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Research on Social Investors in SIS Community Capital

We were delighted to be able to celebrate with our SIS Community Capital investees last week at an event in London hosted by Big Society Capital.

Alan Cunningham and Roger Goodyear from Broxburn United Sports Club and Portsoy Community Trust respectively, shared their stories and really brought home the huge potential and great benefits of Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR). Both Alan and Roger highlighted that SITR enabled their organisations to access more affordable and flexible social finance.

SIS Community Capital was a pilot fund launched last year which was the first of its kind to utilise the tax relief in the UK. Thomas Gillan, Chief Financial and Strategy Officer at SIS feels there’s been a tremendous amount achieved and learned as a result of the pilot fund including introducing new investors to the world of social investment, working with HMRC and deploying the investment. He said, ‘Since the fund was fully invested, we’ve had an opportunity to reflect and consider what the future possibilities are for SITR and the potential for further funds to be developed. Part of that process has been looking at the motivations of the social investors themselves’.

On the back of that, we thought we would share with you some findings of an independent piece of research SIS commissioned at the end of 2016 looking at the experiences and motivations of some of our 27 investors in the SIS Community Capital fund.

Some key learnings were:
  • Social returns were rated to be more important to respondents than financial return, although financial returns were still a consideration for most respondents.
  • SIS Community Capital was the first investment in social enterprises for 81% of respondents.
  • Two thirds of respondents would prioritise investments in citizenship and community, conservation of the natural environment, employment training and education and mental health/wellbeing over other outcome areas.
What was the attraction of this sis fund for you – social and/or financial return?

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Would you be willing for this fund to accept greater investment risks if greater social impact could be demonstrated?

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59% of respondents said they would be willing for this fund to accept greater investment risks if greater social impact could be demonstrated.

23% said they were not willing for risk to be increased on this basis.

Is this your first investment in social enterprise?

For 81% of respondents this was their first investment in social enterprise specifically, though 64% had previously made other ‘ethical’ investments in the forms of pension funds, charitable bonds, green investments and others.

A copy of the full report can be viewed here.