SVN Spring Conference: Financial Strategies to Expand Your Impact

While 9am on a Saturday might seem a bit early to discuss investing strategies, David Berge and David Chen had a lively and entertaining discussion about how to make sure your socially responsible investments have the impact you want.

The financial models for high-impact investing are not new. They can be expressed in many different ways, but the basics for these typse of investments have existed for a long time. But to make sure your investment has the impact you envision today you must envision the environment tomorrow. David Berge of Vancity Savings Credit Union suggests that entrepreneurs need to look at least 5 years out and realize that the influence of minority and women on markets is significant now and will only grow.

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He also offered up a few gems to keep in mind while raising money for a venture: Clarity of vision creates structure. Don’t argue that “the plan will happen.” Instead, argue that “the plan will succeed.”

David Chan of Equilibrium Capital Group came to impact investing and social venture later in his distinguished career, but his intelligent perspectives are clear and in line with how SRI should look. His main theme of ‘who you invest in and who invests in you are equally important’ sheds light on the challenge of deciding on who to accept capital from. When thinking about taking money, businesses should figure out if they are partnering with traders, investors, or owners.

He cited a situation where the investors actually moved into a companies office and were actively helping to bring in partners and deals. Further, he points out that having mutual values is important for a relationship.

The cherry on top of this session was the number of different ways these investors made suggestions which empowered the business owner, something you don’t often hear when pitching with someone for capital.

This post was written for SVN during their spring member conference.

Click here to see the rest of the SVN coverage of the 2010 Spring Member Gathering.

Photos graciously taken by Nancy Jo.

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