Grassroots groups can more than triple social impact, research finds

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

Community and volunteer-led organisations in Dublin who choose social finance solutions could see a social return of investment nearly three and a half times the initial investment.

This finding comes from research based on social finance provider Community Finance Ireland (CFI).

Between 2016 and 2022, CFI supported 33 organisations in Dublin with a total loan value of just over €5m.

Based on a social value analysis undertaken by Rose Regeneration and the Rural Community Network, CFI has established that for every €1 spent in delivering projects on the island, local communities have seen a return on that investment of 3.42 times the amount.

Operating on a finance model similar to Credit Unions, Community Finance Ireland provides volunteer-led organisations such as sports clubs, faith-based groups, community development groups and social enterprises with tailored social finance loans to deliver social impact in their local communities.

“As the first all island Social Value Report, our team and clients can really see the multiplier effect played out in communities across the island every day,” said Dónal Traynor, CEO of CFI.

“If a community development group in Dublin were to invest in remote working spaces, for example, the ripple effect sees stronger social connections in that community, more money spent in local businesses, and a greater sense of belonging for individuals who might have previously worked in isolation at home or spent hours on a commute.

“You cannot underestimate the social impact of these changes, and the social value analysis carried out by Rose Regeneration and the Rural Community Network, via the Social Value Engine platform, demonstrates the return of investment which communities can expect.”

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