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More than a lender, we are a creative partner in building your organizational capacity.

Why Work with Mission Driven Finance?

Finance your vision

You have enough on your plate.

We know that business owners and nonprofit executives have plenty of work on their hands already without having to figure out loan applications and all their related paperwork. That’s why our borrower services team exists: to make it easier for you to do more good.

At Mission Driven Finance, we’re passionate about reconnecting capital and community. We know that getting capital for your plans can be challenging. As an impact investment firm, we also want to know how money would help you help your community.

{“Mission Driven Finance asked good questions. The collaboration is very clear—It was more than just a loan; the relationship continues to bring about positive ripple effects.”
{"Your team’s commitment to community and doing good is really inspiring. You stuck with us to make this happen—thankful for your partnership."
Karen Begin
Director of Development, San Diego Habitat for Humanity (portfolio company)
{"Their team took the time to understand our needs and build relationships, and they were open and transparent throughout the whole loan process. I loved that they involved the Community Finance Fellows in the work, which aligns with our own focus on mentorship."
Kerri Leslie
Founder & CEO, Verity Packaging (portfolio company)
{"The process of working with Mission Driven Finance gave us a chance to look at every component of the business so we can be in the strongest position to serve our students."
{"Working with Mission Driven Finance is unlike working with traditional lenders. The process transcended customer service and was more about relationship building; they take more time to get to know the people and figure out possibilities to have a positive transformational experience."
Dr. Corey Pahanish
Former Executive Director, Bayside Community Center (portfolio company)
{"Once I heard about Mission Driven Finance’s mission, I knew it matched our core beliefs. I believe in doing good and doing well at the same time. And the technical assistance that Mission Driven Finance provided alone is worth the interest."
Chris Thomas
Executive Director, The Way Back (portfolio company)
{"Unlike other lending institutions that appear fixated on the bottom line, Mission Driven Finance seemed driven to propel our mission forward. Because of them, that’s exactly what we’ll do."
Marlayna Bollinger
Executive Director, Skinny Gene Project (portfolio company)
{"The process of connecting with your team and figuring out if we are the right fit was quite refreshing. Mission Driven Finance not only has some really good people but also I just feel like my company matters rather than just some numbers on a spreadsheet.”
Ryan Sisson
CEO and Founder, Moniker Group (portfolio company)

5 things to know about impact-based financing

Financing for many kinds of small businesses & nonprofits

Mission Driven Finance supports funds across the United States that increase access to education, health, and wealth. The programs below currently have capital available for businesses and nonprofits. With different investor interests, each program has a unique profile. 

See if one might fit your needs. Then, share a little bit about your organization in a short inquiry form below. Our borrower services team will set a call to get to know your situation and confirm if it looks like a fit. At that point, we’ll invite you to share more detailed information for analysis.

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Advance

  • Southern California
  • Small businesses and nonprofits advancing inclusive economic opportunity
  • $100,000–$500,000
  • Loans from 6 months to 5 years
  • Options for revenue-based financing for flexible payment schedules or Islamic financing

People on the Move

  • United States
  • Small businesses and nonprofits supporting immigrants, refugees, and survivors of trafficking
  • $50,000–$250,000
  • Loans from 6 months to 4 years
  • Options for revenue-based financing for flexible payment schedules or Islamic financing

COVID-19 loans for nonprofits

  • Southern California
  • Nonprofits with some earned (non-donation) revenue; serving San Diego County residents for 18+ months
  • $50,000–$500,000
  • Interest-free loans from 6 months to 2.5 years
  • Click here to learn more & apply

No matter what type of financing you choose, we serve as case managers to assess your business’ creditworthiness and its impact. From our assessment, our team will walk you through the different areas where investors and lenders would see red flags. Next, we’ll connect you to resources to strengthen those weak spots. Throughout the process, we check in to make sure your business is getting stronger and that you can clearly communicate the impact you make.

What do we look for?

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Organizations that prepare people for success through access to healthcare, housing, and education.

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Systems and infrastructure which allow more people to participate in a positive growing economy.

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Tenacious, coachable business owners and nonprofit executives with a deep commitment to advancing economic opportunity.

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Businesses that provide quality jobs, hire from their communities and support employee development.

What capital gaps do we fill?

