Social enterprise non-executive directors and charity trustees will be given access to free information and support as part of a new campaign to give boards a better understand of the risks and opportunities of social investment.
GET INFORMED is a joint initiative by Big Society Capital, The Charity Commission, Trustees Unlimited, Association of Chairs, Honorary Treasurer’s Forum, Reach Volunteering and Cass Centre for Charity Excellence. It follows reports from the Association of Chairs showing a clear need for better support for board members in their personal development, and from the Charity Commission highlighting the need for a skilled and engaged board to be able to consider alternative funding methods.
GET INFORMED will help board members understand whether social investment could be relevant for their strategy, how charities and social enterprises are using it in practice, and issues that should be considered from a board perspective. The campaign will offer free practical support, guidance and information via events and workshops, resources and materials on social investment, peer-to-peer networks, board facilitated sessions and mentors.
The “Faces” of the campaign – board members who have used or considered social investment – will share their experiences including both positive highlights and challenges.
Azlina Bulmer, Vice-Chair of The Works Charity and one of the “Faces” involved said:
Social investment has provided us with the working capital needed to grow and meet the needs of the charity.
“Whilst it might not be right for every organisation, it is important that boards better understand the various options available and explore whether social investment can support their charitable mission.”
The campaign comes at a time of change for the sector, with all charities having new statutory powers to make social investments as part of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act.
Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at The Charity Commission said:
“We recognise that social investment offers new opportunities to help charities grow and many are keen to harness its potential. However, it’s crucial that trustees are sufficiently informed about the options available and know what they have to consider before making decisions about social investment.
These resources, along with our core financial guidance, should help trustees make well-considered decisions for their charity. We have also recently updated our guidance on social investment to reflect the new legislation in the Charities Act.”
Geetha Rabindrakumar, Head of Social Sector Engagement at Big Society Capital said:
“We consistently hear that charity and social enterprises boards need more support if they are to engage meaningfully with alternative funding models – GET INFORMED is our response to help address this.
We’re delighted to be collaborating with a group of organisations who all have expertise and an interest in strengthening governance in the sector, and their input has been invaluable.”
Charity and social enterprise board members can access this free support by signing up at www.bigsocietycapital.com/get-informed.