Checking in on 10-year predictions for the New Year

Kicking off a New Year seems like a perfect time to recommend our upcoming addition to the CausePlanet summary library. Frankly, any time is the ideal time to pick up this book. Peter Brinckerhoff has written not one, not two, but three editions of Mission-Based Management, which should give you a sense of its value to nonprofit readers.

Author, writer and consultant Peter Brinckerhoff claims it’s an exciting time to be in the nonprofit world. He asserts, “There are more challenges, more opportunities and more ways to respond to the increasing needs in a community.”

The third edition of Mission-Based Management bestows on the reader a comprehensive look at what today’s nonprofit managers should prioritize in order to model the best high-impact nonprofits.

The premise?

The book is based on three philosophies that have informed Brinckerhoff’s entire career of 30 plus years:

  1. “Nonprofits are businesses.”
  2. “No one gives you a dime.”
  3. “Nonprofit does not mean no profit.”

He convincingly demonstrates the truth in each of these points throughout the book and in each of the management competencies he explores—from leadership, governance and finances to marketing, mission, ethics and more.

We invited Raylene Decatur of Decatur & Company to participate in our guest interview about the book. Since 2004, her firm has provided strategy and leadership transition services for nonprofit organizations ranging from start-ups to complex, mature organizations.

CausePlanet: What do you think about Brinckerhoff’s ten-year predictions? Are there any you would modify, emphasize or add?

Raylene Decatur: Brinckerhoff was brave to present his ten-year predictions and prescient regarding the future. From our vantage point in 2015, I would emphasize the following of his predictions:

Role of Government: Brinckerhoff was very accurate in his assessment of the diminished resources that local, state and federal governments would be investing in programs implemented by the nonprofit sector. For many nonprofits, especially in the health and human services sector, diversification of funding streams and reinvention of their business models will continue as trends for the foreseeable future. (Read more in our Page to Practice™ summary of Super Boards: How Inspired Governance Will Transform Your Organization)

The Impact of Generational Change: The baby boomers continue to age and have maintained greater longevity on boards and as organizational leaders than might have been anticipated five years ago. The generational change is much more complex and multifaceted than the compelling math of aging and its impact on the transfer of power. The values of a new generation of leaders and funders are raising questions regarding all aspects of nonprofit sector operations and outcomes. The recession stimulated change, and the generational transfer impact will create new and perhaps more challenging dynamics for the examination of sector practices. (Read more in our Page to Practice™ summary of Cause for Change: The Why and How of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement)

Cost of Services: Brinckerhoff notes the increased cost of providing services to a population of clients who have greater and more complex needs. More competition from both nonprofit and for-profit companies in an environment where it is more expensive to serve will accelerate as a challenge for the sector over the next decade.

Impact of Technology: As Brinckerhoff observes, the nonprofit sector must make the investments necessary to fully utilize technology to accelerate progress on mission. The transformation of client, donor and stakeholder expectations has evolved even more quickly than could be anticipated five years ago. Today, many nonprofits are facing almost insurmountable challenges related to reporting outcomes and results because their investments in systems and technology have failed to keep pace with these new norms. (Read more in our Page to Practice™ summary of Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission)

CausePlanet: If you could consult on a fourth edition of this book, what topics(s) might you envision adding?

Raylene Decatur: Talent is one of the greatest challenges facing the nonprofit sector today and in the foreseeable future. How will the sector transform its capacity to attract, retain, train and reward the people who are essential to achieving mission outcomes? This is not a new topic, but there is urgency in reimagining our assumptions regarding both paid and unpaid staff.  (Read more in our Page to Practice™ summary of The Abundant Not-for-Profit: How Talent (Not Money) Will Transform Your Organization)

In the spirit of Raylene’s final answer about resources—specifically talent—I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotations from Brinckerhoff: “A charity views its resources as a combination of four things: people, money, buildings, and equipment. … A mission-based business also has the same combination of four resources: people, money, buildings, and equipment. But it looks beyond just those four and also considers business tools in performing mission.”