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Uncommon receivable

Government reimbursement
Long lag-time
Challenging to factor

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One-time hurdle

Unmet demand
Fixed costs
High marginal value

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Existing cashflow

Size mismatch
Business history
Personal credit

Inquire about financing from Mission Driven Finance

Mission Driven Finance submark

Know a good candidate for financing?

If you think they're doing good for the community and have the potential to grow, put us in touch!

Mission Driven Finance submark

Important COVID-19 information

For 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations impacted by COVID-19:

We are offering 0% interest loans for nonprofits serving San Diego County. For more information and to apply, please visit sandiegosbnlp.org/nonprofits.

For small businesses impacted by COVID-19:

Why Seek Impact-Based Financing?

For nonprofit organizations

Taking on debt is often a move into uncharted waters. Unlike grants and donations, loans need to be repaid, typically with interest—why would any executive or board agree to that? Of course, if you can get all the capital you need, in the time frame you need it, from philanthropic sources, by all means do! But loans can help nonprofit organizations with three key factors:

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Faster

Yes, laying the groundwork for a strong loan application takes a bit of effort and differs from preparing a grant proposal, but it can be a much quicker process to get a loan to start a project than to run a capital campaign. If you need to get over a one-time hurdle (e.g. expanding into a larger facility) to accelerate your growth and generate earned income faster, debt can be a great option.
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More

Total annual charitable giving in the U.S. has held steady around 2% of GDP for the last 60 years, $410.02 billion in 2017. That seems like a large number, but compared to the combined balance sheet of commercial lenders, it pales in comparison. There is also growing appetite, in large part from women and millennial investors, to do good with their money while also making a financial return. Additionally, some foundations that provide loans are more flexible with their program criteria for loans than they are for grants since they also generate income from repayments.

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Stable

Grants and donations should always have a role in a stable nonprofit, but diversified sources of capital allow you to better withstand changes in funding priorities, as well as provide increased control to run programs by your design.

Why Seek Impact-Based Financing?

For businesses

Considering impact-based financing rather than or in addition to normal commercial debt might seem like an unnecessary headache. Thinking about how your product, service, or business methods are improving the community—and measuring that impact—on top of actually managing your company, may not be immediately appealing. However, impact-based financing can be beneficial:

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Flexible

With philanthropic and quasi-philanthropic impact investment dollars as the primary source of capital, impact-based lenders like Mission Driven Finance can determine non-traditional underwriting criteria and loan security measures that other lenders cannot–opening up access to capital for different kinds of projects.
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Sustainable

Customers and employees alike are increasingly drawn to organizations that demonstrate positive values in how they run their business. Clarifying your community commitment as you prepare for impact-based financing can help you market your business to increase customer loyalty and retain great staff.

Frequently asked questions

General questions

How are you different from banks or other lenders?

Mission Driven Finance (MDF) is a social impact investment firm and lender that seeks to support social impact in all of our investments. We lend to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are agents of change in their communities.

What credit score should we have for applying for a loan with Mission Driven Finance?

We don’t require personal credit scores or personal guarantees. Your personal finances shouldn’t determine the fate of your business.

How can an organization prepare for a loan? 

Ensure that your business plan and finances are in order. We talk through your business plans and financial projections, and talk with management to see how you think about your community, how you’re growing your business with coaching and support, and the opportunity the organization has to grow. 

We still check the business history, so get your balance sheet (statement of financial position for nonprofits) and income statement or profit & loss ready for review. 

How will the money from the loan be used?

Be ready to clearly explain what you need the capital for and how you plan to repay it. The money could be used as general working capital, cash flow bridges, purchase order financing, and things that will help increase the organization’s operations. 

The path to repayment is important, as it makes it clear to the borrower and the lender how the loan will help the organization grow and demonstrate the organization’s ability to pay back a loan.

Additionally, as an impact investment firm, we want to know how money from a loan will help you make a positive impact in your community.

How does impact investing make a difference?

Impact investing makes the “unbanked” bankable, shifting the perspective of risk and driving capital to organizations that are trying to create positive social impacts in the community (e.g., creating jobs that pay a living wage, increasing opportunity in BIPOC communities, providing other social benefits). 

What is the challenge for some organizations to obtain financing? 

Some of the challenges faced by many, including small businesses and nonprofits, are banking history and credit score requirements. Some banks have risk criteria that create the case for a “no” rather than finding a way to get to a “yes.” 

We try to do the exact opposite of that—looking for ways to say yes to tenacious small businesses and nonprofits. Yes to their vision for impact, yes to their plans for growth, and yes to their understanding of what kind of capital they need and when to realize those plans.

