There's nothing like sitting in an audience and getting goose bumps listening to someone paint a picture for what, at one time, seemed beyond possible for investors with a social conscience - the ability to generate a financial return AND a sustainable positive social outcome from investments (click here for photos). As an organization that serves professionals and social entrepreneurs, the venue provided friends and Partners of DSVP with leading-edge insights for how they can make the most of their charitable contributions and business expertise.
Susan Hoff, board chair, summarizes the role of this Series, “DSVP is thrilled to be able to bring a distinguished group of speakers, including David Wood, to our community. We hope this Series will challenge our community to ‘think out of the box’ in order to maximize positive community impact through social innovation and cross-sector partnerships. Many thanks to The Dallas Foundation and our other generous sponsors for their interest in helping us share these ideas.”
The luncheon presentation was engaging, exciting and flew by entirely too fast for those that were hungry for every little detail about how to connect with the impact investing field. Being someone who isn't hardwired for "finance-speak", this presentation was surprisingly tasty thanks to David's humorous style of delivering the information instead of what could otherwise have been like eating dry toast.
For those of you that were unable to make the event, here are three key takeaways from the discussion:
1. The Impact Investing field is dynamic and fluid but the opportunities are real. Thanks to advancements in online technology and access over the past few years, investors have more opportunities and flexibility to create products that meet their needs. The field needs room to flourish and thus we shouldn't try to pin it down or set the bar too high for what we are trying to accomplish.
2. There is some skepticism about impact investing because it is challenging conventional wisdom and practice. Skeptics are wary to the newness of the field and have concerns for the amount of hype that is being generated. To ensure future success, the hype needs to be managed.
3. Impact investing holds the promise of attaining philanthropy's Holy Grail - SCALE and SUSTAINABILITY. Microfinance has become a metaphor for impact investing and is a model for what people are looking for in the field. Taking a closer look at Microfinance as an example, you'll find progressive and sustainable benefits, an emergence of a new financial industry sub sector and the best part, the model is delivering returns that are measurable.
There's no doubt that impact investing has become extremely appealing. Investors and philanthropists alike are highly motivated for what's possible - to be what you own, do more with less, deliver creative market-based solutions and leverage other resources to deliver a real impact.
Thank you, DSVP, for convening another great event to benefit our community in North Texas. The up close look at Impact Investing was empowering and definitely ranked high in the category of social innovation at its best. Oh, and the most important takeaway from the discussion - this is helping to make the world a better place for ALL of us.
For those interested in learning more about David's work at Harvard University's Initiative for Responsible Investment and other impact investing resources, please visit:
To learn more about attending DSVP's Social Innovation Luncheon Series, please visit DSVP.org.
Valerie Strong Knight is the owner of Sunshine Avenue, a full service multi-media marketing firm dedicated to illuminating the brand, products and efforts of socially responsible businesses and organizations. Formerly a CSR executive for a Fortune 10 company, Valerie now focuses her time and energy on helping socially responsible organizations realize a greater return on their philanthropic investments and partnerships.
Photo Credit: Stephen Masker Photography http://www.stephenmasker.com/.