See also:

12: The Elements of Great Managing

Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World

Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability

Image credits: thegraphicshouse.biz, en.wikipedia.org, nabswgreaterboston.org. Peter Brinckerhoff, enamabusinesssolutions.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A closer look at nonprofit lifecycles

As consultants, one of the major considerations when working with clients is understanding their lifecycle stage – both their current stage and where they are headed – and what this all means for your project. For the fifth session of the Consultant Leadership Forum, Leslie Allen and Ann Goldman of Front Range Source facilitated a lively discussion on this topic and what it means for our work (Thank you, Leslie and Ann!). In response to some of the topics brought up during the session, we have complied some additional resources that may be of interest to CLF members, along with a few highlights from the discussion.

During the group discussions, participants made the following observations (not a full summary, just a few highlights):

When using the lifecycle model, we need to remind clients that moving through the stages is not a linear process and not all organizations will experience each stage. Some organizations will cycle through stages while others may stay within a single stage for long periods of time, based on their evolution as an organization.

Some participants commented that while this kind of model can be helpful, these models miss they dynamic nature of the environment in which organizations operate. A long-standing, well-regarded organization can go from established to decline in a shockingly fast amount of time, just like an innovative start-up can attract attention and grow quite quickly. For some types of organizations, these models do not capture the fluid and fast-moving environments in which some organizations are operating.

The ability to innovate and adapt is becoming an essential organizational capacity for organizations at all stages along the lifecycle continuum. As a consultant, teaching adaptive capacity can be a very important role, especially for projects like strategic planning or fund development.

Some declines cannot be turned around, for both individual organizations and entire niches of organizations (symphony orchestras were mentioned as a type of organization that needs to operate in a radically different way to be viable in the future). Also, as consultants, we can be a good partner in supporting an organization through decline and closure.

To be an effective consultant, it can be important to know where your skills, expertise, and personality best fit among the lifecycles.  Engaging in this kind of analysis and positioning your practice among the organizations that are a good fit for you can increase your success, effectiveness, and happiness in working with clients.

Building Nonprofit Capacity, the book that we used as the basis for the session’s discussion, references two other books on nonprofit lifecycles (both easily available online):

Nonprofit Lifecycles: Stage-Based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity by Susan Kenny-Stevens

Navigating the Organizational Lifecycle: A Capacity-Building Guide for Nonprofit Leaders, published by BoardSource

We handed out a copy of the TCC Group’s nonprofit lifecycle model at the session. If you would like this for future use, you can access a clean copy of the diagram in one of their PowerPoint presentations available online, which you can download here.

During the discussion, the idea of adaptability and adaptive capacity came up multiple times, with a few group members making the important point that being adaptable is essential since nonprofits are operating in increasingly fast-moving contexts. With the lifecycle phases shortened for many organizations, continual reinvention and adaptability can foster greater sustainability and success.  For those of you interested in learning more about adaptive capacity, the TCC Group offers two other good resources (links to PDF articles):

Everyday Leaders: Building the Adaptive Capacity of Nonprofit Organizations: TCC Group Adaptive Capacity

The Sustainability Formula:  TCC Group Sustainability Formula

We know that many of you use these ideas in your practice on a daily basis, so please add information or links to other great references in the comments.

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Naysayers, roadblocks, and ways forward: Building consensus around your fundraising plan

This was originally posted at FrontRangeSource.com.

Last week, Ann and I attended a great session of our Consultant Leadership Forum at the Denver Foundation. It’s a group of about 30 consultants – from a variety of backgrounds – who serve the nonprofit sector in our area.

We gather once every couple of months and our conversation generally centers around a particular book or article.  The sessions are curated by CausePlanet (and if you haven’t checked out their great site, it’s chock FULL of wonderful resources).

Last week we talked about the book Buy-In: Saving Your Good Ideas From Getting Shot Down by John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead.  It’s all about how you present your ideas and work them through to consensus.

Sound like something that fundraisers need to think about?  We’d say YES!

The best fundraising programs are constantly reinventing. While we always want to use best practice and learn from testing, we also need to look for new ways to engage and deepen our relationships with our donors.

But very rarely in a nonprofit organization are you able to implement fundraising ideas without generating consensus around them.  And as fundraisers if we don’t generate buy-in for our ideas, who gets the blame when they don’t work? We do.

And rightly so. Because if done properly, fundraising speaks volumes about the ethos, character, and potential of the organization.  A bad fundraising strategy can boomerang back to the whole organization and give it a black eye.  It needs to be properly vetted.

