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Beyond Pizza Slices: Why Trust-Based Funding is the Recipe for Real Change in the Social Impact Sector

Do you like Pizza? It’s a usual weekend food choice for my family. Whether making our own, or ordering a ready-made one, I always look forward to the warm spiced smell of the pizza coming out of the oven (or box) and diving in. In recent years, the standard meat or cheese pizza has almost disappeared as new and innovative takes on the ancient dough delight have emerged, giving rise to a plethora of pizza (and restaurants offering pizza) entrepreneurs and artisans all offering something tasty and different to the consumer market of this now global food. So, you can imagine that a video I came across recently, about pizza and the social impact sector, two of my personal passions, would capture my attention, as it has so many others around the globe.

A bit like pizza, (a slightly tenuous link I admit) the social impact sector is in the midst of a necessary transformation. Well-meaning donors often inadvertently hinder purpose-driven organisations with restrictive funding practices. The focus on "overhead" as a negative metric ignores the very foundation needed for lasting impact. The now-viral parody video, "What If Pizza Shops Were Funded Like Nonprofits?" amusingly  captures this dissonance. Imagine a social enterprise expected to deliver innovative products with a fraction of the resources needed! Absurd, right?

Here at Ethical Good, we believe in a different approach – one built on trust. We champion trust-based funding, a movement shifting the narrative from "overhead is bad" to "overhead is essential." And we support our clients to access that kind of funding and financial strategy wherever we can.

Think about it. Would you expect a groundbreaking social enterprise to operate with a shoestring budget and outdated equipment? Charities tackling critical social issues, and purpose-driven startups pioneering sustainable solutions, deserve the same level of investment in their infrastructure.

Overhead: The Fuel for Impact

Overhead isn't a drain; it's the fuel that propels an organisation towards its mission. It encompasses salaries for skilled staff who develop impactful programs, rent for collaborative office spaces, technology that streamlines operations, and marketing that amplifies their cause. Restricting overhead suffocates innovation, hinders growth, and ultimately, undermines the very impact funders seek.

A well-resourced organisation can attract and retain top talent, invest in data-driven strategies, and build a robust infrastructure for scaling its work. It can experiment, adapt, and navigate the complexities of social change with agility.

Investing in the Whole Pie, Not Just Slices

Trust-based funding recognises that effective social change requires a holistic approach. Donors who subscribe to this model move beyond a transactional relationship, becoming true partners in a shared journey. They understand that a healthy organisation is a prerequisite for achieving ambitious goals.

This doesn't mean blind faith. Transparency remains crucial. But the focus shifts from micromanaging spending to fostering open communication and shared goals.

Ethical Good: Cultivating Strong Changemakers

At Ethical Good, we're passionate about cultivating a thriving ecosystem of social good.

We support purpose-driven organisations in several ways:

  • Sharpening Your Narrative: We help you craft a compelling story that showcases the transformative power of your work. This goes beyond budget needs, focusing on the tangible impact you create.

  • Building Financial Confidence: Transparency is key to trust. We help you develop solid financial projections that demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of your operations.

  • Connecting with Funder Matches: We leverage our network and data-driven approach to connect you with funders who share your vision and values. Forget mass emails; we foster meaningful introductions that build genuine partnerships.


The Time for Change is Now

The "What If Pizza Shops Were Funded Like Nonprofits?" video may be humorous, but its message is profound. We need to move beyond the mentality of scarcity and embrace abundance. By embracing trust-based funding, we can empower purpose-driven organisations to become well-oiled machines for positive change.

Are you a leader in a social enterprise or charity seeking to maximise your impact? We can help you refine your story, connect with the right funders, and build the operational strength you need to achieve lasting change.

Are you a funder seeking to make a real difference? Let's move beyond outdated models and embrace a new era of trust-based funding.

Together, let's cultivate a future where social impact organisations can bake whole pizzas, not just slices, (see what I did there?) and nourish the world with positive change.

Contact Ethical Good today and let's start a conversation.



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