European Venture Philanthropy and Social Investment 2011/2012: The EVPA Survey


March 21, 2013

This month the EVPA released its second annual survey of European venture philanthropy (VP) and social investment. The survey collected data from 61 VPOs from July to September 2012.


Who knew that there were more than five dozen VP organizations in Europe alone? We didn’t and so we read and summarized the survey for you. The survey found that 753 people are employed by the organizations contacted for the survey, employing 13 people on average.


The size of teams dedicated to VPI activities is increasing. The average annual financial spend per organization increased in 2012 to EUR 5.2 million from EUR 4.1 million.

Key findings

  • Societal returns remain the primary focus, but more venture philanthropists are looking for a financial return (48% in 2011, compared with 38% in 2010) or are putting societal and financial return on an equal footing (25% in 2011, compared with 10% in 2010).


  • Use of tailored financing is evidenced by the significant increase in the use of equity and debt instruments, and in the variety of financing instruments. Debt and equity emerge as the most commonly used financing instruments, closely followed by grants.


  • European VP organizations are increasingly focusing on social enterprise as a target investee and are continuing to invest in small organizations with limited track records. This indicates they are taking their role as risk-takers very seriously.


  • VP is filling a market gap by focusing on early-stage social enterprises and non-governmental organizations with financing tailored to their needs, rather than aiming to achieve market rate returns. (Image source EVPA)
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