June 2010

Seven Nonprofits Get a Chance To Woo Investors

Scaling successful nonprofits was the goal of the recent Social Impact Exchange Conference. To that end, seven likely prospects -- recommended by a team of reviewers -- were given the opportunity to present their business plans to a roomful of funders. In just 12 to 15 minutes, they each had to excite interest and demonstrate competency.

Winners of NY Times Nonprofit Excellence Awards Are Team Players and Listen Well

It's heartening to know that the nonprofit sector is stressing and achieving good governance and good outcomes, even in the face of adversity.

Successful Scaling Requires Staffing Plan

Gayle A. Brandel, President/CEO, Professionals for NonProfits

As I listened to the impressive speakers at the Social Impact Exchange Conference: Taking Successful Innovation to Scale, I was excited by what I heard. In particular, I was awed by the outstanding nonprofits that successfully serve various communities in the most amazing ways and are now planning to expand their services and mission to larger communities.

Social Entrepreneur Combines Business With Vision

Exciting times! Creative, practical, inspiring ideas to help the environment are cropping up all over. Start-up social enterprises, aka small businesses, are, as always, leading the way.

Enterprising small business owners are reducing carbon emissions and cleaning up the world by taking risks, thinking outside the box, and pulling big organizations along after them.

Prove Your Worth, Include College in Plans Educators Told

by Judith E. Katz, On Target Strategies

As a new board member with a young charter organization, I was eager to attend the Youth and Education Knowledge Session at the Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling. I wanted to understand what the government and three key education-reform investors would look for as we scaled our program.

Sowing the Seeds of Success

By Judith E. Katz, On Target Strategies

If you weren’t at the 2010 Inaugural Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling this week, you might think those of us who attended were planning our first trek to Everest as we spoke about the need for flexibility, capacity building, adequate staffing and thinking exponentially. And that might be because the same passion, focus, absolute command of the basics and program details along with commitment to data based analytics is absolutely necessary for the successful replication of social programs as it is for a mountain trek. This is not a rubber stamp activity. 

Social Responsibility Shows Creativeness of Businesses

Don't be put off by the long title. The report by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy is a rich, challenging, inspiring resource, especially the 10 pages of comments from different angles: investor, advocate, foreign leader, consumer, private foundation, and more.

Collaborating, Attracting Investors, Learning: The Road Ahead for Nonprofit Leaders

Times they are a changing, as the Bob Dylan song said. Underlying all the presentations at the Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling were two big ideas: collaboration and private investment.

Get Out of The Silo, Gergen Says

The Social Impact Exchange conference was jammed with headline speakers and the luncheon on the second day was no exception. David Gergen, Senior Political Analyst at CNN, Editor-at-Large for U.S. News & World Report, and Professor of Public Service at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government was the keynote speaker. 

3 Ways to Ensure the Social Impact Movement Sticks

I was delighted to learn that Dan Heath, author of the book I'm currently reading Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, was the closing keynote speaker for the Social Impact Exchange Conference.I think all the conference speakers were in agreement that we're at a tipping point. Dan gave practical advice to ensure that what might be a fleeting fad becomes a trend that takes hold and spreads like wildfire. He did this using three stories.

It's a Theme: Collaborate!

Throughout the Social Impact Exchange Conference, the recurring theme is "collaboration." A panel facilitated by Matthew Nash, Duke University, focused on that very subject, gave me much food for thought. 

The New Philanthropy: Long-term, Collaborative, and Transformative

Nancy Roob of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation will do whatever it takes to improve outcomes for low-income kids. That includes developing a system for aggregating large amounts of capital to invest in organizations with evidence-based outcomes. She is not alone in her call for innovative, collaborative funding for nonprofit ventures.

Short, Sweet, To the Point: Human Spirit Prevails

What is more profound, uplifting or wise than:

Hope in the future. Life goes on. The human spirit prevails.

Those were the words of Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Collaborate, Innovate, and Look to Investors

Action-oriented collaboration.
Positive deviance.
Unprecedented cooperation.
Profound transition.

Going to Scale: the Next Frontier

Nonprofits need to grow because social problems come in large numbers, says Gordon Berlin of MDRC. Now that's the truth!

But nonprofits are just beginning to learn how to grow, and their partners – funders – are changing the rules. 

Another truth.

Don't Grow Just to Get Bigger, Grow to Get Better

Growth capital is a great thing, but don't go after it unless getting bigger will also mean getting better. That was my takeaway from the "Readiness to Scale." 

Conference Starts With Reality Check: We Need Growth Capital System

Nonprofits spend too much money to raise money, according to Robert Steel, chairman of The Aspen Institute. It costs nonprofits 3 to 4 times as much to raise money than it costs for-profits. Steel, who advocates a pragmatic approach to problem-solving, was the keynote speaker of the Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling.

5 Tips for Making Your Small Business Stand Out

Social responsibility is a powerful marketing tool, one that can set your business apart from the one down the street and increase customer loyalty. Stand out by standing up for your community, your workers, and your planet.

SIEX 10 Competition Teaches Nonprofit New Way of Thinking

The Doe Fund is no newbie in the nonprofit world. For 25 years, the organization has run very successful programs in New York City and Philadelphia helping homeless people become self-sufficient. 

Ventureneer to Host Social Impact Exchange Conference Bloggers

I am delighted to announce that Ventureneer will be partnering with Adin Miller Consulting to provide a one-stop resource for insights and news from the Social Impact Exchange: Taking Successful Innovation to Scale on June 17 and 18, 2010.

Entrepreneur Takes Recycling to New Level

If you think you've reduced your carbon footprint all you can, think again. By looking at the problem of landfills from two sides – not putting stuff in them and taking stuff out of them – a company founded in 2001 by then 19-year-old Tom Szaky has gone well beyond the blue recycling bins we all know and use (don't we?) to upcycling, the reuse of trash.

It all started with worms and a Princeton Business Plan contest.

Nonprofits Need To Put Their Money Where Their Mission Is

So you're recycling, reusing, paying a fair wage, and donating to nonprofits. Or you are a nonprofit, giving your all to make the world a better place.

Is that all there is to social responsibility?

Palestinian Entrepreneur Exemplifies Adage That Social Responsibility is Good for Business

"Social impact is our entrepreneurship goal and this is also serving us from a business standpoint."

Need I say more? That's a nice definition of social enterprise.

The statement above is from Nasser Abufarha, 46, founder of several social enterprises that serve both the farmers of Palestine and those who want to support organic and fair-trade enterprises. In fact, as indicated in the statement above, the growing demand for fair-trade and organic products is part of his business plan.