Connecting Supply and Demand for Impactful Jobs

As Millennials are entering the work force, both demand and supply for jobs with social and/or environmental impact has increased tremendously. Similar to consumers who are increasingly seeking out fair trade labels and lead certifications, young job seekers today are screening their prospective employers for value alignment. Moreover, the younger generation is redefining the very nature of work, demanding more flexibility with many people choosing to work on a freelance basis and juggling several projects at the same time. Considering that by 2015 Millennials will constitute 75% of the global workforce and by 2020 freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the full time workforce, companies are taking note of these trends and are changing the way they do business to retain and recruit top talent.

As several recent studies point out, Millennials are increasingly interested in social and environmental issues and this is reflected in their expectations from businesses. In fact, the 2014 Deloitte Millennials Report indicates that 63% of Millennials donate to charities and 43% actively volunteer. The same survey reveals nearly 50% of Millennials want to work for a business with ethical practices. They believe business can do more to address society’s challenges of resource scarcity (68%), climate change (65%) and income inequality (64%).

These larger societal trends are translating into what younger people consider important when choosing jobs. The 2012 Net Impact Survey results show that “employer has similar values” was ranked high by both workers (67%) and graduating students (74%), followed by “contribution to society” and “make a better world”. The same survey reveals that job satisfaction is also significantly higher among those employees that have the opportunity to make a direct social and environmental impact by a 2:1 ratio. Similarly, two-thirds of graduating university students report making a difference through their next job is a priority and 45% of students say they would take a pay cut to do so.

As demand for impact jobs grows, so do opportunities to hone the necessary skills. Currently, more than 30 business schools in the U.S., Canada and England offer graduate coursework on social entrepreneurship. Many business and public service schools have well-established centers for social innovation, social entrepreneurship and impact investing that provide their students with both academic and hands-on training to succeed in impact investing and social entrepreneurship sectors.

Responding to these emerging  trends, employers are changing the way they do business and are creating more jobs with social and environmental impact. Corporations are changing their operations to become more sustainable. Some businesses go even further and structure public-private partnerships to directly affect certain causes. For example, Nando’s, a South African restaurant group, and Coca Cola launched social impact bonds to fight malaria in Africa. This trend towards greater sustainability and social impact among businesses is evidenced by a growing number of B Corporations. There are now more than 1,000 B Corps from 33 countries and over 60 industries. The Wall Street Journal explains that “more companies are touting the B Corp logo, a third-party seal of environmental and social credentials, to attract young job seekers who want an employer committed to both a social mission and the bottom line.”

It is clear that both supply and demand for impact jobs is there. However, there is a lack of information on both sides to effectively connect job seekers and employers. There is a need for a crowdsourcing platform for impact jobs that would enable companies to connect and communicate easily with pre-vetted professionals to complete a given project. Similar crowdsourcing platforms abound in sectors such as IT, sales, fashion, and translations.  For example, Lionbridge Enterprise Crowdsourcing focuses on helping brands increase their international market share and offers 140,000 fully screened crowd workers in 102 countries. Such a platform enables employers to compete for top talent and set competitive pay while reducing the costs of hiring and training new fulltime employees. Job seekers would be able to shop for meaningful projects matching their area of interest and their desired level of flexibility. This may be a way to harness current momentum, engage more people in purposeful projects and multiply social and environmental impact.

by Jenna Nicholas, Toniic Fellow

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Better Ventures Startup School

Are you a technology startup solving a big and important problem?  Are you embarking on a minimum viable product and planning to raise capital in the future?  If so, you may be a great candidate for Better Ventures Startup School, based at Impact Hub Oakland and sponsored by Vodafone Foundation.  The quarterly program consists of six interactive workshop sessions with a focus on Customer Development, Fundraising & Pitching, and networking with other entrepreneurs.  Register here for our kickoff sessions on Thursday, November 20th and Thursday, December 4th.  For more information or to apply for our next cohort beginning in January, visit

Toniic Announces Support from Omidyar Network

San Francisco, USA and Mumbai, India (August 18, 2014) – Toniic – a global network of over 120 action-oriented impact investors – is pleased to announce the financial support of philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network. Toniic increases the velocity of money and services into impact investing to address global challenges. The Omidyar Network grant will be used to support Toniic’s global expansion and operations.

Led by Stephanie Cohn-Rupp and Shalaka Joshi, Toniic’s presence spans more than 21 countries, where its members have invested millions of dollars in support of social ventures. Toniic’s members commit to discover, evaluate, nurture, and invest in entrepreneurs, enterprises, and funds that promote a sustainable economy.

Omidyar Network’s funding comes through the firm’s impact investing initiative, which provides financial and human capital to strategically support organizations working to advance impact investing globally.

