Enter to Win - Social Enterprise Feasibility Study Course!

Did you miss your chance to enroll in the Social Enterprise Feasibility Study course at the discounted price?

Well, you're in luck! We're giving away this course FOR FREE to 5 lucky people on December 12, 2017.

Enter to win here, and share on social media with your social enterprise friends over the next 12 days.

7 Deadly Sins of Social Enterprise

There are a few phrases I hear all the time from social entrepreneurs, nonprofit staff and other change makers... and they make me cringe. Not only cringe, but get me fired up! These phrases are so detrimental to the success of your social enterprise, I'm calling these phrases the 7 deadly sins of social enterprise. These are the phrases that kill the progress, profitability, efficiency and success of your social enterprise business.

If you're guilty of saying any of these, it's not too late. You can change your mindset. I've included a "what to say instead" option with each of the sinful phrases below.

7 Deadly Sins of Social Enterprise

1 | "This is the way we've always done it."

I swear, I've heard this one more than any of the others. Just because you've always done it one way does not mean it still makes sense to do now. The world is changing, your industry is changing, technology is changing... and being able to adapt to those changes is CRUCIAL to making progress toward the results you want to achieve.

What to say instead: "I'm open to understanding new ways of doing what we've done before. I'm interested in learning and growing personally, to help the social enterprise achieve the social mission."

2 | "People will buy our product/service just because of the social mission/cause."

Nope. They won't. Your product or service has to be competitive on price, value, availability... all the same things that every other business competes on. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll find a customer who chooses to buy your product because ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, the social mission tips their purchase decision in your favor. But you CANNOT RELY ON SOMEONE BUYING YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE ON THE SOCIAL MISSION ALONE. Depending on the industry, you may find that even a few cents difference in price can change the consumer's mind to purchase the competitor's product versus your social enterprise product.

What to say instead: "People will buy our social enterprise product/service because it's competitively priced, a great value, quality product/service... AND it's mission is to help people or the planet."

3 | "I don't like numbers."

Too bad. Numbers are your friend. They are reliable. They are facts. If you don't know how to read financial statements, hire someone to help you. But just ignoring them or not paying attention to numbers is not an option. 

What to say instead: "I'm not comfortable with numbers but I'm willing to invest in someone that can help me understand what I need to know, in order to become comfortable."

4 | "I'm too busy."

If you say you're too busy, it means you're spending too much time doing the wrong things. Everyone is busy. Everyone has a lot on their plates. Everyone is managing family needs, with grocery shopping, with cleaning bathrooms, with multiple deadlines, with social events, with... you get the idea. We're all busy. You're not special. What can you do if you find yourself saying this? Do a time study of how you actually spend your time. What can you stop doing? What can you delegate to someone else? 

What to say instead: "I've been busy doing the wrong things in the past and will change my priorities to be in line with the best use of my time going forward."

5 | "I don't know anything about the industry, but I'm going to start a social enterprise in that industry anyway."

Fail. If someone wouldn't hire you for the job, why would you be qualified to start a business in that industry? This is a big problem for social enterprise. There are LOTS of people who have huge hearts and really want to do the right thing - make the world a better place. But if you don't understand the industry, the business model, trends, challenges... you'll find yourself frustrated, broke and not achieving the social or environmental mission you wanted to create in the first place. 

What to say instead: "Because I'm not yet familiar with the industry I want to start a social enterprise in, I will first learn about that industry through research and will work in that industry to truly understand what it takes to be successful."

6 | "We'll just get a grant for that."

Grants can be helpful to supplement or support your nonprofit's mission, but grants can often be a distraction from your core mission and processes. The time to research and apply for grants, let alone site visits and grant reports, is a full time job. So, go after the grants that make sense for YOUR organization, mission, values and needs. Don't chase dollars just because they are available.

What to say instead: "We will apply for grants that directly benefit the people we serve and align with our values and programs."

7 | "The intern will just do that." / "We can just get an intern to handle that."

Don't pile that stuff on your unpaid intern. Internships, and staff roles, are a reciprocal relationship. Your intern wants the same respect, personal/professional development opportunities, and challenges as anyone else. Give them the opportunity to do that. Don't pile all the crap you don't want to do (filing, social media, data entry) on the intern. 

What to say instead: "We will value all staff and interns, treat them with respect, and provide opportunities to learn and advance in their careers."

What other phrases do you hear at your social enterprise - either good or bad? How do these phrases shape the culture and success of your social enterprise? Let me know in the comments below!

Social Enterprise Hiring and Evaluation Guide

This Social Enterprise Hiring and Evaluation Guide is intended to organize hiring and evaluation of staff at your social enterprise, to be in line with the social enterprise company values and key traits of the role.

The free workbook includes a job description tab to outline the key responsibilities as well as traits and values that would make a good fit. This workbook also includes three interview guides for interviewing potential social enterprise staff candidates, and one evaluation guide for evaluating social enterprise staff performance annually. 