But generating buy-in for fundraising ideas doesn’t come easy.  To begin with, people are often skeptical at best, hostile at worst, about fundraising.  Add to that a few misconceptions and a dose of  “that’s too much work” and you’ve got yourself a big fat zero – the status quo.

In our practice, we work hard to build consensus around fundraising ideas.  We try to get as many people as possible to put ideas on the table.  And then we use our experience to craft a vision and strategy that is then taken back to various constituencies and we ask them to improve it, punch holes in it, make it better.

What we emerge with is a better, stronger, fundraising plan that everyone feels they own.

Along the way, we find that there are plenty of “naysayers” as the authors Kotter and Whitehead call them and they are the folks who can derail buy-in (generally unknowingly) through four strategies:

1.  Idea killer: This is when irrelevant facts are introduced that muddy the conversation enough so that people are bewildered and move away from the idea.

Roadblock: We see this most often when people who have been in an organization for a long time bring up something similar to the new idea that was tried before.  They can throw all kinds of information into the process about something that no one remembers and so can’t refute.

Way forward: If this happens, we try to “park” the past and encourage the group to go back to real data to draw lessons from what really happened.

2.  Death by delay: This is when people balk at new ideas because they seem like too much work.  It’s the “we have too much on our plate already” line of thinking.

Roadblock: This is a typical one in fundraising and nonprofit work.  We’ve all heard this, right?

Way forward: The way we deal with this tactic is to give people a magic wand: “What would it take for this to happen?”  “Let’s pretend we had all the resources and time in the world. How do rate that idea now?”

3.  Fear mongering: This is when something emotional is brought up in the conversation that stops movement and raises anxiety.   It’s basically pushing hot buttons.

Roadblock: We see this a lot in the form of “this other organization sent me something like this and I hated it” or “This won’t work, I never answer the telephone and no one else does either.”

Way forward: We actually do an exercise where we ask people to stand up and repeat after us, “We are not the donor”.  We encourage decision-making based on facts, numbers, and our own unique donor audience, not on how we feel about fundraising personally.

4.  Ridicule and character assassination: This is when someone plants doubting seeds about the person whose idea it is. “No one else does this” or “you don’t know that” are two variations on this theme.

Roadblock: This doesn’t seem to happen that often directly in our experience, but insidious comments (that you aren’t quite sure how to take) are common and ideas are much more readily accepted if it’s someone who is at the top of the organization than further down the ladder.

Way forward: This is why it’s so important to gather all different points of view.  The best ideas come from the front lines and the front desk.  The top doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas, so we make sure everyone is heard.

Does any of this sound familiar?

In our Consultant Leadership Forum session, we discussed the idea of actually putting these four roadblock behaviors up for discussion before we even begin any sort of process. Maybe if we started by naming them, we’d all be more conscious. So few of us are even aware that we are doing these things.

In fact, I KNOW that I have been guilty of a few myself!  How about you? Have you had any experiences with fundraising naysayers?  How did you work around it to build consensus?

See also:

Ideas we discussed during the session: CLF.PeerIdeasBuildingBuyIn.July18.2013

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Pete, repeat and me

Pete and Prepeat sat on a fence. Pete fell off and who was left? Repeat.

I don’t know about you but I always found that saying annoyed me more that it inspired me. I got a fresh take on the power of repeat just last week during a gathering of the Consultant Leadership Forum sponsored by CausePlanet and The Denver Foundation. Six times a year we gather to learn from and with each other as we read a selection from CausePlanet’s Page to PracticeTM library. On deck this month was Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change by Chris Zook and James Allen (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012).

Our discussion revealed that the three key principles outlined in the book are apropos for nonprofits as well as consultants. Zook and Allen’s research revealed that sustainable companies applied three core principles. They have:

  1. A well-differentiated core – clarity of distinction
  2. Clear nonnegotiables – clarity of values
  3. Closed-loop learning – clarity of learning

These principles resonated with me as they speak to the importance of a sustainable nonprofit business model and a successful nonprofit strategy. Where to start? With book in hand, you begin with clarity about what makes your nonprofit unique and what it does well (and what it doesn’t do). You reinforce those via learning from customer and market feedback. Once you set up the learning process you can check-point your core and nonnegotiables to ensure relevance for the future. That’s what Repeat had – and Pete never quite mastered. No wonder Repeat has staying power.