“The capacity building of impact investors is a crucial gap that needs to be addressed so that smarter capital can reach stronger enterprises more quickly. Toniic’s pioneering platform can help us unlock this capital by enabling investors to thrive in a community of learning and practice,” said, Paula Goldman, senior director of knowledge and advocacy at Omidyar Network. “We look forward to working with Toniic to continue to build and support the impact investing market worldwide.”

“We are delighted to be working with a forward-thinking, global group like Omidyar Network. Their support will channel more venture capital towards sustainable solutions to our world’s most pressing problems. Toniic is excited to play a leading role in PI supporting and democratizing impact investing globally,” said Shalaka Joshi, Toniic’s managing director for Asia-Pacific and chief investment officer.

Toniic is cross-sectoral and cross-country, and hosts over 50 social venture showcases every year. It is committed to democratizing impact investing across asset classes to eventually enable the entire investment spectrum – from crowdsourcing to ultra-high net worth individuals – to support social enterprises.

“This partnership will significantly strengthen our work as one of the largest global networks of high-impact investors. We are grateful for Omidyar Network’s support in enabling Toniic’s expansion, ” noted Toniic CEO Stephanie Cohn-Rupp.


GSF India


British Council

Next Billion: Interview with Stephanie Cohn Rupp

Sonen Capital’s 2013 Annual Impact Report

Foundations for Social Impact Bonds by Social Finance

Towards 100 Percent Impact: Do You PYMWYMIC?

by Liz Wilson

(originally published on the Huffington Post)

How can you align your intentions with actions?

This was one of the key questions that the Put Your Money Where Your Mouth (and Meaning) Is Community (PYMWYMIC) discussed at their annual Impact Days from 7-9th April in Amsterdam. The community of around 250 family foundation members, individual philanthropists, and investors gathered to assess how to link investment actions to meaningful impact.

Can you have 100 percent impact?

One hundred percent impact investment portfolios are possible, according to a keynote speaker Lisa Kleissner from the KL Felicitas Foundation. She challenged the PYMWYMIC participants to review, and if necessary change, the way in which they managed and spent their money, and that of the organisations they worked with. If 1 percent or 2 percent impact was achievable, then there should be no need to compromise on reaching a 100 percent impact goal.

A big barrier to achieving impact for Lisa and her husband had been convincing investment managers that ‘100 percent impact’ was a viable investment strategy. To that end, KL Felicitas Foundation had pioneered an open data approach to their investments, sharing financial information to have a positive demonstration effect. Working with partners Sonen Capital, the foundation published a ground-breaking report in 2013 detailing the financial performance of the foundation’s impact portfolio. A second report will be published in late 2014.

The Kleissners are not alone, and connect with other uncompromising impact investors through the action community for global impact investing Toniic and the ‘100 percent folks’. Their appetite for risk may seem significant, but Lisa is adamant that steady returns are there for all to access. The Kleissners unite ‘intention’ with strong and active ‘attention’ to their investments, and hope that their foundation’s work will provide a positive example to inspire others to act.

Agriculture for Impact?

In terms of impact investment opportunities, sustainable banker Triodos, and Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO led two separate sessions on the challenges, risks and solutions that are present in agribusiness deals. The overriding message was clear: this is a sector that calls for research, patience, and context-specific engagement. FMO summarised some of their primary considerations in assessing potential impacts:

What impact do you want to have?

Being clear on intention and objectives is vital. Impact is different in different contexts. For example, you achieve a very different outcome in different geographies and biophysical landscapes. The risks to manage in New Zealand will be very different to those in Tanzania.

What is the local view about impact?

Is your ambition for impact consistent with that of the local population? How do they perceive and value this intention? Community consultation and involvement is critical. For example, mechanisation might seem a no-brainer, but it might come at a cost of local jobs and traditional farming knowledge and techniques.

Have you considered the wider context?

Intention is not enough. Focusing on one specific issue, without considering the whole picture, might lead to obstacles and challenges later down the line. Agricultural impact investing can be messy and complicated. There may be trade-offs involved. You need to take a holistic approach. Quoting Abraham Maslow, a FMO colleague said,

If all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.

Impact investing in action

The Impact Days offered PYMWYMIC members the opportunity to put their learning and enthusiasm into action, by pledging support for one or more of 12 social entrepreneurs. Stichting DOEN offered €25,000 of top-up investment to catalyse pledges. The dynamism and energy of this group of entrepreneurs was a striking example of the explosion of high-quality and exciting investment opportunities that can contribute to 100 percent impact investing strategies.

PYMYWYMIC is celebrating 20 years of investing for impact, and the meeting paid tribute to the fact that they are part of a growing global movement of like-minded people who want to match their investing intentions with impact in a practical way. But as this space continues to expand, the pressure to understand impact is greater than ever. Quick polling of PYMWYMIC attendees showed that there was a wide variety of views as to which impacts are important for individuals and organisations.

