Infographic showing a snapshot of Calvert Foundation's investors. Click for the full view.

Investors Speak! 2013 Investor Survey Results

Last Year Calvert Foundation released our bi-annual investor survey to assess our investors’ interests, investment characteristics, and demographic information. The 260 who responded represent about four percent of our total community of 6,000 investors.

This year we also made a distinct effort to capture psychographic information by allotting investors more opportunities to respond in free form text fields. After reviewing the results, we captured what we heard in the following takeaways.

Investors value mission-aligned investments

"We invest with Calvert Foundation because we like to see money used for micro finance loans for the creation of small business development, which gives a hand up and not just a hand out to people around the world succeed and live independently." - Dave & Laurel King

86% of Investors rated the mission and positive benefits our Community Investment Note creates as important, very important or critical in their decision to invest.

More and more we see that investors want to find ways to harmonize their investment decisions with their values. In fact, socially responsible investment is a growing sector, and this includes community investing which has expanded significantly, growing 47 percent from 2010 to 2012 (US SIF). At Calvert Foundation we have found that by linking investors with values they care about, we are empowering them to create change in communities that are traditionally underserved and underrepresented.

Investors care about social issues!

According to our survey, Community Investment Note holders are interested in a wide range of social issues, including healthcare, child and family services, education, and affordable housing. The most popular issue areas were local community development, women’s empowerment and the environment with 59%, 61%, and 58% of survey respondents indicating their interest, respectively. Responding to this increased interest by investors in mission aligned investments, Calvert Foundation has developed number of initiatives, including the Women Investing in Women Initiative (WIN-WIN) and now Iconic Places, to help create pathways for investors who want to create deeper impact using their investment dollars. By creating opportunities of engagement for investors through the Community Investment Note in issue areas that include women’s empowerment, localized city development, and international development Calvert Foundation has been able to create more opportunities for underserved and underrepresented populations.

It is a fantastic way to directly be involved with issues important to me. -Kyle Denny

Missing Millennials

7 out of 260 survey respondent were between the ages of 18-25

Even though millennials (aged 18-25) only made up 2% of the overall survey respondents, there is significant potential for this group to lead the impact investing movement. Despite the common misconception that millennials don’t have money to pay for, well, anything, nearly 40% of all millennials make over $50,000 per year, and just about 1 in 10 earn over $100,000 per year (Forbes). Consequently, it is no surprise that the purchasing power of millennials is on the rise, and they aren’t just spending their earnings on fancy gadgets and vacations. In fact, according to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report 83% of all millennials donated to causes they care about in 2012 (The Millennial Impact) . Millennials have the opportunity to drive the impact investing movement, and impact investing institutions have an opportunity to engage this new generation with investment products that support causes they care about most.

Investors want to get involved

“I'd also be interested in any volunteer programs designed to use your current investors as cheerleaders to help spread the word about your investment vehicles and making these investments more available.” –Anonymous

60% of all surveyed community investors want to get involved in local impact investing events. Those of us who are practitioners in the industry have countless opportunities to convene each year. But where are the events for individual investors? Start local. Check out Calvert Foundation’s impact map. Start by filtering the map by region. Here you can find profiles of all of our borrowers and links to their websites where you can find out more information about events that are happening near you!

Another way to get involved locally is to join a local impact investing group. As the socially responsible investing (SRI) sectors grow, more universities and colleges are establishing SRI and impact investing clubs that sponsor summits, forums, and panel discussions open to the general public. If that is not an option for you check out where you can find groups in your area who are interested in impact investing.

Investors need options

Investing your money to make the world better. This should be the norm not considered an ‘alternative’ investment. -Brett Johnson

82% of survey respondents say that Calvert Foundation is doing a good job with providing investment options that interest them. More options to invest in things that matter most is an important value proposition for the impact investor, and the industry is responding to that demand. The impact investing space may be relatively small, but the number of direct impact investing institutions is growing. Funds like the TriLinc Global Impact Fund and Community Capital Management’s Impact Fund have created innovative investment tools that help investors successfully finance community development initiatives that have resulted in affordable homeownership, job creation, and health care facilities in communities all over the world. Calvert Foundation is also working to create innovative and accessible investment products that will spark socioeconomic change in communities and populations that need it most.

In 2013 our investors gave us a lot to think about - from new product development to areas of engagement to causes to consider. In 2014 we will roll out new initiatives that will respond to the interests of investors and create opportunity for communities in need. It is our goal this year to build more pathways for investors to impact communities that need economic and social development, and with the help of our investors we plan to create more measurable impact.