Friday, October 8, 2010

When Aggregate Demand Met Aggregate Supply

Here at the SOCAP10 conference, I'm struck by the number of deals that want to happen, are trying to happen, and, for all I know, may even be happening.  I suspect, however, from the strained looks on the faces of many attendees, that the wannabes far outnumber the consummated transactions.

One connection that isn't going to come together anytime soon is between aggregate demand platforms such as the Growth Philanthropy Network's Social Impact Exchange -- a clearinghouse of some 2,500 cross-sector members presenting carefully vetted investment opportunities in high-performing, growth-ready, scalable nonprofit organizations -- and aggregate supply platforms managed by national donor advised funds (DAF) like Schwab Charitable Fund -- which, according to its Web site, "has issued over 270,000 grants to 44,000 public charities - a total of close to $1.5 billion." GPN's Alex Rossides and Schwab's Kim Wright Violich led a discussion at SOCAP10 among a circle of nonprofits, funders and investors on the subject of "The Future of Aggregate Demand Platforms."  It seems to me like an obvious match waiting to happen, one that could address the social sector's desperate need for more effective capital allocation, but if Schwab's perspective is emblematic of the industry, and I believe it is, the DAFs apparently don't see it that way.

Friday, October 1, 2010

How Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow

The chaotic nonprofit capital marketplace is trying to organize itself to deploy billions of dollars much more effectively.  It has miles to go, but it’s heading in some encouraging directions.  The intrepid Social Innovation Fund (SIF) and the just-launched Social Impact Bond (SIB) are two of the most promising.