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Journey to Impact: Unlocking Purpose through Social Finance – Imagine Canada Report

Social finance offers enormous potential to help nonprofit organizations address social issues. It can provide a new source of capital for organizations that typically rely on traditional funding, such as grants and donations. Check out Imagine Canada’s Journey to Impact: Unlocking Purpose through Social Finance Report (December 2023) below.


We invite you to read the report for additional findings and insights, as well as a glossary that aims to clarify terms and concepts associated with the social finance sector.

1. Motivations for Engaging in Social Finance. 
The main motivator for exploring social finance options is to diversify funding sources, access capital, and overcome challenges with traditional financing. The focus on social impact and sustainability drives organizations to seek tailored financial solutions and build collaborative partnerships – this is especially crucial for communities that face challenges in accessing financial products that align with their values. 

2. Barriers and Enablers of Social Finance. 
Limited financial track record, high transaction costs, and lack of accessible social finance products are factors that hinder organizations in their efforts to use social finance tools. Understanding and addressing these barriers are crucial for promoting inclusive and sustainable social finance practices. In contrast, a clearly defined social or environmental mission, visionary governance, impact measurement, and access to social finance products are all factors that facilitate the adoption, utilization, and success of social finance.

3. Hybrid Organizations Can Increase Organizational Resilience. 
Hybrid organizations, which integrate for-profit and nonprofit activities, have become a common approach. By combining social and financial objectives, organizations generate sustainable solutions that drive positive impact while ensuring financial viability. 

4. Role of Consultants. 
Intermediaries, such as consultants, play an important role in enabling organizations to navigate and adopt social finance, by providing expertise, conducting market research, facilitating impact measurement, building partnerships, and supporting policy development. 

two women in aprons, smiling at the camera


Nonprofit organizations engage in social finance to diversify funding sources, access capital, and overcome challenges with traditional financing models. The $755 million Social Finance Fund (SFF) launched by the federal government will make flexible financing more accessible than ever for charities, nonprofits, and social enterprises.

To better understand social finance and its benefits, explore real-life examples of organizations that have utilized it and shared their journeys. Delve into their stories here to gain insights from their experiences, lessons learned, and best practices.


In this December 11th episode, with guests Leena Yahia of Imagine Canada, and Rebecca Waterhouse of Raven Indigenous Impact Foundation, we explore examples of social finance repayable investment and dive into case studies of organizations that are using social finance to help them achieve their mission. Leena also mentions the Demand-Side Social Finance Info Hub that’s in development!

Listen & share! Don’t forget to check out the full episode list.

This episode is also available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and YouTube.