The team around the European Center for Social Finance has a long track record in the field working on academic papers, policy reviews and practical manuals.


A book published by Wolfgang Spiess-Knafl and Barbara Scheck on Impact Investing provides a comprehensive overview about the market, financial instruments and the associated impact assessment for interested practitioners and academics. Specifically, it introduces the concept of impact investing within the broader field of social finance as well as the relevant actors, present current financing instruments and the various tools to assess the impact of the investing strategy.

CSR und Corporate Volunteering: Mitarbeiterengagement für gesellschaftliche Belange. Springer-Verlag, 2017. Link.

Reporting im Social Entrepreneurship: Konzeption einer externen Unternehmensberichterstattung für soziale Unternehmer. Springer-Verlag, 2011. Link.

Finanzierung von Sozialunternehmen. Diss. Technische Universität München, 2012. Link.

Academic papers

Some recent academic papers written with co-authors include:

“What’s in a name: An analysis of impact investing understandings by academics and practitioners.” Journal of Business Ethics 132.2 (2015): 449-475. Link.

“Social Investing: What Matters From the Perspective of Social Enterprises?.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 47.3 (2018): 493-513. Link.

“Performance management in the third sector: A literature-based analysis of terms and definitions.” Public Administration Quarterly (2016): 220-255. Link.

“Understanding mechanisms in the social investment market: what are venture philanthropy funds financing and how?.” Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment 5.3 (2015): 103-120. Link.

“The financing structure of social enterprises: conflicts and implications.” International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing 6.1 (2014): 85-99. Link.

“On the nature of social business model innovation.” Social Business 5.2 (2015): 113-130. Link.

“What really matters: a theoretical model for the assessment of social enterprise performance.” Theory and empirical research in social entrepreneurship (2014): 154-173. Link.


Over the last years we have published a range of manuals for social entrepreneurs and people working in the field.

One example is the social investment manual which was a paper developed by the TU Munich and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Although, it was already published in 2011 it remains relevant. Link.

Barbara Scheck was instrumental in developing the Social Reporting Standard. Link.

Policy papers

We have also worked on a range of policy papers.

Study for the European Commission: “Social enterprise finance market: analysis and recommendations for delivery options”. Link.

Study for the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy: “Herausforderungen bei der Gründung und Skalierung von Sozialunternehmen:Welche Rahmenbedingungen benötigen Social Entrepreneurs?”. Link.

Study for the European Liberal Forum and Neos Lab: “Social Finance. Der soziale Kapitalmarkt in Europa mit einem besonderen Fokus auf Österreich.” Link.

Study for European Liberal Forum and Neos Lab: “You Had One Job. Transforming social security systems into the digital working age”. Link.

Ex-ante evaluation for the European Comission: “Imperfections in the social investment market and options on how to address them”. Link.