As the impact investment community continues to enthusiastically grow, we need to ensure that equal, if not greater effort, goes into finding a common language to define impact. We must also research and develop more sophisticated tools to measure it. We can learn from and build on the frontier work that sector leaders such as PYMWYMIC and others have done. In many respects impact investing is just getting started; and the work to achieve impact at scale has only just begun.

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Announcing the release of the Spanish version of toniic’s acclaimed E-Guide to Early-Stage Impact Investing

Impact investing in early-stage enterprises, although challenging, can be extremely rewarding and potentially provide both financial and social or environmental returns. It allows investors to improve the lives of the poor or vulnerable—locally and globally—while providing a return on capital. Yet few comprehensive guides exist for investors.

To help navigate this opportunity, the Toniic Institute—in collaboration with Duke University’s CASE i3—has released a first-of-its-kind online primer, the “E-Guide to Early-Stage Global Impact Investing.” Production of the guide was made possible by a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation.

“Our members view early-stage impact investing as a critical pillar in a holistic investment strategy. Yet no guides currently exist for new or potential investors,” said Stephanie Cohn Rupp, CEO of Toniic, a global network of impact investors in more than 20 countries. “This publication was written specifically to make it easier for interested investors to deploy their capital in support of early-stage social enterprises, by sharing active impact investor stories and consolidating the established resources and organizations which support this space.”

Sourced from the experiences of the Toniic Network’s member investors, this e-guide is a fundamental reference for anyone seeking to understand how to successfully invest at the early stage for both a financial return and social or environmental impact. The guide includes:

  •  A brief overview of impact investing;
  •  A detailed “7-Step Framework”, based on feedback from global impact investors starting with developing your own investment strategy;
  •  Four case studies that explore enterprise development and the types of capital and resources accessed; and
  •  Regional guides that illustrate legal and practical challenges in six major regions across the globe, including lessons learned and peer contact information.

Elizabeth Littlefield, CEO and President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), on Toniic’s e-guide: “Toniic’s very valuable e-guide has the tools to start or enhance your investment strategy, whether your goal is to build value close to home or around the world.” Many experts in the sector of impact investing are endorsing the e-guide: Sir Ronald Cohen, Chairman of Big Society Capital, Jed Emerson of ImpactAssets, and the World Economic Forum to name only a few.

Co-author Cathy Clark, Director of CASE i3 at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, on early-stage impact investing: “Early-stage is a particularly important and rewarding time in the life of an enterprise for an investor to contribute both key capital and expertise. When a social enterprise is pre-revenue or just beginning to earn revenue, the groundwork is laid for the company’s customers, business model, impact thesis—or its theory of change about how it will create social value— and overall sustainability. This unique period holds tremendous potential for an investor to achieve impact.”

Zia Khan, Vice President, Initiatives and Strategy at The Rockefeller Foundation: “This e-guide from Toniic provides vital information to help those looking to invest in social enterprises that benefit the poor or vulnerable. The diverse case studies contained within this guide come from around the world, and demonstrate the power of layering grant and investment capital to propel the impact investing industry forward. These examples bring valuable perspective from those working on the frontline, and show impact investing in action.”

View the PDF report

About Toniic
Toniic is a global network of action-oriented impact investors – both individuals and institutions. We increase the velocity of money and services into impact investing to address global challenges. Our members commit to discover, evaluate, nurture and invest in entrepreneurs, enterprises and funds that promote a just and sustainable economy.

About Toniic Institute
The Toniic Institute is a 501(c)3 entity that manages Toniic’s work on research and advocacy in the impact investment field. Toniic Institute’s mission is to make relevant original knowledge and materials available for impact investors in order to broaden the field of impact investing and deepen understanding amongst impact investors and social entrepreneurs.

About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation aims to achieve equitable growth by expanding opportunity for more people in more places worldwide, and to build resilience by helping them prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. Throughout its 100 year history, The Rockefeller Foundation has enhanced the impact of innovative thinkers and actors working to change the world by providing the resources, networks, convening power, and technologies to move them from idea to impact. In today’s dynamic and interconnected world, The Rockefeller Foundation has a unique ability to address the emerging challenges facing humankind through innovation, intervention and influence in order to shape agendas and inform decision making. For more information, please visit

About Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business CASE i3
CASE i3’s mission is to establish a rich set of resources and activities for MBA students, entrepreneurs, investors, funders, academics and policymakers to explore and support the field of Impact Investing over its critical period of development over the next 5-10 years. CASE i3 is part of CASE (Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship), the award-winning research and education center based at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which promotes the entrepreneurial pursuit of social impact through the thoughtful adaptation of business expertise.