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Social Impact Investment Behavior in the Nonprofit Sector: First Insights from an Online Survey Experiment

Abstract

This study investigates the social impact investment behavior of private investors in a nonprofit setting. In particular, the influences of three effects—financial return, social impact, and age—on social impact investment behavior are tested in an online survey experiment. The study sample includes bank clients (N = 145) from Germany’s first and largest bank exclusively focused on social and ecological investments. The results with regard to the financial return effects are in line with for-profit research that social impact investors are willing to accept 1% lower financial returns. In addition, younger philanthropists are more likely to contribute part of their money to social impact investments. Further findings reveal that the perceived innovativeness of the project has a consistently positive effect on social impact investment behavior. People with certain profile characteristics (e.g., entrepreneurial spirits) also are more likely to participate in social impact investments.

Résumé

La présente étude enquête sur le comportement des investissements à incidence sociale des investisseurs privés dans le contexte du secteur sans but lucratif. Il se penche en particulier sur les incidences de trois effets, soit le rendement financier, l’incidence sociale et l’âge sur le comportement des investissements à incidence sociale dans le cadre d’une enquête en ligne. L’échantillon est composé de clients (N = 145) de la première et plus grande banque d’Allemagne exclusivement axée sur les investissements sociaux et écologiques. Les résultats relatifs aux effets du rendement financier s’alignent sur les recherches du secteur sans but lucratif voulant que les investisseurs à incidence sociale sont prêts à accepter des rendements financiers de 1% plus bas. Qui plus est, les philanthropes plus jeunes sont plus enclins à contribuer une part de leur fortune aux investissements à incidence sociale. D’autres découvertes révèlent que le caractère novateur perçu du projet a un effet en tout temps positif sur le comportement des investissements à incidence sociale. Les personnes affichant des caractéristiques données, dont l’esprit entrepreneurial, participeront aussi plus vraisemblablement à ce type d’investissements.

Zusammenfassung

Diese Studie untersucht das Social-Impact-Investment-Verhalten privater Investoren in einem gemeinnützigen Kontext. Insbesondere wird der Einfluss dreier Effekte—finanzieller Gewinn, soziale Auswirkung und Alter—auf das Social-Impact-Investment-Verhalten in einem Online-Umfrageexperiment getestet. Die Stichprobe in der Studie umfasst Bankkunden (N = 145) der ersten und größten Bank in Deutschland, die sich ausschließlich auf soziale und ökologische Investitionen konzentriert. Die Ergebnisse hinsichtlich der Effekte des finanziellen Gewinns entsprechen den Studien im gewinnorientierten Bereich dahingehend, dass Social-Impact-Investoren bereit sind, 1% niedrigere finanzielle Rendite zu akzeptieren. Des Weiteren sind jüngere Philanthropen eher bereit, einen Teil ihres Geldes in Social-Impact-Investments anzulegen. Weitere Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die wahrgenommene Innovationskraft eines Projekts einen durchweg positiven Effekt auf das Social-Impact-Investment-Verhalten hat. Darüber hinaus neigen Personen mit bestimmten Profilmerkmalen (z. B. Unternehmergeist) eher dazu, sich an Social-Impact-Investments zu beteiligen.

Resumen

El presente estudio investiga el comportamiento inversor con impacto social de los inversores privados en un escenario sin ánimo de lucro. En particular, se ponen a prueba las influencias de tres efectos—rendimiento financiero, impacto social, y edad—sobre el comportamiento inversor con impacto social en un experimento de encuesta online. La muestra del estudio incluye a clientes de bancos (N = 145) del primer banco más grande de Alemania centrado exclusivamente en inversiones ecológicas y sociales. Los resultados con respecto a los efectos del rendimiento financiero están en línea con la investigación con fines de lucro en el sentido de que los inversores con impacto social están dispuestos a aceptar rendimientos financieros inferiores del 1%. Asimismo, resulta más probable que los filántropos más jóvenes contribuyan con parte de su dinero a inversiones con impacto social. Hallazgos adicionales revelan que la innovación percibida del proyecto tiene un efecto consistentemente positivo sobre el comportamiento inversor con impacto social. También es más probable que las personas con determinadas características de perfil (por ejemplo, espíritu emprendedor) participen en inversiones con impacto social.

