July 2011

Scaling Nonprofits: Lessons Learned By A Winner

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a 7-part series on Developing A Growth Business Plan. The series is based on presentations made at the Social Impact Exchange Symposium on Scaling Impact held June 14 and on the experiences of nonprofits that participated in the business plan competition.

The Parent-Child Home Program won much more than $50,000 and nine months of free consulting at last year’s Social Impact Exchange Conference.

10 Social Media Habits To Boost Your Business

Yes, you can grow a business without damaging the planet or the people who live on it. From a start-up in 2006 to a presence in 30,000 stores worldwide, Yes To is a success story by any measure. And its values, as explained on its Facebook page, could come straight from “Social Enterprise 101,” if there were such a handbook:

  • a portion of all proceeds has been dedicated to a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization
  • sustainability in products,  partners, and the lives of the company and the people who work for the company
  • a team committed to taking steps to lead greener and more 'aware' lifestyles (organic fruit deliveries! recycling! team yoga!)
  • a healthy, happy team makes everything a little bit better

New Rating System Will Guide Billions In Donations: Will Your Nonprofit Benefit?

Good news! A big step forward has been taken in the way nonprofits will be rated by Charity Navigator (CN), a rating agency that influences the donations of millions of donors. Starting this summer, accountability and transparency will be taken into account, in addition to the traditional financial data.

Developing A Growth Business Plan: Financial, Risk Assessment, and Contingency Plan

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth of a 7-part series on Developing A Growth Business Plan. The series is based on presentations made at the Social Impact Exchange Symposium on Scaling Impact held June 14 and on the experiences of nonprofits that participated in the business plan competition. Financial Plan, Risk Assessment, and Contingency Plan was presented by Summer Spencer, director of Community Wealth Ventures.

Financial plan
Be realistic. About every single thing that you might have to spend money on in order to grow, from real estate to paper clips, from staff training to the phone bill. Some of those costs will have to be covered before you get your first dollar of new funding. Can you do it? How? Where will the money come from to plan your growth nonprofit’s growth and cover costs if funding lags?

What Does Your Umbrella Say About Your Business?

by Randy Epstein

What type of umbrella do you use?  

  1.   The one your company or bank gave you?  
  2.   The one you chose and bought because it was super big or punk?
  3.   Or the one you quickly grabbed from the shelf on your way to the office?

6 Steps To Rev Revenue Without Upping Costs for Your Small Businesses

Belt-tightening is getting old. We‘ve heard a lot about it in the last few years and I’m tired of it. Besides, you can only tighten so far. But there are ways to increase revenue and cut costs without inflicting pain on you, your employees or your customers. In fact, some of these may open doors to new opportunities and new ways to grow.

Business Plan for Nonprofit Growth: Organization and Infrastructure

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth of a 7-part series on Developing A Growth Business Plan. The series is based on presentations made at the Social Impact Exchange Symposium on Scaling Impact held June 14 and on the experiences of nonprofits that participated in the business plan competition.Organization and Infrastructure was presented by Mike Burns, partner in BWB Solutions.

Before you scale, be sure the structure of your organization can support growth. You’ll need to assess your nonprofit’s management team, governance, and staffing.

Howling at the Moon

By Robin Mockenhaupt, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Last month Robin Mockenhaupt, Chief of Staff at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, attended the Social Impact Exchange conference. Here she shares her perspective on the value of strategic collaborations in scaling for social impact.

One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons features a group of wolves on a mountaintop howling at the moon. One of them says, “Do you think we’re having an impact?” That’s what it often feels like in philanthropy; we’re all up there howling at the moon.

LinkedIn: A Powerful Tool for Nonprofits

I had the pleasure of moderating an “aha” panel discussion the other day. Marc Halpert, managing partner of Connect2Collaborate, and Maria Semple, principal of The Prospect Finder, revealed what nonprofits and nonprofit executives can accomplish with a basic LinkedIn account.

It was a revelation, indeed, for many.

Social Entrepreneurs Well Represented Among Big Break Finalists

Who will you vote for? It’s a tough choice! American Express OPEN and Facebook have chosen 10 finalists in their Big Break contest, out of 11,000 entries. Five of them will receive their “big break,” a Facebook makeover at Facebook headquarters and $20,000 to grow their businesses.

Business Plan For Nonprofit Growth: Evaluation and Knowledge Dissemination

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth of a 7-part series on Developing A Growth Business Plan. The series is based on presentations made at the Social Impact Exchange Symposium on Scaling Impact held June 14 and on the experiences of nonprofits that participated in the business plan competition. Evaluation and Sharing Knowledge was presented by Geri Stengel.

“Evaluation” and “measurement” bring shivers of apprehension to some, with visions of a mound of data collected for external reports that have no bearing on anyone’s job but do affect whether the organization gets funding.

Get rid of that mindset and you get rid of “data angst.”

It’s the People Asking Now: Tweetup With Obama Marks New Era

It was billed as a Town Hall event but that old-time tradition underwent a transformation on July 6. Gone were the folks sitting on folding chairs in a cramped space, raising their hands or shouting out questions. Instead, folks around the world looked at their mobile phones or computers as they keyed questions directly to the President of the United States.

Five Reasons To Be Optimistic About Corporate Social Responsibility

When a report comes out advising big corporations to ignore social responsibility and focus only on profit, I could get depressed.

The report argues that creating jobs is all the social responsibility that businesses need do; everything else will take care of itself if people have jobs. The report does not mention living wages or health benefits but that’s another issue.

A Hand Up Is Better Than A Hand-out

In a recent interview with Women In Development, Dina Powell, president, Goldman Sachs Foundation, discussed the progress and lessons learned from Goldman’s, 10,000 Women Program, a $100 million effort that began in 2008.

Business Plan For Nonprofit Growth: Planning for Scale

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a 7-part series on Developing A Growth Business Plan. The series is based on presentations made at the Social Impact Exchange Symposium on Scaling Impact held June 14 and on the experiences of nonprofits that participated in the business plan competition. Scaling Plan was presented by the managing director of Social Impact Architects.

Scaling doesn’t necessarily mean new sites or more clients. It could mean “going deeper,” that is, providing a broader range of services for the communities you already serve. Or it could mean expanding your indirect influence through increased advocacy and influence on public policy. It may mean promoting your model, packaging it or licensing it.