The Best Newsletters for Philanthropy News

The world of philanthropy is always evolving, and our team is inspired each day by the tremendous giving that is taking place across the globe. From families and entrepreneurs lining up to give a majority of their wealth away through the Giving Pledge, to the boom of online giving platforms being modernized and democratized, to open source emerging as a new form of  philanthropy, there’s a lot to keep up with and celebrate. The many advances in the practice of giving back have opened the doors for new givers, both large and small, who are supporting nonprofits that are changing the world.

At the Case Foundation, we want to empower people to use their time, their talents and their treasures, and the first step to doing so is understanding the field. We are often asked how we stay up-to-date on the news across the sector, so we’ve compiled a list of newsletters we read each week that will bring you up to speed on all things philanthropy.

  1. Philanthropy News Digest from Foundation Center is a weekly news digest of the top philanthropy news. Sign up here.
  2. Inside Philanthropy has the top news in who’s funding what, and expert commentary on the philanthropy world. Sign up here.
  3. Future of Philanthropy from Fast Company has weekly updates on the individuals, groups, ventures and tactics leading the way in philanthropy. Sign up here.
  4. Philanthropy Today from the Chronicle of Philanthropy is a daily roundup of the news in the nonprofit world. Sign up here.
  5. The NPQ Newswire from Nonprofit Quarterly has a rundown of the latest events and trends on fundraising, philanthropy, nonprofit board governance and nonprofit management. Sign up here.
  6. SSIR Now is Stanford Social Innovation Review‘s weekly roundup of their top news stories covering the world of social change. Sign up here.
  7. Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy’s newsletter covers philanthropic, foundation and changemaking news with a focus on the next generation of innovators. Sign up here.
  8. Causeartist shares news in social impact with a focus on socially conscious consumerism. Sign up here.
  9. The Daily Good is a daily digest from Good Magazine that shares the top news geared towards next generation conscious consumers. Sign up here.

With these great newsletters, you can be better informed as a practitioner and as a philanthropist just by checking your email. And if you’re interested in the news on our other movements, check out my roundup of Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing newsletters.

New Research Shows Impact Investments are Living up to Great Expectations

This post was contributed by Steven Rodriguez, intern at the Case Foundation.

The Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania recently released a study called Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investments. It included 53 impact investing private equity funds and revealed exciting data for those who are eager to know how these investments can and do perform compared to market benchmarks. According to this research, there is evidence that market rate returns for mission-aligned investments are, in fact, possible*. While the impact investing market remains relatively small, there are active investors who do not think doing good should mean sacrificing returns. For these market-rate-seeking impact investors, the new Wharton report should come as very good news!

As Kate Ahern from the Case Foundation explained during a recent webinar, Everything you Need to Know About Impact Investing (In 1 Hour!), investors can approach the sector with a range of financial and social impact return expectations—from a sector first focus, to blended returns, market rate or even impact alpha. While the WSII research focused on investments seeking market rate returns, something worth noting in the findings is evidence that mission-aligned exits led to even greater performance than non-mission aligned exits. Additionally, Wharton found that “concessionary financial returns were not required to preserve the social or environmental effect of impact investments.”

This report provides evidence that investment managers can align impact goals with financial expectations without sacrificing performance. According to an article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Wharton Finance professor, Chris Geczy, who supervised the research, said, “It represents an exciting initial advancement in our ongoing social impact research agenda.”

While the data demonstrates favorable outcomes for impact investing and for fund managers seeking market rate returns, it is important to keep complexities associated with various return expectations in mind. As Professor Geczy explained, “The industry includes distinct market segments with very different social and financial value propositions. One must be very careful not to generalize the performance of the market rate-seeking segment of funds that we studied to the entire, multidimensional industry.” It is important to remember the spectrum of opportunities available for the diverse impact investing community, from foundations making below-market Program Related Investments (PRIs) to early stage venture firms making direct investments in companies, like Happy Family, that generated huge returns from a successful exit.

The Wharton report is one of a growing number of similar research projects focused on the financial viability, competitive performance, risk and expectations of impact investments, particularly fund investments. One additional example that appeared earlier this year is a report from the GIIN and Cambridge Associates, Introducing the Impact Investing Benchmark, a study of 50 impact funds launched after 1998. The study found that these funds delivered returns comparable to other, non-impact seeking funds.

We at the Case Foundation are excited to see the knowledge base continue to grow in this sector. We hope these reports will serve as support for more and better informed investment decision making that includes impact investments from the full range of asset classes, returns and risk profiles.

To learn more about getting started in impact investing you can also check out our updated Short Guide to Impact Investing!

*The financial performance of the funds studied were benchmarked against the Russell 2000, an index that measures the performance of small capitalization companies (between $300 million and $2 billion), along with other indexes and found comparable results.