Set up by Stephen Dawson and Nat Sloane in 2002, venture philanthropy organisation Impetus is driven by a clear vision: to break the self-reinforcing cycle of poverty responsible for so much social unrest in the UK. Chief executive Daniela Barone Soares highlights the scale of the problem it addresses: ‘In the UK there are 500,000 children in chaotic and at-risk families. Seventy per cent of them will still be classed as ‘at risk’ when they turn 30, unless we intervene before they start school to give them a better start. Impetus is doing that.’
Venture philanthropy, as well as requiring donations, requires time and expertise. The organisation calls upon its pro bono experts, across all sectors, to go into the investee charities. By activities such as helping charities strengthen their financial systems, assess the effectiveness of their boards and measure the impact of what they do, and by offering CEOs access to top-notch management coaching, Impetus makes sure its charities have the capacity to hit their goals.
It is an effective, popular model of support that can be applied to any charity. ‘Our supporters tell us there are three things they love about Impetus,’ says Soares. ‘Their money goes further, because our model leverages nearly £4 more in added value for every £1 we give to charities; we enable the organisations we support to become sustainable — the capacity-building support we provide has long-term impact; and supporters can also share their skills and experience to help our charities achieve greater impact.’
Over the past ten years, Impetus has invested in 23 small- or medium-sized charities, typically providing them with £350-£500,000 over a period of four or five years. The results are clear: in 2010-11, charities posted an average annual growth of 30 per cent in the number of people they helped. The work provided by pro bono supporters of Impetus — which last year was valued at nearly £3 million — is crucial.
How You Can Help
Individuals can offer business and management advice to charities on a pro bono basis, as well as becoming trustees for organisations that Impetus works with. Impetus is especially interested in individuals who can offer expertise in law, marketing and accountancy.
The entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen of Spear’s readers can be channelled into helping the charities that help disadvantaged people out of lives of crime and poverty. Soares wants you on board: ‘We hope, through the 1 Per Cent Campaign, to expand our pro bono group, and that many more people will want to experience the pleasure of getting involved and really making a difference.’
Contact: <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Spear’s%201%20Per%20Cent%20Campaign”>email@example.com or visit impetus.org.uk
Find out more about Spear’s 1 Per Cent Campaign