New approaches to community engagement and giving

21 May 2013

Leadership Victoria were pleased to host Lance Fors, President, Social Venture Partners International (SVP) earlier this month. Lance presented to a full house outlining the leading new approaches to community engagement and giving.

Lance came to be involved in the world of philanthropy and social impact funding in 2005 when he sold his biotechnology business. Based in Silicon Valley he had heard the term Venture Philanthropy but didn't know what it meant. One day he Googled it and at the same time read an article about how people could work together to be able to enact social change. Social Venture Partners evolved and below is their mission and the models that they use.

Improving Communities by Connecting People with Causes

Social Venture Partners (SVP) brings together worlds that typically do not overlap: grant making, volunteerism, nonprofit capacity building, and philanthropic education. Every SVP is a network of engaged philanthropists who believe that they can have a positive impact on their communities and who use innovative strategies to address complex social issues.

The SVP Model – A Dual Mission

All Social Venture Partners share a dual mission. They seek to catalyze significant, long-term positive social change in their communities through:

  • Philanthropy Development: Creating communities of lifelong, informed and inspired philanthropists. SVP Partners are individuals who make meaningful contributions to nonprofit organizations by sharing their skills, time, and financial resources.
  • Capacity Building: Making strategic investments that build long-term capacity for nonprofits so they can better fill their missions. SVP Investees are nonprofit organizations that seek new resources and innovative approaches for addressing a variety of issues, including education, environmental protection, and youth development. Capacity building investments focus on increasing the ability of each Investee to achieve their mission and include cash grants, skilled volunteers, professional consultants, leadership development and management training opportunities.

A Commitment to Shared Principles:

Engaged Venture Philanthropy. Partners invest time, expertise and money in nonprofits. They seek collaborative relationships with nonprofits that last for at least three years.

Entrepreneurial Spirit. Partners use innovative approaches to achieve leveraged results in their nonprofit partnerships and communities. They delegate decisions, resources, and authority to those closest to the work.

Philanthropic Education.  Partners educate themselves and become informed, effective, lifetime philanthropists. Ongoing individual philanthropy is catalyzed through hands-on experience and education.

Community and Collaborative Action. Partners believe in the power of collective, self-organized effort. They encourage and maintain highly participatory, Partner-driven organizations that use non-hierarchical communications and operating practices. SVPs support an open exchange of knowledge and lessons learned, and avoid partisan, religious or political activities.

Mutual Respect. Partners respect the expertise of community nonprofit organizations. They form close working relationships with organizations where Social Venture Partners are mutually vested in the nonprofit’s success.

Accountability and Results. Partners are mutually accountable to each other, their Investees (grant recipients) and community. They achieve and document measurable results, both in their own work and through their nonprofit partnerships.