The Social Stock Exchange Arrives!

stock-exchangeI love quoting William Gibson saying that ‘the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed’, but that has recently come back to haunt me after writing a blog on the merits of a social stock exchange, and hoping one of our enterprising social agencies would start the ball rolling, as it is already up and running at socialstockexchange.com.

Tony Cross writes: “…the UK already has a Social Stock Exchange that is working with both impact businesses and charities to help them access capital markets for primary fund-raisings and also offer a secondary market facility through our agreement with ISDX. This is all conducted on a regulated basis.

“…with 44 member firms worth a collective £2.5bn, and having won a series of awards including one from Guardian Sustainable Business, I hope that you’ll agree that over the three years since we launched off the back of the G8 meeting, we’ve made great strides in building an exchange.”

It would, however, be great to have more charities participating alongside the social enterprises that seem rather more enterprising right now. There is also the fundraising connection I alluded to, which could help charities fund their growth and by offering a financial return help to secure funding not just in exchange for measured social impact but for a financial reward as well.

The understanding of bitcoin and block-chains for the sector is also developing apace. Tony Chapman writes: “I thought you would be interested in this new resource set up by CAF.” Recently published, it collates all the relevant information in one simple place. Furthermore, it contains the newest paper entitled ‘Block & Tackle’. The area includes such information as:

  • YouTube explanations of the technology
  • How Bitcoin can impact charities
  • The effects of Blockchain technology
  • How charity creation and regulation can be influenced with Blockchain

So, time now to look at what else may be coming down the line towards us or actually here someplace, lurking unnoticed till it produces huge sums and we all dive in – one eye, of course, firmly on the new regulators.

Talking of which, it was the huge pressure we placed on our agencies to hit our recruitment targets for new members and donors that seems to have got us into such trouble, whilst Avaaz, 38 degrees, change.org etc. beat us all too it by recruiting thousands of new people to both campaign and donate to maintain campaigning on everyday causes. Oh, we don’t do campaigning I hear you say, but perhaps you should if your beneficiaries are in real need, shouldn’t you be campaigning on their behalf and whilst you are about it growing your income and so your effectiveness too?

Through the huge amounts these sites are raising, often turning over millions in their early years, our potential supporters are telling us what they think we should do. Not just passively seek to ameliorate the situation we are working on but campaign for its change and in doing so bring thousands more people on board.

In these days of fractured dysfunctional politics, people are taking up their own campaigns and not leaving it to political parties to implement manifestoes or, more likely, ignore them when in power.

A last quote, this time from Andy Grove of Intel who said something like, “to survive, an organisation must change faster than the rate of change of its external environment” – that’s you, it’s your environment that is changing and fast!

John Baguley, CEO, IFC