By Karla Raines, Principal, Corona Insights

Read more Radiance blog posts at Corona Insights about nonprofit strategy

CausePlanet members: Register now for our next live author interview with Steve Rothschild on May 29 at 11 a.m. CST.

See also:

Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits

Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World

Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability

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Charity Case: Are nonprofits operating under a separate rule book?

Charity Case author Dan Pallotta explains the number of nonprofit organizations that have crossed the $50 million annual revenue barrier since 1970 is 144. He adds, the number of for-profits that have crossed it is 46,136, and as many as 80 percent of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. have budgets under $500,000. Finally, only one percent have budgets greater than $1 million.

Despite the fact that our sector is tackling issues of “massive proportions,” we are required to work under a separate rule book, one that doesn’t have any of the proven capital strategies our corporate sector leverages every day.

“This is the crux of the matter,” says Pallotta.

Pallotta explains this discriminatory rule book reflects five transgressions against our sector:

1) Compensation: We let the for-profit sector pay people a competitive wage based on the value they produce without limit. Want to make $50 million selling video games to children? Have at it, says Pallotta. “But if you want to pay the right leader half a million dollars to cure kids of malaria, you and the leaders are parasites yourselves.”

2) Advertising and marketing: Charities can’t build demand for donations to their causes while businesses advertise until the last dollar no longer produces a penny of value.

3) Risk taking in pursuit of new donors: While it’s okay if the movie industry spends $100 million on flops, a $5 million charity walk that doesn’t show a 75 percent profit in the first year is considered suspect. Consequently, nonprofits shy away from large-scale fundraising ideas and cannot benefit from powerful learning curves.

4) Time horizon: New companies can go six years without returning any profits to investors in the interest of building market dominance while charities that have long-term goals are expected to yield short-term, direct services. If they don’t deliver, they are pariahs.

5) Profit: Businesses can offer profits to cultivate investment capital, but there’s no such vehicle for charities. The social sector is starved for growth capital.

The author included a relevant quote from former president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Paulette Maehara. She says we are to blame for perpetuating some of these transgressions. “The sector has fallen into a trap we created. By focusing on what we DON’T spend, and not on what has been accomplished, we have completely missed the mark in our messaging. We are part of this problem and it’s up to us to educate our way out of it,” adds Maehara.

Pick up a copy of Dan Pallotta’s Charity Case. It’s a provocative look at some of the sector’s most persistent problems as well as Pallotta’s comprehensive answer to them.

Do you have personal experience with one of the transgressions mentioned above?

See also:

Page to Practice™ book summary of Charity Case
Page to Practice™ book summary of One-Hour Activist

Image credit: TED, danpallotta.com

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Why do half of all chief fundraisers want to quit?

Join me in taking a closer look at our latest feature at CausePlanet: Charity Case by Dan Pallotta. In Pallotta’s prior book, Uncharitable, he presents the problem with our social sector: the way our society has been taught to think about charity is backwards. Furthermore, the social sector is required to work with a different rule book than the corporate world, which prevents us from moving the needle on humanitarian issues. Uncharitable prompts readers to ask what we should do about it.

Charity Case is a comprehensive answer. It’s a blueprint for a national movement that will put our society on the right track to support social issues. Pallotta argues the social sector needs its own civil rights movement and explains his plan for a new “Charity Defense Council” to lead it. The Council should approach the problem from five angles: 1) Establish an Anti-Defamation League; 2) launch an aggressive, paid public media campaign; 3) enact a National Civil Rights Act for Charity and Social Enterprise; 4) establish a Legal Defense Fund; and 5) organize the sector on behalf of its own issues (including 17 ways to get involved in this movement).

We asked Pallotta about the foundation community’s role in his movement. His answer references an interesting article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy this week:

CausePlanet: The foundation community seems to be uniquely poised for funding and supporting some of the five strategies you’ve explored—especially because one of the problems is rooted in the misguided goal of maintaining a low overhead. What are your thoughts on this statement?

