PRESS REVIEW – 5 SEPTEMBER 2018

1- OUR MEMBERS TALKED TO US ABOUT…

  • Net Impact Los Angeles: “a community of young professionals in Los Angeles with a passion for social impact that get together to share ideas, explore career opportunities, and expand our knowledge to create social change”.  Net Impact Los Angeles
  • Unchartered: an accelerator whose mission is to scale and connect organizations to tackle social problems. Uncharted

         

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2- “SOCIAL” SOCIAL IMPACT

“USING THE POWER OF AN ACCELERATOR TO TACKLE SOCIAL PROBLEMS”

August 1, 2018 – For full article: Forbes.com

 

As Uncharted shifts away from growing ventures and towards tackling problems, we are pursuing two hypotheses that leverage the DNA of an accelerator to show measurable impact around a specific social problem.

Hypothesis 1:

Accelerating ventures vertically that are tackling the same problem but from different angles will lead to more measurable progress against that problem than supporting ventures that are all tackling different problems.

We have run three programs with entrepreneurs who are all focused on tackling the same problem from different angles. Initial indications from the following programs show that by narrowing our selection criteria, we are able to 1) surround organizations with a more concentrated network of mentors and funders, 2) advance those ventures further than with a more diversified accelerator.

Examples:

  • Early Childhood Poverty: We selected and helped scale organizations that are working to break the cycle of poverty for children 0–5 years old
  • Urban Poverty: We selected and helped scale organizations that are tackling urban poverty in U.S. cities
  • Food Insecurity: We selected and helped scale organizations that are working to increase the access and consumption of healthy food into low-income neighborhoods

Hypothesis 2:

In addition to growing ventures vertically, bringing ventures together to work together horizontally on the same problem will lead to problem-related impact outcomes.

 

We have started to convene the ventures and people best positioned to tackle a specific problem in one place to achieve specific impact metrics over a set period of time. Initial indications point to how this horizontal “collective impact” work can unify multiple organizations (and funders) behind one impact goal that wouldn’t be possible without the convening power of an organization like Uncharted.

 

Examples:

  • Food Insecurity: In 2017, we launched an initiative to convene a group of 3–5 organizations — all uniquely positioned to address food insecurity — and we’re helping them co-locate in one neighborhood and work together to reduce food insecurity over 2–4 years.

What’s next? We will continue to test these hypotheses by running programs that advance our learning about how to become a 21st-century problem-solving organization. By working both vertically (help ventures grow up) and horizontally (bring ventures together), we are confident we can establish a set of powerful, complementary tools that will enable us to be a pioneer in applying new approaches to old problems.

 

 

3- SOCIAL IMPACT INVESTMENT

“FROM REFUGEE TO VENTURE CAPITALIST TO SOCIAL IMPACT PIONEER”

July 30, 2018 – For full article: Forbes.com

 

Called by the British press a “compassionate capitalist,” “sophisticated and urbane,” and “a man of intellectual distinction,” Sir Ronald Cohen is a trim 72 with wavy white hair, dark eyebrows and an inspiring eloquence that reflects deep thought in the industries and systems around which he orbits — venture capital and impact investing.

Though Cohen strikes one as a veritable English nobleman of our times — he was schooled at Oxford, knighted in 2001 and has been dubbed the Father of Venture Capital in the U.K. — his backstory is anything but predictable. Born in Egypt, Cohen and his family fled the country on the heels of the 1950s Suez Canal Crisis when he was 11 years old.

“It became very difficult to be Jewish in Egypt, because there was an identification of being [tied to] Israel,” said Cohen. With his boyhood collection of Egyptian stamps gripped at his side and only a few Egyptian pounds in his parents’ pockets, the family settled in England, where his mother had citizenship. Despite Cohen not yet speaking English, his father enrolled him in a London grammar school and promised the headmaster that, given the opportunity, his son would be top of the class. “It gave me a very strong impetus not to let my family down,” said Cohen. “I went for it.”

After having proven himself a brilliant student, a teacher provided Cohen with a list of 200 books to read in preparation for entrance exams to Oxford. Cohen devoured them all. Of the many works that have remained with him, one is Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey, about a rope bridge in Peru that collapses, plunging five people to their death. In the book, Wilder explores if there was reason behind the tragic fate of the individuals.

Cohen said the story “brought home the fact that whatever you do in life … you should give it your all, but you’re free of responsibility if you don’t succeed, because it’s not just about how good you are. There’s an element of luck.”

