Social investment appears to be a term that means different things to different people. It started with old-school philanthropy when some well-meaning (usually) men wanted to alleviate suffering of people begging on the streets in the late eighteenth century. I’ve no doubt that at an individual level early philanthropy eased individual suffering on a particular day and the philanthropist went away feeling a bit better about themselves. It’s no different when I give a few pennies to a homeless person by Norwich station today. Fundamentally though, it doesn’t change anything for the long term. Social entrepreneurs want to solve big problems like inequality and poverty, not provide handouts. Then Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) comes along and lots of big businesses and shareholders again get to do some good by making substantial contributions to third sector organisations who hopefully use them wisely. The issue with both of these is that they are top-down and short-lived. For more impact I like an approach that sees an ongoing partnership and shared outcomes. Let’s have business involvement in achieving those outcomes with a view to bringing about systemic changes in attitudes and ways of working. At Your Own Place we are now actively seeking social investors who get something back. They do this not just by being active agents in our social impact, but by bringing new skills and empathy to their own workforce through volunteering, broadening the skill sets of future employees – and we’ll allow them some good brand awareness too! Click here for more detail.