The Follow the Money campaign is supported by social sector heavyweights including NCVO, NAVCA, Social Enterprise UK, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, Locality, Responsible Finance, Big Society Capital, Barrow Cadbury Trust, ShareAction, CAN, Clinks, the Finance Innovation Lab, Good With Money, The Ethical Company Organisation and Ethical Consumer.
The campaign, launched a decade after the global financial crisis, will see 38 of the charities and social enterprises supported by Charity Bank loans open their doors to showcase how money saved with an ethical provider can have a positive impact on society.
It comes as research, published by Charity Bank, revealed that 7 in 10 people agree that charities should invest their savings and investments ethically. And more than half (57%) said they prefer to buy from businesses that act ethically.
Charity Bank is now calling on charities, businesses and individuals to question how their savings are currently used. It’s asking them to consider whether that money could go beyond simply earning a fair return and be channelled into the social sector to help make a positive contribution on society.
Edward Siegel, Charity Bank’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s easy to dismiss the possibility of achieving a social return as well as a financial return on your investments but saving ethically offers the chance to do both.
“By channelling money into charities, social enterprises and social businesses, your money is used as a force for good. It empowers these organisations to grow, innovate and build upon the services and support they provide to their beneficiaries.”
One charity that has already put its money where its values are, is Sussex Lantern which provides support and care to people with disabilities across the South East. The charity recently decided to move its savings of £85,000 from a high street bank to Charity Bank’s same day notice account.
Gloria Wright, a Trustee at Sussex Lantern, has thrown her support behind Follow the Money. She said: “The idea of our savings being invested ethically, and the ethos of lending to charities, is very important to us. We don’t have a specific ethical investment policy because we believe that everything you do should be ethical if you are running a charity. As far as I’m concerned behaving ethically should be part of the everyday high standards Sussex Lantern pertains to.”
Follow the Money, now in its 10th year, takes Charity Bank savers to see for themselves how their money is being used to support charities and social enterprises. This year’s 38-stop tour, which corresponds with Good Money Week (29th September – 5th October), started at the beginning of September and will run until October 5th.
Support from the social sector
Follow the Money has received widespread support from the social sector community.
Andrew Croft, Chief Executive, CAN, said: “It is possible to have a positive impact on society whilst also being business-minded. Charity Bank was instrumental in CAN’s purchase of our first CAN Mezzanine building with a loan. This has prevented hundreds of social sector workers from being gentrified out of core London markets as commercial prices have rocketed.”
Anna Laycock, Executive Director, the Finance Innovation Lab, said: “We need to transform the way we see money: as Charity Bank and their customers demonstrate, our savings and investments are a powerful tool for social change. If you’re a charity or business that isn’t yet banking ethically, now is the time to explore how it could benefit your organisation as well as society. It’s time we all started to Follow the Money!”
Anne Fox, Chief Executive Officer, Clinks, said: “Charities and social enterprises need to be able to access funding and income from a range of sources to choose the best source of financing for their work to suit their mission. With less and more restricted central and local government funding social funding is becoming increasingly important. When people and organisations save and invest with a social bank, the finance can support charities and social enterprises to innovate, grow and become sustainable, helping them to be more impactful – changing more lives and communities”.
Clem McCulloch from ShareAction, said: “Millennials are driving the green revolution, demanding financial products that are good for their pocket but don’t undo all their efforts to live ethically. We all want to know how to make an impact, and where you save can make a big difference – moving your pension to a sustainable fund or picking an ethical bank account can be many times more effective than, for example, taking shorter showers.”
Erica Cadbury, Chair of Barrow Cadbury Trust, said: “At the Barrow Cadbury Trust we aim to use all of our assets in a responsible way and aligned with our mission. That’s why we invest capital in, and deposit some of our cash with, Charity Bank. We know that this recycles the money for a wide range of useful social purposes and hence touches the lives of thousands of people. The more charities which choose to do the same, the more good work can be supported.”
Jennifer Tankard, Chief Executive, Responsible Finance, said: “Responsible finance providers like Charity Bank demonstrate that doing good and making sound business decisions are not mutually exclusive. By saving money with Charity Bank you can build your own nest egg while helping borrowers to improve lives.”
Karl Wilding, Director of Public Policy and Volunteering at NCVO, said: “It’s fantastic to see charitable organisations opening their doors to show the real-life impact that loans from ethical financial providers have on our communities. It’s thanks to the businesses, charities and individuals that choose to save their money with ethical banks, such as Charity Bank, that support can be provided to organisations that need it.”
Kat Alexander, from The Ethical Company Organisation, said: “The Ethical Company Organisation encourages charities, businesses and individuals to question how their savings are currently being used and consider ethical alternatives.”
Lucy Findlay, Managing Director of Social Enterprise Mark CIC, said: “We are delighted to support the Follow the Money campaign. We encourage fellow social enterprises, as well as charities, other businesses and individuals to question how their savings are currently being used and to consider ethical alternatives, such as those offered by Charity Bank.”
Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK, said: “We are delighted to support the Follow the Money campaign from Charity Bank and encourage social enterprises, charities, businesses and individuals to get behind it. Through channelling their savings to a social bank, social enterprises can effectively double their impact – using their reserves to further grow and support the social enterprise movement. The public is increasingly demanding more from businesses, using their spending power to support those which act ethically. This campaign shows how it is not only the money you spend but also the money you save which can be used to build a fairer, more equitable world.”
Rebecca O’Connor, co-founder of Good With Money, said: “Our money does not exist in a vacuum – it does something in the real world, whether we are aware of it or care about it or not. Finding out how banks and other providers use our money can be fascinating and can totally change the way we think about our financial choices. Money has power. Where you put your money need not just be about finding the highest interest rate or lowest premium, it can be about empowering yourself to make a meaningful difference to other people and the planet.”
Rob Harrison, co-editor of Ethical Consumer, said: “Charity Bank is one of the growing number of ethically-focussed companies that are now helping consumers’ money make a real difference.”
Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive, Locality, said: “Everyone can help unlock the power of community by moving their savings to an ethical bank. The Follow the Money campaign is a great way to open up new sources of income for community organisations, which are vital in the current unstable political and financial environment. The campaign is a perfect opportunity to make sure we’re all doing our bit to build a fairer society.”
*An online survey of 4,000 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+) carried out between 27th February and 6th March 2018 by Opinium on behalf of Charity Bank. The results have been weighed to nationally representative criteria.