Chinese

本研究调查了私有投资者在非盈利环境中的社会影响投资行为。尤其是,使用网上调查试验测试了财务回报、社会影响和年龄的三种因素对社会影响投资的影响。研究样本包括德国第一家最大银行的客户 (N = 145),专注于社会和生态投资。财务回报的结果与社会影响投资者原因接受低1%的财务回报的追求利润研究一致。此外,更加年轻的慈善家更有可能为社会影响投资捐赠部分的金钱。进一步调查结果表明,项目的感知创新性一致积极地影响社会影响投资行为。具有某些特质(如企业家精神)的人群也更加可能参与社会影响投资

Japanese

本研究では、非営利組織の設立における個人投資家の社会的インパクト投資の行動を調査する。特に、社会的影響の行動における財務利益、社会的影響、年数の3つの効果をオンライン調査で実施した本研究のサンプルには、社会的かつ環境保護における投資に焦点を当てたドイツ初で最大の銀行の顧客(N = 145)が含まれている。財務利益効果に関する結果から、社会的インパクト投資家は1パーセント以下の財務利益を求めていることがわかった。さらに、若い慈善家は社会的インパクト投資に金の一部を寄付したがることがわかった。さらなる結果から、事業革新は一貫して社会的インパクト投資家の行動に肯定的な影響を及ぼすことがわかった。特定のプロフィールの特性(例えば企業精神起業家)もまた社会的インパクト投資に関与することがわかった。

Arabic

تدرس هذه الدراسة السلوك الاستثماري للأثر الإجتماعي للمستثمرين من القطاع الخاص في بيئة غير هادفة للربح.على وجه الخصوص، يتم إختبار تأثيرات ثلاثة تأثيرات—العائد المالي، الأثر الاجتماعي، والعمر—على السلوك الإستثماري للأثر الإجتماعي في تجربة إستطلاع الرأي على الإنترنت. تضم عينة الدراسة عملاء البنوك (N = 145) من أول وأكبر بنك في ألمانيا يركز حصرا” على الإستثمارات الإجتماعية والبيئية. تتماشى النتائج فيما يتعلق بآثار العائد المالي مع البحوث الهادفة للربح والتي تفيد بأن المستثمرين على المستوى الإجتماعي مستعدون لقبول عوائد مالية أقل بنسبة 1٪. بالإضافة إلى ذلك، من المرجح أن يساهم أصحاب الأعمال الخيرية الأصغر سنا” في جزء من أموالهم للاستثمارات ذات الأثر الإجتماعي. تبين نتائج أخرى أن الإبتكار المبتكر للمشروع له أثر إيجابي على السلوك الإستثماري للأثر الإجتماعي. من المرجح أيضا” أن يشارك الأشخاص الذين لديهم خصائص شخصية معينة (مثل الأرواح المغامرة) في الإستثمارات ذات الأثر الإجتماعي.

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Funding

The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship or publication of this article.

Author information

Correspondence to Jutta Schrötgens.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Translated case description of experiment (5% financial return and high impact scenario)

