An increasing number of mainstream investors, attracted by the idea of doing good while achieving positive financial returns, are entering the impact investing market. On the other hand, traditional grant-making foundations are increasingly giving grants in a long-term and sustainable way and starting to look into how they can put their endowments at use. Between these two types of capital providers, a group of venture philanthropy and social investment funds are mixing the two approaches, adopting for the past fifteen years the so-called venture philanthropy approach, combining financial support with capacity-building and a focus on impact measurement and management.

Investors for impact support and catalyze innovative solutions to social and environmental problems, taking on risks that no other actor is willing to take.





  • Consider primarilly the achievement of a positive social impact, with a range of intentions for or without a financial return;

  • have the social challenge, social solution and beneficiaries as the starting point ("solution focus");

  • articulate a Theory of Change;

  • evaluate their own impact on the social purpose organisation (SPO) supported;

  • give particular attention to the potential of the SPO to generate the desired impact, resulting in the centrality of the SPO´s Impact model in the deal screening and due diligence phases;

  • adopt a positive screening approach when selecting investees;

  • adopt a more rigorous and management-oriented, bottom-up approach to impact measurement, including the use of customised indicators - often co-designed with SPO's, while trying not to burden investees with excessively demanding requests for evidence during the investiment itself;

  • focus on addionality instead of just intentionality;

  • put particular emphasis on preserving the impact of the SPO when they exit.

  • have impact as a secondary objetive, subject to the achievement of a financial return;

  • use social impact to mitgate the risks associated with the achievement of a financial return;

  • screen investments primarilly based on the potential financial return they can generate - and then on the potential impact;

  • select investments mostly using standardised criteria (e.g. ESG, PRI, etc) or a negative screening approach, requiring a high detail of evidence that a specific model has achieved impact in the past;

  • measure investees' social impact perfomance based on standardised indicators (e.g. IRIS, GRI, etc.)

For additional information please refer to
Impact Strategies - How Investors Drive Social Impact



The investing for impact methodology implements the capital principles of risk (venture capital), including long-term investment and practical help for certain elements of the social economy. The main elements of investing for impact are:

  • Tailored Financing

    Choosing the most suitable financial instrument(s) to support an SPO. These instruments include grant, debt/loan, equity, and hybrid financial instruments. The choice of the financial instrument(s) depends on a number of factors, such as the investor for impact’s willingness to take risk, or the SPO’s business model and stage of development.

  • Non-financial Support (NFS)

    Providing support services to a social purpose organisation in order to maximise its social impact, increase its financial sustainability or strengthen its organisational resilience.

  • Impact Measurement & Management (IMM)

    Measuring and monitoring the change created by an organisation’s activities and using this information/data to refine activities in order to increase positive outcomes and reduce potential negative ones.

For more information, we suggest reading the report:
A Practical Guide to Venture Philanthropy and Social Impact Investment
published by EVPA.