Investments into social enterprises and charities - December 2018

The latest figures (December 2018) now capture over 3,600 commitments to invest into social enterprises and charities totalling £2 billion.


Since the last deal level data release in the first half of 2018, there has been an additional £160 million worth of commitments across 276 charities and social enterprises. The remaining growth was primarily driven from contributors providing new historical deal level data.

We note that this is not a complete set of all social investment activity in the UK, but a voluntary collaborative effort between Big Society Capital and generous collaborators. We’d like to thank all of our contributors on this release.

Use the tableau below to explore the data set. In particular:

  • ‘Who?’: Who has contributed to the deal level data? What outcome areas, beneficiary groups, are they focused on? What are the legal forms or asset lock of these deals? What financing mechanisms do these contributors invest into charities and social enterprises by?
  • ‘Charities & Social Enterprises’: Which charities & social enterprises have received investment? What legal forms are they? What outcome areas or beneficiary groups do these charities and social enterprises focus on?
  • ‘When’: What new deals are there? Who contributed to these deals and what are the trends over time? What has been the focus of these investments over time?

The majority of investment activity in the second half of 2018 by size is comprised of bank lending (£108 million) by Charity Bank, Unity Trust Bank and Triodos Bank across 103 charities and social enterprises with a median investment of £505 thousand. The remaining £52 million of H2 2018 activity is spread across 173 charities and social enterprises with a median investment of £52.5 thousand – this includes £26 million of loans through Social Investment Scotland (median size  of £43 thousand) and £4 million of loans through the social investors who are delivering the Access Growth Fund (median size of £40 thousand).

A core aim of this data set is that all charities and social enterprises are classified as having a primary outcome area and beneficiary group as per the Outcome Matrix, to show us how social investment is being used. We have previously completed a data dive looking into the revenue sources and business models used by charities and social enterprises. This can help us see where social investment is appropriate and where we can deliver the greatest impact.

The top three outcome areas by count in the current data set are employment, training and education; physical health; housing and local facilities. By value the top three are physical health; housing and local facilities; arts, heritage, sports and faith. These differ depending on the contributor.

In our previous deal level data summaries we also included a ‘Where?’ tab which showed which areas of the UK have received investment. We have removed it from this iteration as we will be releasing a deep dive specifically focussed on this in the coming months which will delve into further opportunities for place-based social investment in the UK. In the meantime you can see Big Society Capital's map of charity and social enterprise data.

It is worth noting that there are still plenty of ‘nulls’ in this data set where data has not been provided (e.g. outcome areas has 32% nulls, beneficiary groups has 56% nulls). Reducing these nulls and providing unique identifiers (company numbers and/or charity numbers) will increase the usefulness of this dataset dramatically for decision-making purposes. 

For a comprehensive estimate of the size and composition of social investment in the UK, please see our 2017 Market Sizing data. An updated estimate up to the end of 2018 will be released over this summer. We hope you find the Deal Level Data a useful resource whether you are a social investor or a social enterprise raising investment. The next release of the deal level data will be for the first half of 2019, and will be published this autumn.

We are going to do some more work over the coming months on refreshing the business models used. If readers have any other ideas of how this dataset can be leveraged for greater use we’d love to hear them – please email Nick Benton at: or Joanna Tam at:

The next release of the deal level data will be for the first half of 2019, and will be published this autumn. You can also access the H2 2018 deal level data set itself.