We provide finance between £150,000 and £600,000 repayable over a term of up to five years.
We are looking for artistic, social and financial returns from our investments. We want to support arts and cultural organisations with ambitions to grow, achieve great artistic quality and have a positive impact on society.
Organisations applying to the fund will be supported through a process of due diligence to ensure their plans are sufficiently robust to repay the loan. We also want to understand how our investment will contribute to organisations’ long-term sustainability.
Organisations also need to demonstrate their commitment to artistic excellence and social impact. We want to understand what processes are put in place to review and improve the organisation’s artistic and social impact, as well as the extent to which the governance structure and management of the organisation ensures, protects and supports its artistic and social mission.
Below are some examples of the questions we will look to answer during the due diligence stage.
There can be benefits to using impact investment to finance your ambitions. Aside from sharing risk, social investors have experience of working with organisations like yours – they want to support the outcomes which are important to you.
Social investors often take an engaged approach with organisations they lend to, for example, providing additional expertise or introductions to new business opportunities. They can also offer networks, insights and experience that a commercial lender or bank could not provide.
Articulating how, and by how much, arts organisations benefit people’s lives is a relatively under-developed capability in the arts.
By focusing explicitly on the social impact of organisations and making this a requirement for funding, impact investment can help arts and cultural organisations improve the standards of evidence they collect to demonstrate their impact and enhance their impact measurement capabilities.
Supporting artistic excellence and social impact are as important to us as generating a financial return.
We are currently focusing on three areas of social outcomes: Health and Wellbeing; Youth and Educational Attainment; and Citizen and Community. When applying, you will need to show how your organisation works (or intends to work) in at least one of these areas.
By communities, we mean people defined as important to your organisation. These could include geographical communities or neighbourhoods, groups defined by age, ethnicity or sexual orientation or by disadvantage(s). (E.g. a deprived inner city or rural area, older people isolated at home, or children with disabilities).
Arts organisations have a long history of working in these areas, but many have room to improve how they demonstrate the change they create. Your organisation may well be already achieving impact in one of these areas.
We want to understand how and why your organisation works with the people it does, what impact you want to have and how our funds can help increase your impact.
Does the organisation have a clear and compelling artistic mission which is protected in its legal constitution?
Is there an artistic strategy or plan in place along with ambitious artistic goals?
Does the management and board of the organisation have the track record and the experience of leading, developing and delivering highly regarded artistic work?
How does the organisation collect evidence about its artistic performance and who from?
How does the organisation review its artistic output and who is involved in this process?
How does the organisation engage with the wider arts industry (e.g. Partnerships, collaborations, networks, forums)?
Does the organisation have a social mission [for some organisations, their social mission may not be articulated and protected by their constitution. In such cases, we want to work with organisations that can clearly articulate how their work links to target beneficiaries and their needs].
Do the management and board possess the track record and experience to lead and deliver the organisation's plans for social impact?
Does the organisation have a plan for social impact through its artistic programmes? How deliverable is it?
Is the organisation ambitious in how it wants to support beneficiaries and how many it intends to reach?
How does the organisation engage with its target beneficiaries in designing and reviewing its social activities?
Does the organisation have established methods on collecting evidence about its social activities? Who uses this information and how?
How are beneficiaries involved in this process?
Is there independent review or reporting on the organisation’s impact?
Is the proposed funding request appropriate in relation to the organisation’s scale?
Do the organisation’s plans show how the funds will be used and repaid?
Do the organisation’s plans show a need for the investment and clearly demonstrate how it will contribute to its long-term sustainability?
Does the organisation have sufficient skill and systems in place to manage the loan?
Does the organisation understand the key risks in the business plan and how to mitigate these?
Are the organisation's plans for sustainability compelling beyond the life of the loan?
Is the Board and Management committed to taking on loan?
Arts Impact Fund is an approved Reach Fund Access Point. The programme enables us to help arts and culture organisations looking for investment receive targeted support that addresses the specific challenges or barriers they face.
If your organisation needs additional support to become investment ready, we can refer you to apply for grant funding provided by Access – the Foundation for social investment.
We are listed on Good Finance, a website created to help charities and social enterprises navigate the world of social investment and understand the different funding available. It is a great resource for any arts and culture organisation new to repayable finance and wanting to explore if it is suitable for them.