Social Venture Partners’ (SVP) donors are increasing their giving, giving more strategically, and expanding significantly their volunteer commitment to community causes and programmes. These are the main findings of the first comprehensive impact measurement study of SVP. Established in 1997, SVP is a network of more than 1,600 engaged donors who each contribute $5,000 annually. More than 100 children’s, educational and environmental non-profits are the current beneficiaries of the network’s efforts.
Survey results for Seattle (the initiative’s place of origin) show a 20 per cent median increase in annual giving among partners after they join SVP, while San Diego shows a 25 per cent increase. The survey also suggests that partners have become increasingly active in their communities since joining SVP. In Phoenix, for example, involvement with SVP is cited by almost 70 per cent of partners as the greatest influence on increased community involvement. Another significant finding is that donors to SVP are leveraging between $10,000 and $20,000 for the non-profits in which they invest through personal and business connections.
For their part, the non-profits surveyed report themselves highly satisfied with the relationship. According to Ruth Jones of SVP International, ‘they have received increased time, money and connections from SVP partners. As a result, their organizational capacity has been strengthened and the effectiveness of their programmes increased.’
SVPs provide a small number of non-profits in each community with unrestricted operational funding for up to five years plus targeted technical assistance and skilled volunteer time from partners. Through business and personal connections, partners leverage additional financial and in-kind resources for these non-profits. The model’s dual mission is to educate individuals to be well-informed, effective and engaged philanthropists and to invest time, expertise and money in innovative non-profits with the goal of strengthening the organizations. There are now 23 SVP organizations, 20 in the USA, two in Canada, and, most recently, one in Japan, SVP Tokyo.