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Different is good. What makes SVP unique

Posted by SVP Vancouver
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Our distinctive model helps children and youth reach their full potential

It’s not always easy to give back to your community in an impactful way; to make the best use of your time, expertise, and resources. With more than 2,600 charities in Vancouver alone, how do you identify which ones are the most effective and have the potential to achieve the most impact? You have questions like: Does the charity use their funds wisely? Are their programs actually helping to solve a critical need? Can I leverage my time and talent to make a difference with with this organization? These questions have led 110+ philanthropists to SVP Vancouver.

Since 2001, SVP Vancouver has catalyzed positive impact in the lives of children and youth at risk through a unique venture philanthropy model that connects entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and professionals from all sectors to organizations doing amazing work in metro Vancouver. To date we’ve provided over $6 million in capacity building grants, while leveraging more than $16 million in non-financial support.

But what is our “secret sauce” exactly? We chatted with a number of engaged Partners to understand what motivates them to support and remain involved with SVP. Here’s what we learned…

Our giving model

impact graphSVP’s structure enables Partners to invest their philanthropic funds, knowledge and expertise in non-profits which have potential to become high-performing. Partner also have the opportunity to choose the frequency of these interactions.

Disrupting the traditional giving model, many of our Partners are much more hands-on and are presented with the opportunity to engage in many different ways.

According to SVP Partner Nick Bedford, “SVP has a good framework to find out who the most effective charities are. We’re not here to rescue organizations, but to help highly promising organizations become sustainable in the long run.”

The opportunity to establish relationships

DSC_0465SVP staff identifies opportunities for Partners to engage with current Investees (the non-profits), either on a one-on-one basis, or in a group setting. “What I like about our model is that it allows for Partners to create close relationships with Investees” expresses Cathy Brown, SVP Partner since 2002.

In addition to the one-on-one engagement with Investees, Partners have the opportunity to connect with each other, and share experiences and best practices. “The social aspect of our network is very important as it acts as a motivator for everyone involved, shares Greg Sullivan, SVP Partner since 2016. “At the same time, culture is an element that makes SVP stand out within this sector.”

“The real plus is the engagement — beyond giving out money,” states Dan Bowditch, SVP Partner since 2008. “Year after year I renew my commitment to SVP because I see the results and the impact among our Investees. It is gratifying to see that good things are happening.”

The opportunity to learn

DSC_0210Many of our Partners come to us with different ideas of what impact means for the non-profit sector. To foster a consensus around this and related concepts, we convene Partners at workshops, panel discussion, and other knowledge-oriented sessions to learn from experts and spur new ideas they can implement in their work with Investees.

Linda Louis, current Co-Lead Partner for SVP Investee ArtStarts described her experience: “Coming from a sociology background, not a business one, at first I wasn’t so sure, but I discovered I had valuable skills to share with our Investees. I was able to bring value to them.”

SVP relies on the expertise and commitment of its Partners to help Investees strengthen their organizational capacity and scale their impact. As our footprint in metro Vancouver increases, we need more people committed to act on their social impulses for the long haul. Are you in for the challenge?