Pallotta: Foundations are notoriously risk-adverse, and they have a high rate of illiteracy about the power of fundraising. In fact, there is a story in the “Chronicle of Philanthropy” this week that says half of all chief fundraisers would like to quit their jobs, primarily because even their own CEOs don’t understand fundraising. Foundations understand it even less. I think the capital that foundations are sitting on would be well-used to fund an effort like this, but it’s going to take an enormous amount of work to get them to see the light.

Watch for more interview highlights with Pallotta in the upcoming weeks and follow him at www.charitycasebook.com and  www.charitydefensecouncil.org for more discussion about these issues.

See also:

Page to Practice summary of Charity Case

Page to Practice summary of One-Hour Activist

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Maximize your business planning with “repeatability”

Every once in a while the planets align. And when they do, it’s exciting to share about it. Two books we’ve recently added to our library of recommended titles reinforce one another and make a strong case for 1) purposeful business planning and 2) keeping it simple by adhering to three principles.

We recently featured The Nonprofit Business Plan: A Leader’s Guide to Creating a Successful Business Model. This book does a tremendous job of differentiating strategic planning from business planning and justifies why the two work in tandem to provide your board and executive director with more certainty in, well, an uncertain world.

I had the good fortune of landing one of the coauthors, Heather Gowdy, for a live and in-person interview at the LANO (Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations) annual conference in Baton Rouge this week. The interview was met with a great deal of questions and input—many thanks to those of you who participated.

Consider the merits of The Nonprofit Business Plan while I introduce you to our newest feature at CausePlanet: Repeatability by bestselling business authors Chris Zook and James Allen. This book was recommended to me by one of our readers (we always welcome requests) and its applications in the nonprofit sector are undeniable. The premise? Complexity is the silent killer of innovation.  If you adhere to three simple principles, your nonprofit can be more nimble and responsive to approaching opportunities without succumbing to protracted process or limited information.

Adhering to your well-differentiated core, clear nonnegotiables and closed-loop learning allow your organization to adapt to constant change from a source of stability. Your consistent bond with these key principles becomes your rudder as waves of opportunities present themselves or the changing environment demands a fitting response. If you worry about mission drift or charting unfruitful territory, consider how repeatable your business model is.

For those of you new to CausePlanet, we aim to satisfy professional curiosity, inform better book choices and promote best practices through Page to Practice™ book summaries, author interviews and relevant discussion by peer contributors. Download these book summaries or other titles by visiting our summary store or subscribing to summary library. Or try us out by printing a free sample.

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Using market forces to create social value

This week I wanted to share one of the many compelling stories from Beverly Schwartz’s “Rippling,” featuring a “changemaker” who uses market forces to create social value. “Far different from corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, these partnerships create a hybrid adaptation that establishes a profitable business for the sole purpose of supporting, fueling growth, and sustaining a social purpose,” says Schwartz.

Profit isn’t a dirty word
Schwartz adds “profit is not a dirty word—if profits are recycled back into the business or used to sustain or increase employment or wages and provide access to opportunities for those who are marginalized, impoverished, or in temporary need.” The following is one of the social entrepreneurs who illustrate how to use market forces to create a ripple effect in her community’s pond.

Finding opportunities within the problem
Albina Ruiz is building a community-based solid waste management system that plays an important role in improving sanitation and health conditions in Peru and other countries in Latin America. Every stage of the waste management cycle creates employment and income, integrating business and social value throughout the entire process. Ruiz admits she was obsessed with the trash that seemed to overwhelm Lima. Heaps of trash were everywhere in the city streets, rivers and vacant lots.

Trash equals jobs
Albina realized the garbage represented people. For every piece of trash discarded there was a person behind it and in front of it. Where everyone, including the union, saw trash, she saw an opportunity to create jobs, improve public health and improve the environment.

• Albina designed a new type of small tricycle truck that could fit in the narrow, hilly streets and around the garbage blocking the roads.

• She enlisted households within the slums to become paid recyclers who would sort the organics for animals as well as recyclables like bottles, iron scraps, paper, plastic and anything else they could reuse.

• She formed an association of these local changemakers who would partner with the tricycle trash collectors and coincide with the public campaign that encouraged residents to wait for these small trucks to pick up their trash rather than throw it in the streets. Incredible and obvious ripple effects result from Albina’s efforts.

