but they use a more mixed portfolio of financial tools ranging from grants to capacity building to loans and social investments. It’s seen as a long game with many players and phases, with social impact venture partners being offered a range of supports as required. 

For many venture philanthropists, venture philanthropy is also about investing in social entrepreneurs, those individuals with potential to lead social change. 
Participants generally applied the same core principles we apply in our models;
• tailored funding, 
• impact management (understanding impact) and 
• organisational support (capacity building) 
All of which combined contribute towards social and societal impact.

Take out tools from the session on venture philanthropy for foundations included financial and non-financial support in the form of:
• Long term loans
• Grants
• Property investment
• Guarantees 
• Capacity building (and education)
• Innovation processes eg. tournaments / labs / hackathon models
• Business intelligence
• Advice and strategy development
• Awareness raising

One interesting reflection, which resonated with me, from a newish organisation established by a long standing and very well-known funder was that it takes time to establish new models even when they have a strong founding parent.

There is a great guide to VP and social impact investment to be found on the EVPA website:

It’s a good read