March 2011

Wasted Nonprofit Resource: Human Experience, Well-Honed Skills

A group of retired and semi-retired professional women – lawyers, teachers, corporate execs, etc. – was inspired to do something concrete and useful to better the status of women. After much research, they were surprised to learn that sex trafficking is alive and rampant in their home city, New York. Reducing that become their focus, with ideas ranging from advocacy to picketing publications that thrive on sex ads. They were rarin’ to go.

Learn From Micro-credit Mistakes: Grow Wisely

With the Social Impact Exchange Conference coming soon, I want to keep the focus on scaling well rather than just getting bigger. As I wrote before, the micro-credit industry provides examples of the good and the bad of growth and private-sector investment in nonprofits as well as a fine example of sharing lessons learned.

An Hour In The Dark to See The Light: What Can Your Business Do for Planet Earth?

A rolling, self-imposed brown-out, called Earth Hour – between 8:30 and 9:30 your time on March 26 – is meant to remind us all that we are the future of the environment … and the future is now. Don’t just turn off your lights and sit in the dark for an hour. Think! Then post your ongoing commitment to the Earth at Beyond the Hour.

Don’t Get Bigger Unless You Get Better: Lessons From Micro-credit

Microfinance has become the poster child for troubling growth and questionable nonprofit/for-profit cross-overs. Is it the rapid growth or too much emphasis on investor returns or not enough government regulation that has led to suicides by borrowers and a request for Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus, founder of the movement, to step down from Grameen Bank.

What Every Start-Up Should Know About Social Responsibility

Even Walmart is going green … which tells you that it isn’t just about being altruistic; it’s good business.

From the day you put finger to keyboard to type up your business plan, think green. It will save you trouble in the long run and money from the get-go.  That’s good business, whether you’re big or small, experienced or a start-up.

Is Gates Foundation Unethical Or Just Leading-Edge?

Last year, we complained about the way nonprofits are evaluated, mostly the unrealistic expectation that nonprofits – which are businesses – should spend less than 13 percent on operating expenses.

Evaluating Impact Still A Quandary for Nonprofits

What’s fair? Should nonprofits pay their executives as much as for-profits in order to attract the best and brightest?  Or is that a betrayal of donors?  Are nonprofits only effective if they are truly businesslike in all their ways, including risk-taking, marketing, and the pursuit of long-term goals?

25-Hour Day: What Would You Do With The Time?

“We choose what we do with our time. What are you doing with yours?” asks Chris Brogan in his blog about finding and using an extra 30 minutes in each day.

What’s the secret to scaling social impact? You tell me.

Is collaboration the secret ingredient to solving America’s social problems? If we’re going to create and grow a capital marketplace, one that scales proven models, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Be a Winner: Learn From Mistakes – Yours and Those of Others

Failing doesn’t make you a failure; it makes you a learner. If you don’t think that this applies to running a business or nonprofit, think again. Bad experience is a great business leader.