What kind of organisations do you support?
We support all types of organisation, including registered charities, social enterprises, CICs, and for-profit companies where social purpose is explicit and core to the mission. We support both established organisations and start-ups. Legal structure and maturity are of limited relevance. We’re more interested in what the organisation does and how it does it.
What do you look for in new partners?
We refer prospective Impact Only partners to the “Our Values” section of this website <<insert hyperlink>> as a clear indication of what we look for when we are considering a new investment.
Do you accept unsolicited applications?
No, Treebeard Trust does not accept unsolicited applications. We are a small team of less than one full-time staff, and we do not have the capacity to process unsolicited proposals. We are also innately proactive, and prefer to identify new partners through our own investigation.
What are your criteria for financial investments?
Many of the criteria are the same as for Impact Only. We look for strong leadership, innovation and potential for real transformation. We also look for a commercial model that is robust and, preferably, scalable. We’re interested in organisations that drive social impact through their business model, rather than as a by-product. We’re open-minded about which sectors they operate in, and have already invested across many (including healthcare, food, energy and environment, employment, leisure, financial inclusion, residential and commercial property). We source financial investments through our own networks. As with Impact Only investments, we do not accept unsolicited applications.
What size of investment do you make?
Our Impact Only investments have typically been in the £10,000 to £15,000 range, although as we become more focused it is likely that we make some larger sized investments in partners who are operating in the sweet spot of our mission and values. Our financial investments are larger, ranging from £20,000 to £250,000, depending on their risk profile. We aim to make long term investments and work with partners across a number of years, however we will also fund short-term pilots.
Do you make investments at any time of the year?
Yes, we are flexible in our approach. Trustees tend to meet three times a year, and as such we often make the investments around this time, but we are by no means restricted to this and the Director will make investment proposals to the Trustees at any time of year.
FOR CURRENT PARTNERS
How do I re-apply for funding or investment?
There is no formal re-application process for Impact Only Partner renewals or for follow-on investments. We do not expect a bespoke end of year report (see more on reporting below). The Director will look to meet with the partner’s leadership in the fourth quarter of the investment year, to review progress, expenditure, strategic or programmatic changes and to look ahead at plans (including fundraising) for the coming year. The Director will then put forward a renewal proposal to the Trustees for their consideration. If we feel that the overall mission and core values of a partner remain in line with our own, and are satisfied that there is no organisational risk that would make renewal unlikely or impossible for us, it is likely that we will continue to provide support.
Will the Trust accommodate changes to the use of my investment?
As the majority of our Impact Only Investments are core or unrestricted, our partners have considerable flexibility as to the use of our funding. We do require that partners communicate significant changes to expenditure plans however. For restricted investments, we will consider changes of use, and would request that the partner contact us about this at the earliest opportunity to discuss further.
Will the Trust accommodate changes to the outcomes tied to the original investment?
The Trust is as concerned with the journey, learning and ultimate objective of an organisation or programme as it is with the outcomes. We find that immovable milestones and outcomes can be restrictive and hinder innovation, learning and course-correction. We certainly will not request outcomes tied to our investment. As such we consider changes to the outcomes (and deliverables, milestones etc) of the organisation or programme we are investing in, but would ask for an open conversation at the earliest point about this.
What are the reporting requirements of my investment?
We are happy to receive relevant impact and funding reports that our partners have prepared for other purposes, but we do not require written bespoke reports. We meet with our partners in the fourth quarter of an investment year for a review meeting, and to look ahead at the coming year. We like these meetings to be as open and straightforward as possible. We will ask partners to produce certain documents prior to the year-end meeting, including latest annual report and accounts, latest management accounts and budget for the coming year. Outside of the year end meetings, we seek to meet with partners or speak on the phone once or twice across the year to keep informed about progress, challenges, successes, and any key updates or changes. We may request certain non-public documents should we feel that is useful or necessary (for example strategy documents).
Should I inform the Trust of changes to my organisation, whether or not they relate to the investment?
Yes, we ask that partners inform us as soon as possible of any material developments, in particular funding crises, mergers or changes to leadership, whether or not this directly affects our particular investment.
Should I publicise the Treebeard Trust’s investment, and how?
We have no set requirements for publicising our support, but we are more than happy for you to mention this on your website or printed materials. Please do not hesitate to contact the Trust should you require use of our logo.
What other support can I request from the Trust?
We aim to support our partners as broadly as we can, beyond just financial support. Please let us know if you require support with networks, fundraising, funder endorsements, or any other matter where you feel we may be of assistance. Our capacity is limited (one part-time employee), but we will do what we can to help.