Three blogs that I’ve particularly enjoyed over the past year are Toby Blume’s, David Floyd’s and Dan Gregory’s. They’re quite active bloggers though so it’s hard to go through their back catalogue. So for those keen to dive into current social sector debates, I’ve pulled out some highlights.
Second up, David Floyd – Beanbags and Bullsh!t
David Floyd’s absolutely superb blog is mainly focused on social enterprise, but more specifically recent developments in social investment. David is also one of the leaders of the highly recommended Alternative Commission on Social Investment. Plug him into your Feedly/subscribe, ponder.
David, with good humour and humility sets out to examine the “the hype-drenched confusion and bluster that characterises the embryonic UK social investment ‘sector’.”
As David points out: “There are some problems with the current state of social enterprise, though. One is that in the necessary battle to get social enterprise noticed at all, advocates of social enterprise have too easily slipped into suggesting that it offers the solution to all the problems in the world ever. Whether or not this is potentially true, it’s definitely not true yet. Not least because the sector is currently very small.”
I remain hopeful that social investment lives up to its ambitions. There is certainly much to do to fix a broken financial system in the social sectors where finance often flow to, well, anything at all, and certainly not to things that have impact and need to grow. But there is too little honest talk, which to my mind holds a lot of things back.
David on scale:
6 excellent blogs on the challenges that the social investment market has discovered/faced over recent years. In chronological order:
- Capital ideas – part one
- I agree with Nick (mostly) – part one
- “Finance isn’t the story”
- Report from emerging market
- The end of the beginning
- Pretty good year
In the first, he picks up this line in the report under discussion: “Since social investment, by definition, targets financial, as well as social returns, it is not immediately apparent why social organisations with viable business models should seek finance from social, rather than commercial, investors.”
And comments later:
“Unfortunately, while there are honourable exceptions, the social investment sector as whole doesn’t actually offer these things – expertise, riskier money, and (financially) cheaper money – and it’s not even clear than most investors and intermediaries have even got to the point of aspiring to do so.”
Not yet an A+ for the end of term report card.
On social sector incubators:
All excellent reading, and well worth keeping up to date with.