Essentials of Impact Investing: A Guide for Small-Staffed Foundations

Arabella Advisors, Exponent Philanthropy, Mission Investors Exchange

Impact investing has the potential to enable every foundation, regardless of size, to pursue its philanthropic mission more effectively. It can help individual donors, families, foundations with few or no staff, and all sorts of giving entities put more and different types of capital to work for social good. Even better, it can deliver philanthropic impact alongside financial returns—which can enable reinvestment of those funds in pursuit of even more social good.

Of course, years of experience teach that impact investing is neither a panacea nor a pipe dream. It is one of many tools we will need to use to address the complex social and environmental problems we face. It can be difficult work—and, like all difficult work, it sometimes fails. But the practice of impact investing is growing daily. And its practitioners are sharing tools, techniques, and experiences that can enable others to learn from both their successes and their challenges. Thanks to that work—and that willingness to share—the opportunity now is immense: the essentials of effective impact investing are becoming clearer, and best practices are emerging that can enable all sorts of innovative investors to engage.

We offer this guide with that opportunity in mind—and specifically to support small-staffed foundations seeking to use impact investing to further their missions.

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