Giving Compass’ Take:
• Writing for Be the Change, Oliver Russell’s Russ Stoddard discusses how investors dedicated to social progress can bring return and stay true to their values.
• How do these ideas fit into your own impact investing strategy? The message about focusing locally is one any socially-conscious entrepreneur can internalize.
• More more advice, check out these four lessons from four decades of impact investing, via the MacArthur Foundation.
As a Certified B Corporation and public benefit corporation, Oliver Russell makes impact investing a part of all we do, whether that means investing in our own company, fellow social enterprises, or NGOs in our community.
Since Oliver Russell was founded in 1991, the company has donated more than $2 million to social enterprises and nonprofit causes in its community. Additionally, we partner with B1G1 to tie business outcomes to international social impact. For example, in 2017:
- Based on the number of e-newsletter signups, we fed a child in an Ethiopian nursery for 966 days.
- We landed five new clients this year, and in turn we provided five business loans to women in Africa.
- Book sales from “Rise Up — How to Build a Socially Conscious Business” meant we donated 234 children’s books to libraries in Cambodia.
I don’t mention all of this to toot our horn but rather to show that impact investing means looking beyond traditional measures of financial success. Impact investors — whether corporate foundations or companies, family foundations, or individuals — make the world a better place by evaluating social and environmental returns as well as meeting or exceeding financial metrics. And you don’t have to be a big corporate behemoth to do it.
Impact Investing is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
There are lots of investment managers out there who can help you omit fossil fuel companies, weapons manufacturers, and others from your portfolio but also proactively fund areas you care about, such as human rights.
Whether you’re a small business owner like me, an individual, or a major company or foundation, there are easy steps you can take to get involved.
Educate your employees. The financial advising firm we work with specializes in socially responsible and impact investing. Their employees are great about educating team members so that they know about their options and how they align with our values as a company.
Target local giving. Place matters, and investing in a local Community Development Financial Institution is one way to increase access to capital in underserved communities.
Just do it. We dipped a toe into this world two years ago by initially investing for an equity stake into Works Progress Administration, a craft brewery and social enterprise in Boise, where our company is based. Since then, we’ve taken equity for services for workplace certification company GoodWell, as well as brand-new Our Planet Soap Company. We don’t have a formal process for making such investments, but we consider pitch decks throughout the year. We also make “Call to Action” grants to nonprofits and for-profit social enterprises throughout the year in the range of $1,000 to $5,000.
Read the full article about how investors can plant seed for future wealth by screening for good by Russ Stoddard at B the Change.
Looking for a way to get involved?
A good way to complement your interest in Impact Investing is to connect with others. Check out these events, galas, conferences or volunteering opportunities related to Impact Investing.
Are you ready to give?
If you are looking for opportunities to take action and give money to Impact Investing, here are some Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects aggregated by Giving Compass where you can take immediate action.