By this line of reasoning, Cohen has been extremely fortunate. His professional life can be seen as two illustrious acts. Act I was his ascension to the top of the venture capital world. After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School and working at consulting firm McKinsey & Company, Cohen — who was only in his mid-twenties — cofounded what was arguably the first venture capital firm in Europe, Apax Partners.

  Over more than three decades under his guidance, the group became the U.K.’s leading venture capital and then private equity firm, with hundreds of employees. By the time Cohen retired at the age of 60 in 2005, Apax had invested over 12 billion euros in more than 500 deals.

“I left because I wanted to do what I considered to be more important things,” Cohen said of his retirement. Act II of Cohen’s career and those “more important things” have focused on improving people’s lives through his work in igniting the social impact investing revolution, helping move investors from a mindset of simply risk and return, to one of risk, return and impact. Cohen believes that if “you balance these three elements instead of two, that’s the future.”

What sparked a chain reaction of revelations around social impact, was a call Cohen received in 2000 from the U.K. Treasury requesting he lead a task force that would take an entrepreneurial look at how the British government dealt with the issue of poverty. Cohen agreed, and his research and work chairing the task force opened his eyes to areas of the social sector in desperate need of innovation.

“I realized that we’d been very innovative at finding ways of satisfying the needs of entrepreneurs who want to make money, but we haven’t done anything about connecting those who want to improve lives to capital or to the capital market,” Cohen said. “It was a real turning point in my life.”

Thoughtfully linking the two acts of his professional trajectory, Cohen said that one reason he became a venture capitalist was “to help people improve their lives and create jobs in the U.K.” But he realized, “Although I was backing entrepreneurs who came from simple backgrounds like myself, [venture capital] wasn’t really dealing with the issue of poverty. People were enriching themselves and creating jobs, and that was helping families. But somehow, social issues continued to spread, and the gap between rich and poor got bigger and bigger rather than smaller.”

 

After this turning point in the early 2000s, Cohen founded and led a slew of socially-focused organizations, creating a social impact ecosystem that invited more capital and innovation into the Impact Revolution.

These organizations included Bridges Fund Management, a private fund management firm focused on sustainable and impact investments that Cohen cofounded in 2002; Portland Trust, a nonprofit he cofounded in 2003 that promotes economic development in the Middle East to achieve peace and stability between Israelis and Palestinians; an intermediary non-profit organization, Social Finance, which he cofounded in 2007 (and is credited with having created the world’s first Social Impact Bond); and Big Society Capital, called the first social investment bank, which Cohen cofounded in 2012.

Cohen calls the launch of the first Social Impact Bond (SIB) in the U.K. city of Peterborough one of the proudest moments of his career. The innovative tool brought together both investors interested in making a social impact (in this case in the area of recidivism) and a non-profit whose mission was to reduce the number of released prisoners reoffending.

The SIB both raised money for an effective program (which reduced recidivism by 9%) and returned profits to investors, by capturing the government’s cost savings in keeping individuals out of prison. Cohen and his team had invented a tool to “improv[e] lives as you deliver a financial return,” he said.

 

In 2013, Cohen began chairing the Social Impact Investment Taskforce, which aimed to spread social impact investing across the globe. In 2015, after growing participation, the taskforce evolved into the Global Social Impact Investment Steering Group (GSG).

“There’s a cohort of about 1,000 people just associated with my efforts, who are leading this revolution in 17 different countries now, soon to be increased,” Cohen said of the global movement. “So you have to view a revolution happening as something that is broad-based and global and infused with a partnership spirit.”

 

    Though Cohen and his partners have done much to build the industry of impact investing, he depends greatly on the next generation to carry the torch.

“We’re going through a period of experimentation and proof of concept in impact investment today. I have no doubt that we will be successful, just as I had no doubt that we would be successful in venture capital,” Cohen said. “And I think it’s a question now of inspiring the millennial generation to do again what it did in the tech revolution. But this time, to do it for impact — doing good and doing well at the same time.”

 

4- PHILANTHROPY

“HOW MILLENIALS ARE CHANGING PHILANTHROPY”

August 15, 2018 – For full article: Forbes.com

 

As a philanthropist, nonprofit board member and social entrepreneur, I often hear how important high-net-worth donors are. Yes, they are important, as any donor is important. But the real future of the giving space rests with millennials.

Millennials will be the largest demographic in the American workforce by 2020.

