January 2012

Philanthropy in the Future: A New World View

Mind-boggling! That’s my take on Growing Philanthropy in the United States, a report from the June 2011 Growing Philanthropy Summit. Its first recommendation is that nonprofits think of the greater good of their cause and philanthropy in general when looking at donor relations rather than just how much they can get of a donor right now.

Capital: The Real Reason Women Get Less of It

Women-owned businesses start life with a third less capital than those owned by men. Some female entrepreneurs say it's partly the owners' fault.

Great News: Impact Investing Options Expand Locally

I’m a long-time advocate of impact investing. It brings new money to the nonprofit world, supports social enterprises, and can provide services and products that would otherwise be unfunded or unresolved.

Being Tough Isn’t the Same as Being a Bitch

As Liz Elting co-CEO of TransPerfect put it, “No one likes to be thought of as a ‘bitch.’ If you want everyone to like you, you will have a hard time doing what is necessary in hard times.”

Read all of Being Tough Isn’t the Same as Being a Bitch on Forbes.

Choosing Your Legal Form Is a Strategic Decision for Social Good Businesses

Social entrepreneurs -- those using business skills to accomplish social good -- have many choices these days. New York and California recently joined five other states in allowing social good to be given as much weight as corporate profit by approving Benefit Corporations in which the well-being of all stakeholders (employees, community, clients, environment), not just shareholders, are legally taken into account when decisions are made.

Building Relationships Key to Women’s E-commerce Success

Entrepreneurs have an edge these days: They can start businesses with lower start-up costs and reach a huge market. In fact, businesses exist today that would have been impossible without the internet.

Read all of Building Relationships Key to Women’s E-commerce Success on Forbes.

New Paradigm for Customer Service: Information, Sharing, and Being Yourself

Talking to Gen Xers and Gen Ys lately, I realize how dramatically e-commerce is changing retail business and customer service.

Opening up a store used to require renting space, furnishing the store, and working arduous hours. The last is still true but not the first two. Businesses are thriving without a physical location. In fact, many are able to exist because they skip the fixed costs and upfront investment of a brick-and-mortar store.

A Social Enterprise Learns, Grows From Its Mistakes

Editor’s note: To help social entrepreneurs anticipate and avoid some of the problems of starting a social-good business, Ventureneer is doing a series of blogs about the progress of Greenway Grameen Infra, a social enterprise in India.

When last I wrote about Greenway Grameen Infra, its non-polluting stove, fuel efficient stove for rural homes in India was just on the market and hopes were high that 50,000 units would be sold by March 2012.

Want to Grow the Economy? Change Four Attitudes About Women Entrepreneurs

Women are 50% more likely to start businesses than the national average, yet are 70% less likely than men to own a business with revenue of $1 million-plus, according to The American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Business Report.

Read all Want to Grow the Economy? Change Four Attitudes About Women Entrepreneurs on Forbes.

Are Government Contracts a Way UP for Women Entrepreneurs?

Government contracting is a big chunk o’ change for businesses both large and small. Last year federal government contracts alone -- never mind state and local -- gave $477 billion to private businesses. And 5% of those contracts are supposed to go to women-owned businesses.

Top 4 Web Pages Show Demand for Curation, Focused Resources

I try to practice what I preach so I keep an eye on my website metrics. And I’ve noticed some trends, the most notable being that people want easily accessed information about social media, aggregated in a useful collection. My most popular website pages were curated resources to help people learn about social media.

Slum Dwellers Inspire Hope for the Future of Urban Poor

With gray skies and gray economic news, one could feel a bit dismal about 2012 and the prospects for a brighter world. Design with the Other 90%, an exhibit at UN Headquarters in New York City dispels that grayness.