Social finance sector needs 'fundraisers', says Big Society Capital boss

Nick O'Donohoe tells New Philanthropy Capital event the 'plumbing' needs to be improved

Nick O'Donohoe
Nick O'Donohoe

The social finance sector needs its own fundraising department to attract outside investors, Big Society Capital chief executive Nick O’Donohoe told a round-table discussion today.

Speaking at an event hosted by the think tank New Philanthropy Capital, O’Donohoe said there was a lot of interest in social investment from private banks, institutional investors and high net worth individuals, but the sector needed specialists to persuade those groups to invest.

"You need a sales department," he said. "In the private sector we called them capital raisers. The voluntary sector might call them fundraisers.

"You need people with whom investors become comfortable, who they speak to on a regular basis, who can understand their needs and who eventually show up with a pitch."

O’Donohoe said this was one of the most important needs for the sector. The sector also needed to take a number of other steps "to build up the plumbing needed before the tap can be turned on".

He said the sector needed to decide on a system of impact measurement to make it easier for investors to compare investments and measure the social return they received, and that this system should share as much as possible with the system adopted in the US.

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