Putting dollars to work for social as well as financial returns has become a hot topic in philanthropy. Impact investing is still new enough that many organizations don't know where to start. The Chronicle of Philanthropy shares lessons from experts in the field to help you navigate.
First, talk to other investors. According to Amy Jensen with the Northwest Area Foundation, impact investing is a collegial community. Finding investments that correspond to a particular area of interest isn't always easy, and referrals are a great place to start. Also, be clear about your goals. Understand your non-negotiables and where you're willing to be flexible. Too narrow of a scope can limit your options.
Be open-minded. Stone Arch Capital is a venture capital firm in Minneapolis that invests in rural communities. Their funds aren't marketed as impact investments but are likely to create jobs and boost the economies of underserved areas. Grant-making can also be a great way to get new initiatives off the ground, as the deals themselves don't always cover upfront costs. However, The McKnight Foundation recommends not overthinking it. Instead of getting lost in the details, set some parameters and then just do it. LEARN MORE