Furthermore, some of her recyclers now make handcrafted products from the recycled items and sell them to high-end stores. “Albina’s primary tool is employment, and she uses it by organizing the recylcers into income-generating micro-enterprises, a strategy built into every state of the waste management cycle,” says Schwartz.

If you’d like to learn more about other social entrepreneurs and how they developed a sustainable business model, join us on July 11 at 11 a.m. CST for our monthly author interview. Visit www.causeplanet.org/interviews to register.

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You have the power to be a changemaker

Though your tax status may read “not-for-profit,” you’re running a business where the community must profit in social ways. The product you’re selling is change. But how much social change are you really creating? Our rapidly changing world has experienced progress economically, politically and socially. However, author Beverly Schwartz argues while progress mitigates some problems, it exacerbates others. Our planet requires more sophisticated solutions that are produced by effective organizations in the social sector.

Your business models must be relevant and every program clearly connected to outcomes that matter. Whether you are part of a large nonprofit or small one-person agency, you have the power to be a changemaker. Just take a look at the world’s small but mighty examples in Schwartz’s book, Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World.

The five sections in Schwartz’s book represent the five ripples in the pond of poverty, inequity and inadequate access to opportunity. The changing system, inspiration, innovation, and local and global impact converge to create what Schwartz calls virtuous cycles of social benefit that begin when people themselves become agents of change. These change agents influence others to do the same. “They set off perpetuating waves of motion that convey transformation both vertically and horizontally now and into the future,” says Schwartz.

Schwartz found all the social entrepreneurs she interviewed for her book possess four inherent qualities: purpose, passion, pattern and participation.

Purpose: These individuals put society above personal interests and firmly focus on fulfillment of their chosen role. They may take many roads to get there but the goal is sacrosanct.

Passion: Schwartz finds passion and purpose are inextricably linked together. Passion connects to the spirit and relates to strength of character, determination and connection to others. She further adds real strength lies not in the physical realm but in an indomitable spirit.

Pattern: These entrepreneurs’ patterns become models or guides for others to follow. Their patterns differ greatly, which affirms their individuality or the nature of an entrepreneur. Schwartz likes to say these people “build a better mousetrap” while at the same time eradicating the need for traps altogether by decreasing the population of mice.

Participation: Changemakers are often unanticipated leaders, says Schwartz. Whether they perceive themselves to be leaders or not, their ability to influence people and have them believe, follow and join is an attribute that is completely natural and a necessary component for impact. It is the quality that attracts involvement and eventually morphs into civic engagement.

Gather inspiration from this list and look around your organization. Do you have a changemaker in your midst who’s ready to take the next step? How can you build on their qualities and spread the spirit of innovation?

See also:

Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World
The Search for Social Entrepreneurship
Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World
Do More Than Give: The Six Practices of Donors Who Change the World

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What qualities do leading changemakers possess?

If your nonprofit business model is unsustainable, outdated or simply not making the difference you projected, gather inspiration and ideas from this author’s numerous examples gleaned from all over the world.

Find out why they all point to five consistent principles:

restructure industry norms
change market dynamics
use market forces to create social value
advance full citizenship
cultivate empathy

Beverly Schwartz’s new book, Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World, reads like a compelling story in each chapter while arming you with a roadmap for creating your own path to systemic change. Few books motivate you to step back and rethink your business model. Schwartz’s featured “changemakers” embody a new call to action: think differently and act accordingly.

I asked Schwartz about the qualities of these social entrepreneurs and here’s what she said in an excerpt of our interview:

CausePlanet: It’s remarkable how many of the social entrepreneurs possess little or no expertise in areas we as nonprofit leaders would deem essential. Instead, they demonstrate an even more critical set of skills, such as the inability to accept things the way they are or a predisposition for reframing old thinking or defying convention. What have you found to be the most consistent among these vital traits in changemakers?

Schwartz: Hands down, it is the ability of social entrepreneurs to have faith in themselves and to always see problems in terms of creative and new solutions. They recognize a problem and understand its nuances intimately, but don’t get caught in its intricacies. They are laser focused on not only working with, but being a part of the community they are serving, and persistence (with a dash or two of stubbornness) can always be found in abundance.

CausePlanet subscribers: Register for our author interview with Schwartz on July 11 at 11 a.m. CST.

See also:

The Search for Social Entrepreneurship

Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World

The Search for Social Entrepreneurship

 

 

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