Vacancy: Equitable Funding Design Lead [6 month contract]

  • 6-month, fixed contract (with opportunity to go permanent)
  • Full-time (will consider part-time)
  • London-based with combination of face-to-face and flexible remote working
  • £40-50k pro rata
  • Deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 20 September 2021

Shift is looking for a new team member who is passionate about increasing levels of equity in funding for under-represented founders and businesses. The role is to co-lead the design and development of a new equitable funding programme, initially on a 6 month contract but with potential for an extended contract or permanent role. The application deadline is 9am on Monday 20 September.

Shift is committed to being a diverse and equal employer and welcomes applications from all backgrounds. We particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups including women, people who identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), as well as individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+.

About Shift

We bring design thinking to help maximise the collective impact of social purpose organisations (such as charities, social enterprises, or mission-led businesses). We work closely with people and communities, as part of diverse networks of partners, to transform services and reduce inequalities.

One of our main strands of work is supporting social purpose organisations to access more flexible types of funding that is best suited to their needs and stage of growth.

About the Growth Impact Fund

We’re working with Big Issue Invest and Unltd to deliver a new £25 million fund, called the ‘Growth Impact Fund’, to provide flexible funding to diverse-led organisations and increase equity within the investment sector. The Access Foundation has made a £3m cornerstone commitment to the fund, which means it is on course for a first close of £10m in September 2021 when investment activities will commence.

Shift will support this new fund by taking a test and learn approach, supporting continuous learning throughout the fund’s life to ensure we build on our understanding of the funding needs of diverse-led organisations, and to share what works (and what doesn’t) more widely with the sector.

About the role

This role’s responsibilities will include:

  • Supporting the design and development of the fund learning plan, working closely with the social impact and investment arms of Unltd and Big Issue Invest
  • Developing hypothesis-led tests, overseeing and embedding learning from live experiments to support continued fund iteration and development
  • Leading additional ad-hoc research activities, both qualitative and quantitative, taking a mixed-methods approach to help respond to key learning questions
  • Co-facilitating learning sessions to embed a culture of continuous learning, including data collection, reflection and organisational change
  • Developing key learning assets, such as blogs, toolkits or other resources that can be shared across the investment sector to support sector influencing and best practice

It’s a must-have to demonstrate you have experience in:

  • Project management in agile environments, managing regular adaptation or uncertainty
  • Qualitative and quantitative research, particularly in the context of designing/ developing new programmes, products or services
  • Hypothesis-led testing, particularly experience in observations, survey design, depth interviews, and light-weight prototyping
  • Group facilitation, particularly organising and delivering online presentations and workshops to support reflection, learning and decision-making

Some experience that is nice to have, but not essential, for this role:

  • Multi-stakeholder engagement to help shape shared alignment and direction based on key insights or learning questions
  • Impact or learning design, particularly if you’ve got a foundational understanding of logic/ change models
  • Light touch data analysis to inform insights development (e.g. segmentation/ clustering similar types of data, building light touch dashboards)
  • Knowledge of social investment and/ or early stage venture funding (e.g. venture capital, accelerator programmes etc.)

Benefits

  • 25 days annual leave (not including Bank holidays) pro-rata
  • Matched pension contribution of up to 4%
  • A bike to work scheme
  • Access to childcare vouchers
  • Support as you join with an onboarding buddy

How to apply

Please send a short covering letter (less than one page) and a CV to Duncan Fogg at duncan.fogg@shiftdesign.org. Your covering letter should include why this is an interesting role for you and how your experience makes you a good fit.

Timings

  • Application deadline is Friday 17 September
  • Interviews: 21-24 September
  • Candidate selected: Friday 24 September

Interviews will normally run between 9am and 6pm but if you have children, caring duties, or other circumstances affecting your availability, we’re happy to offer convenient times outside these hours.

 


 

Some background on research we’ve been doing

In the Autumn of 2020 we conducted research to understand the types of organisations that might benefit from more flexible funding in the sector. Building on the limited diversity data and research available, our insights identified that diverse-led organisations in particular faced systemic barriers to accessing funding to meet their needs. Here are some of the key barriers that surfaced:

  • A white man’s world – a dominant narrative within investment is one of white men investing in other white men
  • An unfair process – the investment process creates additional barriers for early stage organisations to access investment
  • Debt doesn’t meet my needs – preconceived negative attitudes towards debt and the social invest sector’s focus on debt has impacted demand
  • Investors not trusted- building trust in an investor is critical and needs to happen ‘where I am’

We conducted our research with a consortium made up of Big Issue Invest and Unltd, two leading social investors in the sector, who are now our partners in the delivery of the proposed fund.

Some background on flexible funding

One of the challenges for many social purpose organisations is the funding currently available to them in the market is often a choice between a grant or a loan:

Grant funding

Grant funding is free funding provided through charitable foundations or public sector bodies that doesn’t have to be paid back. It is often provided in exchange for research, programme or service delivery, or for testing/ trialing new innovations. Whilst grant funding can often be an indispensable funding resource, it can also be unreliable, inflexible, and scarce as a source of funding in the long-term.

Loan funding

Loan funding is an investment that you have to pay back with interest through future earned income. Loan funding is typically provided for organisations that have existing proof that this finance can be paid back or it can be secured against an asset. However, loan funding is often out of reach because funders tend to support lower risk, more established organisations.

Flexible funding looks to fill the gap between grants and loan finance, particularly for earlier stage, higher risk initiatives.

Since 2016, we’ve partnered with a number of philanthropic funders/ investors to increase the amount of flexible, high-risk funding available to social purpose organisations. In that time we’ve: