All Things Impact.

exploring how we finance social good

All Things Impact #3: Happy Thanksgiving

Brian WalshComment

 Hi friends,

As you shuffle off to spend time with loved ones over Thanksgiving, here are insights from across the spectrum of impact: effective philanthropy, impact investing (in the private markets), responsible investing (in the public markets) and a wildcard topic. 

Here are this week's four links worth your time:

1. Effective Philanthropy: As #GivingTuesday turns four, a look at how it grew

On the Markets for Good site, Lucy Bernholz explores the forces that helped make #GivingTuesday part of the fundraising landscape:

"Part of the success no doubt redounds to the simplicity of the idea – making giving a cool and social thing to do. Early planners understood the power of social media and collaboration, and made it as easy as possible for others to join in. The focus was on the idea and allowing anyone anywhere to brand themselves part of the movement. One of the key resources the coordinating partners have provided is branding collateral – then they have mostly gotten out of the way. As communities created tools or succeeded with certain practices the coordinators made it easy to share those ideas too."

As a bonus - and shamelessly self-promoting link - here is a post I wrote last year for #GivingTuesday defining "Great Giving" as giving: 1) with intention 2) with information and e) with others. 

2. Impact Investing: Geeks, MOPS, and Sociopaths & the "subculture" of impact investing

This link never mentions investing, let alone impact investing. Yet when I came across David Champan's fascinating post exploring the evolution of subcultures, I read it with an eye towards the evolution of impact investing as its own type of subculture, especially over the past decade or so. "Geeks" are comprised of both the creators who invent an exciting New Thing (i.e., "impact investing"), and the early fanatics who contribute energy to support the creators. This then draws some "MOPs" (members of the public) who are fans, but not fanatic fans and ultimately dilute the culture. This then leads the "sociopaths" to arrive and exploit the culture by figuring out how to monetize the MOPs.

I really ought to write a whole post exploring whether this phenomenon is happening in the impact investing space; for now, I'd welcome your reactions as to whether this model applies to impact investing.  
 
3. Responsible Investing: Replacing the acronym ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) with KWYO & KYC (Know What You Own & Know Your Customers)

In this LinkedIn post, Rob Lake searches for new models for thinking about how asset managers should think about responsible investing, "moving on from the concept of 'integrating ESG into their investments' - in the sense of bringing a new 'thing' in from outside and incorporating it into the way they invest. Instead, their starting point is who they are and how they want and need to invest: what their beneficiaries [editor: beneficiaries are the "asset owners" like pension fund participants and mutual fund investors] are entitled to in the form of their liabilities; what those beneficiaries want and expect in terms of social responsibility; and how the funds view their wider role in financial markets and in society."

4. Wildcard: Choose to be grateful. It will make you happier.

In this NY Times column, AEI president Aurhur C. Brooks reviews social science research that appears to demonstrate that acting grateful (even if you're not) can actually make you feel grateful: 

"It’s science, but also common sense: Choosing to focus on good things makes you feel better than focusing on bad things. As my teenage kids would say, “Thank you, Captain Obvious.” In the slightly more elegant language of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, “He is a man of sense who does not grieve for what he has not, but rejoices in what he has."

That's it for this week! As we rejoice in what we have, please send me any compelling links you discover in your own journeys across the web (even things like this gif of a fat cat who cannot be bothered by an adorable puppy who wants to play). 

Until next week - Happy Thanksgiving!
Brian