I am thrilled to write a blog post on launching a career in social finance. This was, after all, a space that I had been diligent about launching a career in back when I entered it in 2008 and is a topic that, hands down, I talk to more young people about than any other. So for a field like social finance that has expanded rather explosively over the past five years, why does it seem like young people are at a loss as to where to start and how to “get in”? To start with, the field of social finance is extremely ambiguous. The range of career paths, companies, models, geographies and impact sectors is large and as this sector has grown in popularity so have the number of companies, products and talent in the marketplace. Add the newness of the sector, jargon, metrics, certifications, degree programs, networks and associations on top of all of this and one can easily become overwhelmed, if not turned off of the space all together.
There is no doubt that momentum and knowledge about impact investing is on the global rise. Last year we saw record attendance at impact investment conferences around the world, and reports on impact investing released by major financial, business and academic players including J.P Morgan & the Rockefeller Foundation, Philips, Hager & North Investment Management, McKinsey & Company and Harvard University.
One of the key topics at conferences and in reports was identifying the types of investors putting their financial resources in products designed to create both financial and social returns. In May 2010, Hope Consulting released their report "Money for Good" which outlined six discrete segments of impact investors:
- Safety first
- Hassle Free
- Quality Organization
- Socially Focused
- Personally Recommended