What level of technical assistance do you offer to small businesses/nonprofits? 

We work closely with small businesses/nonprofits to really understand how they operate and what’s the best solution for them. As such, we work on making sure that you have all the necessary information compiled that would help you with us or any other lender. We work closely with your organization to understand how unique you are and how we can best structure a solution for you. In addition, if your organization is not aligned with MDF, we will do our best to connect you to aligned lenders in our network that might be able to help you. 

What types of organizations do you work with? Does impact have to be a core value to my organization?

You don’t need to be an impact company with a formal mission statement, but we do want to see that you are committed to your community—your workers, your clients/customers, or others. We work with all kinds of organizations that want to create impact for the local economy. We understand that different organizations may have different impact values, but we work closely with you to help you be more intentional about impact. 

How does the process for Mission Driven Finance work?

We have a simple and transparent process that makes sure that we’re both aligned with the same end goal:

  • We have an initial screening call to get to know you and also to respect your time as a busy leader. 
  • If it looks like a match, we’ll walk through our lending platform so you get a preview of what to expect in uploading more information. 
  • Once you submit your necessary documents, we will schedule an organizational meeting with your team to see how your organization operates.
  • Lastly, we will walk you through the closing process and keep in touch with you to hear about your great progress!

What kind of documents will I need for the loan process?

    To get started, we’d need your organization’s birth certificates (e.g. business model,  bylaws, organizational chart, filing status), financial statements, and impact documents.

    For nonprofits

    I am a nonprofit organization. Am I eligible for financing? 

    Why, yes! We at Mission Driven Finance love all the great work that nonprofits do for their communities and wish to support them however possible. We take a holistic approach, making sure that financing works for you and take the harder road of understanding how your organization works and how we can help out.

    My organization often has cash flow challenges due to our reimbursement/milestone grant/funding that we receive. Will this be an issue?

    The more complicated the issue, the more interested we are in solving those pain points. This will not be an issue whatsoever, we understand that timing is not always perfect but we work around it by understanding the nature of revenue models and offer financing solutions during those necessary times. 

    My organization went through hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has affected my fundraising and impacted my finances. How can you help?

    It’s even more important now to support nonprofits doing good in the community. We offer different loan programs that can meet the needs of your organization. We understand that 2020 was an awful year for nonprofits, but we are here to help your organization get back on track! 

    We focus more on grants, donations, and fundraising than earned revenue (e.g. ticket sales, merchandise, etc.). Would we qualify for loan financing? 

    We will explore and understand your current contracts that you have and work out the best loan structure to meet your needs. Not every nonprofit is a good fit for a loan though, and we won’t make a loan if we believe it will unnecessarily burden your organization with debt. 

    For small businesses

    I’m a small business owner and just got my first big contract. Will you be able to help me meet the capital requirements for this contract?

    We’ll walk through your contract and impact plans to help you with the financing your business needs to make your business dreams come true.

    I’m a startup founder with a revolutionary business model. Banks have denied me of any financing opportunities. Will you?

    We’ll learn about your business to make sure that we can offer you the best form of financing during such an early stage of your business. Debt, with a fixed payment schedule, isn’t a good fit for pre-revenue companies—because what would you use to pay? However, if you have an LOI, purchase order, or contract that you’re working on, we could make that work!

    My business has gone through hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve suffered a loss of revenues and struggling to get back to normal. How can you help? 

    As such an important piece of the economy, we want to work closely with you to understand how we can help your business grow during the hardest of times. We’ll start by looking at your numbers and figure out a viable financing solution together.

    My business has been doing good and I see an opportunity for it to grow. I have reached out to banks but they aren’t willing to lend me capital for growth. Will you?

    When others say no, we ask “why not?” We love to hear about businesses that are growing and need some financing to get to the next level. Let’s talk.

    My business depends heavily on accounts receivables. This often creates some cash flow challenges for day-to-day operations. Can you help with this?

    We know that time is of the essence and cash flow plays a huge role in growth for businesses. We don’t shy away from the most complicated account receivable structures; in fact, it’s what we love doing the most. Because we look at the impact you’ll create with this capital, our process isn’t a great fit for emergency or short term loans under six months. 

    What does a loan look like month to month?

    Take a look at this blog post on amortization and loan terms.

    2 things to know about your business loan terms