There has been plenty written about the influence millennials are having on the workplace. Overall, they desire work-life balance and are increasingly unsettled about the future. In the same way that they are reshaping the workplace, they are reinventing philanthropy.

Today, millennials make up about one-third of the workforce. Gen X is another third and baby boomers are a shrinking 25%. By 2020, millennials will represent more than half of all workers. That’s a monumental and rapid shift — and it’s all taking place right now.

As millennials begin to increase disposable income, pay student loans and acquire patterns and behaviors that are more likely to last into their forties and fifties, what was once a finicky, trend-receptive audience is becoming more grounded, regular and even predictable.

It’s important for organizations to recognize the differences in how millennials behave, what their preferences are and why these qualities give them an outsized influence on the philanthropic space — and the workplace. Millennials are receiving thousands of messages each day and getting involved in multiple-cause pursuits. They are also distracted, multitasking and frustrated by the status quo. Marketers speaking to them must adjust their messages to meet these conditions.

Millennials are more likely to give than other generations.

In 2014, 84 percent of millennial employees gave to charity and 70 percent of them donated more than an hour to a charitable cause, according to the Case Foundation’s Millennial Impact Report: 2015 (download required). Sure, boomers and Gen Xers are giving more in terms of dollars ($732 and $1,212 per year, respectively), but at an average of $481 given each year, millennials are quickly gaining influence over the philanthropic space (source: The Next Generation of American Giving, 2018).

Considering that millennials earn less than their counterparts did and are often riddled with student debt, years away from owning a car or a home, these numbers are significant. If people become more generous over their lives and are more likely to give if their parents give, millennials will become the most generous generation in history. One can easily imagine this reaching 95 or even 100 percent by the time they reach midlife.

As millennials double as a working population, their share of charitable donations is likely to reflect that growth. Organizations should be doubling down on their efforts to connect with and reach millennials.

Why are millennials giving at higher rates than their predecessors? This likely has to do with a number of factors. Among them, the digitization of the world as we know it, the rise of mobile and online banking and the ease with which individuals can learn about and share issues with others. This generation grew up with smartphones, Snapchat and Facebook.

They believe in their responsibility to create change and are optimistic about their abilities. With the ease of sharing came the ease of giving, as well as the expectation to do so. Young people are finding community through causes and activating each other as they do.

 

What about the wealth transfer?

So, what if the economy crashes? Or the historical trends somehow prove us wrong? To that, I point to the massive wealth transfer. Thanks to the entrepreneurship of a few of their baby booming parents, millennials are on the cusp of a massive $30 trillion wealth transfer — a more significant wealth transfer than we’ve ever experienced.

Some experts believe this transfer will lead to a golden era for nonprofits that could last decades. These are the individuals who’ve grown up giving and believe strongly that they can affect change in the world. But this can only happen if nonprofits meet this audience where they are.

Knowing the vast majority of millennials are already giving, it’s easy to understand the importance of this generation when it comes to philanthropy. It also underscores the critical need for nonprofits to be smarter, employ technology, track and share their impact and communicate effectively with them. These organizations must focus on millennials as lifetime potential donors, even if the amounts they are giving now are smaller than their parents.

 

How can nonprofits connect with millennials?

So, you’re ready to engage millennials. Here are a few things to keep in mind when developing marketing for this audience:

 

  • Ask for more than money. Millennials will share your cause. They will sign up and volunteer their time for fundraising, crowdfunding or fieldwork. Value the whole interaction with young donors. This prepares them (and you) for long-term relationships that run much deeper than a single donation.
  • Tell stories. The space is crowded. Millennials receive millions of messages each week. Telling a story will motivate them more than facts. Rather than saying how many people are affected by X, show how someone has been affected and benefited from the work you are doing. Personalize it.
  • Keep it simple. Your cause should be tweetable and repeatable. Avoid overcomplicating your message and stick to the high points. Is your goal to end poverty? Say that. We know that you are working on complicated issues with nuances that are critical to what you do. So do millennials.
  • Communicate urgency. The first thing potential donors ask is: Why does this matter to me now? Getting urgency across in your message is essential. It might take years or a lifetime to complete your mission, but you can show your audience where their time and money will go right now. Will they give five people clean water? Provide shelter for ten? Say that.

There has been so much said and written about millennial entitlement, apathy and indifference toward brands. But millennials are the furthest thing from a passive audience. In fact, it’s their very obsession with progress that the philanthropic community has been waiting for. A generation of people who believe life can and should be better: the impact generation.

 

 

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