Five tips to master Social Finance

Five tips to master Social Finance

by Christina Moehrle, Social Finance Academy, March 22, 2018 /


Social entrepreneurs and impact investors often struggle to speak the same language. Here are 5 tips how to better address the Babylonian confusion /

Securing the right finance at the right time in the right form is still a huge challenge to social enterprises around the globe. While investors should have their fair share by understanding the impact dimension, purpose-driven entrepreneurs often feel lost in translation when it comes to external finance and financial management. So let’s have a look at how the language barrier can be overcome. Here come our top tips for impact enthusiasts how to master the challenge and get multi-lingual.

(1) Understand the jargon

Although you may know the language as such, it can sometimes be hard to grasp the dialects. As a visitor to a new country, you certainly want to avoid unnecessary faux pas, don’t you? So what does an investor REALLY mean if he or she says, “I’m looking for a competitive return”?  And what can an investor TRULY expect if a social entrepreneur brags that his or her solution “is a real game-changer”? If you feel confident enough about the Social Finance language basics but clueless about the nuances, here are some useful resources for you. Careful to enter the jargon matrix, you may become hooked….

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(2) Map your personal journey

If you are at the very beginning of your social finance experience, it can be hard to find orientation where to start. How do you approach the new language of raising impact investment? Which level of knowledge do you really need? Which is the best way for you to learn? In daily chunks, in bigger modules, or with an entire course? By mapping the journey with a suitable framework, you can plan the right steps for an individual, tailored learning trip beyond the confusing Tower of Babel.

(3) Do some targeted reading

Sure, there are plenty of social finance articles, papers and case studies out there. But which ones to choose? Are you a deep diver and can’t get enough of academic papers and concepts? Or do you prefer case studies of peers to understand how things are done in practice? Do you just want to take a sneak peek since you are not yet in a stage of approaching investors? Or do you love rather short and concise “how to” articles that give you initial ideas for your next challenge? Whatever your learning appetite may be, we have the right meal for you. Here comes our entire menu from appetizers to desserts.

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(4) Get an onsite training

Some people tend to learn a language best “on site”. They dive head first into a foreign country, plug into a group of like-minded tourists and do a daily training over two or more weeks. Are you the type of learner who wants to discover language, culture and local environment in one single, intensive experience on the ground? Our friends at Impact Hub have a huge array of trainings across the globe. With 92 open hubs and 8 in the making, you will certainly find inspiration, peers and resources from programs about investment readiness to scaling. Financial skills are often part of these onsite experiences. If you would like to focus more on social finance, there are currently 14 hubs plugging in our practice-driven Social Finance Academy content into their training programs. You run an accelerator as well and want to know more? Email our programme manager at info@social-finance-academy.org

(5) Take a full-fledged course

Ok, so you are the very serious type of student: You are systematic and want to learn the language from A to Z meticulously, even if it takes you 2 to 3 months and a couple of hours per week. As long as you can decide on your own learning pace. So here’s tip number 5: First launched in 2017 with approximately 2,000 learners, we now have the entire “Access to Impact Investment for Social Enterprises” course available on our platform. Just register and get started with this free online offering, richly packaged with lecture and expert videos, tools, templates, worksheets and infographics on social finance. Full menu – any time, any place, in your own pace and with individual bite-size units. It’s all yours. Enjoy!

Still hungry?

…and if this still isn’t enough to satisfy your learning appetite, there will be more to come in the near future. Stay tuned, visit us on Facebook to hear the latest on Social Finance and/or subscribe to our newsletter so that you won’t miss out our monthly workout. Impact-Finance-letics. It’s free!

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In any case:

Have fun learning to speak social finance and to create impact at scale!