Ten online social impact events on our radar for 2020

Lockdown has one upside: it's easier (and often cheaper) than ever to rub shoulders with social impact people from around the world – and you don't even have to leave your desk. Here are 10 gatherings for social entrepreneurs, impact investors and mission-driven business leaders to add to your schedule.

1. #StartingGood Virtual Summit – 11-20 May

A 10-day online gathering, this year’s #StartingGood Virtual Summit is sharing the wisdom of 30+ social entrepreneurs, changemakers, and innovation leaders, including Acumen’s Jacqueline Novogratz. Workshops and in-depth interviews aim to “upskill and inspire the next generation of change leaders”. The event is hosted by crowdfunding platform StartSomeGood – last year it drew 10,000+ participants from around the world. Registration is free.

2. Impact Summit – 20 May

Scotland’s Impact Summit is for anyone from business, government and education who’s interested in a values-led economy. Head to the website on 20 May to find talks and Q+As with leaders from Futerra, TOMS, Headspace, Facebook and Tony’s Chocolonely. There’s also chances to network and explore exhibitor stands in a virtual marketplace. Tickets cost £25 for a day’s access to the site, and £50 for a week.

The team behind Impact Summit is also running the Future Business Forum for the first time on 24 June. The headline speaker is Gib Bulloch, author of The Intrapreneur: Confessions of a Corporate Insurgent. First release tickets start at £40.


We're closely following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on social enterprises, impact investors and mission-driven businesses. To read all our news, analysis and interviews, head to our Covid-19 collection.


3. Changemakers United Online Summit - 20 May

Ashoka plus partners across Europe are running this half-day event, which will present 20 social innovators tackling the challenges that Covid-19 presents to the world. There are sessions focusing on empowering citizens, vulnerable groups, and reliable information, among others, and a keynote from Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. Register here, for free.


4. Social Innovation Summit – 2-4 June

The US Social Innovation Summit has switched to a virtual format this year, and offers keynote speeches, interactive breakouts and “speed networking” on the theme of using technology and innovation for social change. Speakers include leaders from the NIKE Foundation, Siemens USA, PwC, The Aspen Institute – and even Antoni Porowski from Netflix hit show Queer Eye. This year, general admission is free. Register here.


5. Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) Virtual Conference – 9-12 June 

The largest social investing conference in the Asia-Pacific region is also going digital. This year’s agenda dedicates one day each to focus on climate action, gender, collaboration, philanthropy and impact investing. Ticket prices depend on whether you are a member of AVPN or its partners; register here.

6. GSG Impact Summit – 9-11 September

The annual GSG Impact Summit – hosted by the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment – was due to take place in South Africa this year. That has now been delayed to late 2021, and this September it will instead host an online event for impact entrepreneurs, investors and intermediaries. Keep an eye on their website for details to come


7. EVPA Annual Conference 21-24 September

The European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) Annual Conference, due to take place in Porto this year, has moved online too. The focus is on building partnerships during Covid-19 – and how to manage the survival, revival and building resilience phases of the crisis. More details coming soon on EVPA’s website


8. Social Enterprise World Forum – 23-24 September

The Social Enterprise World Forum typically draws thousands of social entrepreneurs and innovators from across the globe, moving to a new location each year. This time, the location is cyberspace, with their digital conference in September replacing the planned event in Halifax, Canada (which is now scheduled for 2-4 June 2021). More details of this year’s event coming soon – keep an eye on SEWF’s website.


9. Social Value Matters – 30 September - 2 October

Social Value International and Social Value Canada are co-hosting the biggest social value conference of the year. Following last year's phyiscal event in Taipei, this time 'Social Value Matters: People, Planet & Power' will be convened from Toronto, and promises to “bring the world together to discuss the most important issues of our time” for “thought-provoking, inspiring and challenging discussion”.  More information coming soon on the conference website.


10. SOCAP – 20-23 October

San Francisco’s Social Capital Markets conference has also moved online; it’s for social entrepreneurs, investors, foundations and policy makers wanting to explore impact investing. Attendees (10,000 are expected) can follow live and pre-recorded sessions, attend an interactive marketplace and join networking meet-ups. Speakers and agenda coming soon. Early bird tickets are available online (until 29 May) for $100.

And, if you can’t wait till October, join SOCAP’s SPECTRUM event on 9-11 June, for three days of conversations about access, inclusion, and impact. 


Thanks for reading our stories. As somebody working in the impact economy, you'll know that producing quality work doesn't come free. We rely on paid subscriptions and partnerships to sustain our purpose-led journalism – so if you think it's worth having an independent, specialist media platform to share your news, insight and debate across the globe, please consider subscribing. You'll also be buying social: Pioneers Post is a social enterprise itself, reinvesting all profits to help you do good business, better.

Header image by cottonbro from Pexels.