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Not for profit companies, charitable organizations, social enterprises and co-ops are increasingly using social finance to support their operations.  These types of organizations often have large and engaged supporters and followers who want to provide support beyond just donations and purchasing product.   Social Finance is a growing tool that allows people to investment in organizations that are important to them while earning a return.  Such investors are also known as Impact Investors. 

Organizations seeking to raise money through social finance, however, need to provide investors with a well thought out business plan to justify supporters taking the financial risk of investing in them.  Financial regulatory authorities have had to strike a balance between the need to protect investors while allowing financially unsophisticated organizations from expending undue amounts of money in preparing bulky offering documents and high legal fees.  

Social finance tools can include micro-finance, social impact bonds, community bonds and crowdfunding.  Through these types of investments, investors can earn money while supporting worthwhile causes.  Examples of organizations that raise money through various types of social finance include affordable housing suppliers, social service agencies, shared-space incubators and solar power generators. 

LAC & Associates can work with you in the following areas:

Ø  Develop your business case for social finance borrowings.

Ø  Prepare a detailed offering memorandum, using our memorandum template, so that investors have a clear understanding of the nature of the investment, including the risks. 

Ø  Meet any required regulatory hurdles, including those from securities commissions.

Ø  Develop strategies for implementing Social Impact Bonds including analysis of potential cost savings and measuring techniques.

Ø  Obtain RRSP and/or TFSA eligibility.

Ø  Develop your marketing campaign to attract investors.   

Contact LAC & Associates to discuss your organization’s needs and whether social finance is an appropriate tool for you.

Key social finance structures are:

Ø  Community Bonds – Community bonds are typically interest bearing and have a term of 3-5 years or longer.  Investors take the risk of the issuing organization and their ability to repay the debt on time.   These bonds are typically used to fund projects that are expected to be profitable or as a substitute for traditional asset backed loans such as bank mortgages.

Ø  Social Impact Bonds – These bonds are guaranteed by an outside party, typically a government and are project related.  An organization develops a program to address an ongoing social problem.  If the cost of the proposed solution is lower than the typical cost of dealing with the social issue, a government will support the bond.  The government will only pay out if the project is successful and saves the expected costs. Investors are therefore taking the operating risk of the sponsor and government payment risk. Examples include: the development of comprehensive programs to reduce recidivism; and the use of social housing to increase employment, lower criminal costs, etc;  Social impact bonds are still only used in Canada on a limited basis.

Ø  Crowdfunding:– Donation/Pre-selling –  This type of crowdfunding involves seeking donations from your supporters or pre-selling a commercial product or giving gifts to your supporters. There are no regulatory issues associated with this type of crowdfunding.  If you have charitable status, you can issue tax receipts to your supporters.

Ø  Crowdfunding: Equity/Debt – Since you are raising risk capital with this type of crowdfunding, you need to be on-side with the relevant security commission in the province in which you are raising funds.  Security commissions need to balance investor safety with the ease of capital raising. Traditionally, only available to wealthy (accredited) investors, rules are slowly changing to allow anyone to invest in equity/debt crowdfunding.  You need to be aware of the current rules in each relevant province.