Family & friends. This is where all begins. If they don't trust and believe in you it will be difficult for others to follow.
Hi, having built multiple businesses, the first question should not be how do you raise funds, but what is it that needs funding, and over what period of time do you need funds. Related to this is how soon can you turn on.cash flow and how quickly can that become your funding resource. We have bootstrapped all of our business. Not always easy, but very rewarding. We exited our last business by selling to a public company, and had no investors to pay off in the end. Let me know if you would like to discuss further.
The answer isn't that much different from a regular business - you hope your customers can finance you.
But if you are looking for funding and you are a social business - and you are in the UK - I'd start with free courses like this one.
It's not accepting applications at the moment but I believe they will have more courses soon.
As the answers to your question will be very location-specific, I'd approach this as a local challenge. Many social business investment funds are funded in part by governments and they probably don't want to fund a company outside of their jurisdiction.
If the social enterprise that I was starting was for a specific cause, I would get to know people who believe in the same cause and from them look for potential funders and talents. I would also try to find out which corporates have that cause for their CSR (corporate social responsibility) and try to talk to them as potential funder. But at the same time, I would try to bootstrap the business and try to get it funded by the customers that I was targeting.
Some times too much money may not be a good thing. You may lose focus and start doing the wrong things.
I wouldn't start with funding. If you haven't already started, I would begin by creating a basic function MVP product and introduce it to 35-50 or so potential buyers and get initial validation. They might give you the necessary feedback to improve and focus or pivot into a winner. By keeping them in the conversation you can draw them into funding the new business. That's how Quibb - and so many others - got started. If you already have your business up and running, I'd consider bringing in a respected industry co-founder (and ask that person to fund), or ask friends/family to help out with a reasonable rate loan.