Getting to the Heart of TBIF’s Social Value

I finally bid farewell to the team at the Big Issue Foundation a few weeks back, since which time I’ve been tinkering away at my final report. I’d wanted to get all my ideas nailed down before blogging my final post, hence why this one is coming a little late.

I had originally set out to calculate The Big Issue Foundation’s social return on investment, as explained briefly in my previous post. I started at TBIF with practically a layperson’s knowledge of their operations, being little more than an admirer of the magazine and its ethos. But over the course of the five or so weeks I spent working there, my understanding of how it functions and where it creates its social value developed greatly.

Greetings from sun-kissed Vauxhall!

Long may the weather continue!

Week four is well underway here at the Big Issue Foundation and the project is coming along. I wish I’d written a little more sooner, it’s evolved a great deal since I first arrived and I don’t quite where to begin. I’ve still got a few more weeks before I need to log out for the final time, so I’ll start from the top, lay out the basics, and (hopefully) catch up before the end.

Speaking broadly, the nature of the third sector is changing.

Charities are becoming more businesslike. They are learning the lessons of the private sector and applying to their own to cut costs and grow impacts.

An eventful eggs-perience…

It’s been just over a week since I started here at the Big Issue Foundation and already I’m starting to feel at home! I couldn’t have hoped for a more welcoming atmosphere that stands in stark (and pleasantly surprising) contrast to some of the places I’ve interned before.

And what an eventful week it’s been! I’ve met with people from across the organisation, in distribution, fundraising and Big Issue Invest. To a man, everyone has been lovely.

But one in particular sticks in the mind. On my second day here, I was introduced to a former vendor now working as a cycle courier, an exuberant character called Dean.

Clock ticking ever closer…

I’m currently sitting in a café in Vauxhall, counting down the minutes until I start my placement at the Big Issue Foundation. The pre-first day nerves setting my mind to run wild, publishing my first post to the blog seemed like a welcome distraction…

I imagine most of you will recognize the Big Issue. Having thousands of vendors on streets across the UK each week have turned it into one of the country’s most trusted and recognizable social enterprise brands. What you might not know is that it’s actually split into three arms: the magazine, the foundation and the social investment vehicle.