figurea

Appendix 2: Descriptive statistics on control variables

  α N M SD
Case characteristics
Perceived relevancy of the project   139 5.33 1.57
Urgency of the project   139 5.83 1.37
Locality of the project   139 3.61 2.08
Innovativeness of the project   139 4.99 1.72
Psychographics
Self-confident   112 4.97 1.54
Optimistic   112 5.09 1.50
Analytical   112 5.03 1.56
Entrepreneurial   112 4.44 1.76
Empathetic   112 5.42 1.50
Trusting   112 5.75 1.33
Motives
Innovation (Cardon et al. 2013) 0.88 121 4.93 1.41
Initiate (Bateman and Crant 1993) 0.79 121 4.56 1.32
Intellectual stimulation (Cacioppo et al. 1984) 0.81 121 5.14 1.28
Altruism (Clary et al. 1998) 0.79 123 6.01 0.88
Warm glow (Clary et al. 1998) 0.86 123 4.85 1.40
Efficacy (Sargeant and Hilton 2005) 0.63 123 5.86 0.94
Personal cost and benefits (Sargeant and Hilton 2005) 0.61 123 4.00 1.26
Reputation (Herche 1994) 0.88 123 3.69 1.46
Participation (Mathur 1996) 0.80 123 4.42 1.34
Values (Keller and Siegrist 2006) 0.76 123 5.56 1.13
Profit (Keller and Siegrist 2006) 0.87 121 2.49 1.20
Financial Planning (Yamauchi and Templer 1982) 0.87 121 5.23 1.43
Risk tolerance (Keller and Siegrist 2006) 0.92 121 2.86 1.51
Sector preference    Yes %
(Affordable) Housing   124 34 27.4
Agriculture   124 62 50.0
Arts   124 25 20.2
Care   124 32 25.8
Children and families   124 45 36.3
Community   124 54 43.5
Culture   124 42 33.9
Development aid   124 71 57.3
Disability   124 31 25.0
Education and training   124 80 64.5
Environment and energy   124 94 75.8
Financial services   124 29 23.4
Health   124 49 39.5
IT   124 4 3.2
Public order and safety   124 6 4.8
Unemployment   124 29 23.4
Water and Sanitation   124 18 14.5
Previous engagement 2015
Social investment   145 99 68.3
Money donations   145 139 95.9
Time donations   145 117 80.7
In-kind donations   145 115 79.3
Crowdfunding   145 41 28.3
  1. Italic values indicate sector that the online survey experiment related to
  2. α Cronbach’s alpha; M Mean; SD Standard deviation

Appendix 3: Sample characteristics

Category N %
Gender
Male 60 41.4
Female 52 35.9
Missing 33 22.8
Age
25–34 4 2.8
35–44 7 4.8
45–54 29 20.0
55–69 56 38.6
>70 14 9.7
Missing 35 24.1
Education
Completed school education 7 4.8
Completed vocational training 18 12.4
University degree 62 42.8
Additional qualification in executive training 4 2.8
Doctorate/PhD 21 14.5
Missing 33 22.8
Employment/life situation
Entrepreneur 53 36.6
Employee 14 9.7
Employee with personnel responsibility 7 4.8
Clerk 1 0.7
Retirement 13 9.0
Housewife/Houseman 3 2.1
Others 20 13.8
Missing 34 23.4
Net monthly household income in euro
<1300 5 3.4
1301–2600 25 17.2
2601–3600 10 6.9
3601–5000 17 11.7
5001–7500 13 9.0
7501–10,000 8 5.5
>10,000 12 8.3
Missing 55 22.8
Wealth in euro
<50,000 13 9.0
50,001–100,000 14 9.7
100,001–500,000 31 21.4
500,001–1,000,000 12 8.3
1,000,001–10,000,000 9 6.2
>10,000,000 5 3.4
Missing 61 22.8
Share of total wealth at the bank
0–10% 9 6.2
10–20% 10 6.9
20–30% 6 4.1
30–50% 16 11.0
50–70% 17 11.7
70–90% 13 9.0
90–100% 19 13.1
Missing 55 22.8

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Schrötgens, J., Boenigk, S. Social Impact Investment Behavior in the Nonprofit Sector: First Insights from an Online Survey Experiment. Voluntas 28, 2658–2682 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-017-9886-5

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Keywords

  • Social impact investment
  • Nonprofit sector
  • Online survey experiment