10 Commandments of Impact Investing

From Geoff Wolley (of HuntsmanGay Capital Impact) keynote at the BYU Economic Self-Reliance Conference

1. Thou Shalt Not Underestimate the Amount of Time and Commitment Required to Be a Social Entrepreneur

2. Thou Shalt Not Save the World
Give yourself a reality check–try to get 10 people around you to change their minds/behavior…chances are 9 of them won’t. Be realistic.

3. Thou Shalt Know Thy Client or Topic
In general, we do a better idea of serving the “desperate poor” rather than the “poor but moving.” Pick a market and understand it, over time.

4. Thou Shalt Avoid Double Risk
Don’t try to create a new slice of the pie (category of expenses) for your client. Doing so doubles your work–you have to sell them the need for the service, then sell them on you as the best provider.

5. Thou Shalt Avoid Plans That Require the Client to Invest in Infrastructure
The poor operate on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. Adapt.

6. Thou Shalt Not Doubt Your Client’s Smarts
The poor know things intuitively, and understand those things to a level, that the rest of us will probably never figure out. Bridge the vocabulary divide and give them product they can sell.

7. Thou Shalt Not Become an Armchair Social Entrepreneur
Beware of constant “conferring”… set your own ratio of field work to conferences and guard it zealously.

8. Thou Shalt Love Risk…Just Not Stupid Risks
One word: Pilots. Don’t build a huge company before you prove that it will work on a small scale. Take risk in bite-sized pieces.

9. Thou Shalt Work Within the Culture, But Don’t Always Accept Its Ways
Prevailing wisdom isn’t always wise. If things are failing, make sure you really know why.

10. Thou Shalt Always Be Grateful to the BYU Economic Self-Reliance Center


2 responses to “10 Commandments of Impact Investing

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 10 Commandments of Impact Investing « Ventures -- Topsy.com

  2. SaraJoy you rock! I missed like half of this presentation and now I get to have all of it. Keep up the great work!

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