2017 Reader Survey Results!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in our 2017 Reader Survey! If you didn't get a chance to complete the survey, don't worry! We'll be collecting feedback in 2018 too - so we make sure to stay on track with exactly what you need for your social enterprise. If you have feedback or thoughts for us in the meantime, please drop us a note here

Our 2017 survey was completed through Google Forms in August and September 2017. Fifty-seven people completed the survey. The survey results will be used to shape our 2018 content and offerings for social entrepreneurs. 

A few highlights from the results: 

  • All continents were represented! Just over half of the responses were from social entrepreneurs in North America. Hello friends from all over the world! Nearly 40% of you have worked in your social enterprise 3-5 years, and over 60% are actively working to grow your social enterprise. Way to go!
  • Learning styles were fairly evenly split among reading, watching video and listening to audio. We're planning to add new multimedia opportunities to learn in 2018! 
  • The two big things our readers want to see from us are more trainings (free and paid) on best practices in social enterprise, and more face-to-face events with like-minded social entrepreneurs. Stay tuned for a few new ways we are bringing these opportunities to you!
  • We asked you what you're struggling with right now. Most of you said responses related to Funding and Marketing. When we asked what you struggle with the MOST, you responded with Funding, Time/Project Management, and Competitive Analysis (developing your unique value proposition). In 2018, we're excited to bring you new opportunities to work on these items. 
What do social enterprises need? Check out the highlights from our 2017 Reader Survey.

What else would you like to see from us in 2018? How can we help you start your social enterprise, grow your business and impact, and make the difference you are hoping to achieve? Let us know in the comments below! 

7 Things You Always Wanted to Ask About Social Enterprise

Have you found yourself asking questions about social enterprise, and just getting blank stares? 

Or trying to Google something about social enterprise, just to end up more confused than when you started? 

Let's answer some of the most common questions about social enterprise.

7 Things You Always Wanted to Know About Social Enterprise. Click through to get your questions answered!

1 | What is a social enterprise?

Ok, if you're reading this, maybe you already know what a social enterprise is. But if you're new here, let me explain. A social enterprise is an organization that sells products or services in order to achieve its social purpose. I have a whole post about this topic - check it out here!

2 | How do I know if my organization or business is a social enterprise?

Based on the definition above, there are a couple of key phrases we can pull out, to help us determine if your organization or business is a social enterprise.

"Sells products or services" = sells a tangible good or delivers a service for a fee. 

"Social purpose" = nonprofit with tax-exempt status for social purpose OR business with social purpose declared in Articles of Incorporation, in directors decision-making, and included in regular reporting.

If your organization sells a product or service and has a social purpose - BOOM - that's a social enterprise. 

A social enterprise can be "social" by:

Sharing: Organizations that exist to share some or all of their profits with charitable organizations or causes.

Selling: Organizations that make their impact through what they sell or to whom they sell it.

Sourcing: Organizations that develop their programs by how they make their products or services, typically using environmentally sustainable methods and employing the underserved.

3 | Can a social enterprise be a nonprofit? Can a social enterprise be a for-profit? Is a social enterprise both nonprofit and for-profit?

Yes!

Ok next question...

Kidding.

But yeah, a social enterprise can be a nonprofit, for-profit, or can be any kind of combination of these two. Women's Bean Project is a 501c3 nonprofit. Fair Anita is a Benefit Corporation (for-profit). CityKid Java is an LLC wholly-owned by a 501c3 nonprofit Urban Ventures. All of these are considered social enterprises, because they 1) sell a product or service and 2) have a social purpose they are trying to achieve. 

In the nonprofit sector, we call a social enterprise a COMMERCIAL NONPROFIT.

In the business sector, we call a social enterprise a SOCIAL BUSINESS.

4 | How many social enterprises exist in the world?

No one knows! Because the definition of a social enterprise is vague, flexible and just beginning to gain consensus (which is all fine in a newly shaping sector), it's been hard to exactly count how many social enterprises there are in the world. However, more developed social enterprise ecosystems like the United Kingdom have begun to count and measure these organizations. "Government statistics identify around 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £24 billion to the economy and employing nearly a million people." Source: Social Enterprise UK - The Future of Business - State of Social Enterprise Survey 2017

I've started a list of the social enterprises based in Minnesota. If I'm missing any, please let me know!

5 | How is a social enterprise different than a regular for-profit business?

While both a social enterprise and regular for-profit business have a product or service they are selling, social enterprise has a social/environmental purpose or mission they are also trying to achieve. 

6 | What makes a social enterprise successful?

It's easy to measure how successful a for-profit business is, right? Look at the bottom line and see if it's positive or negative. Are you making money or not? Pretty easy to measure. 

But measuring success in a social enterprise is more difficult. In addition to positive financial performance, there are a few ways to look at mission success:

Impact Measurement / Feedback Surveys

Some social enterprises measure their impact by asking the participants, or people impacted by the social enterprise's programs, about their experience. This could look like pre- and post- feedback surveys to measure changes in behavior, satisfaction, outlook about the future, etc. Social enterprises that have a workforce development or training component may measure impact by contacting past participants at 30, 60, 90 and 365 days after leaving the program, to find out their employment status, earnings, or other key metrics. 

Macro-Level Measurement / Global Goals for Sustainable Development

A social enterprise can also measure their success by showing their impact alongside other similar organizations, to create large-scale change. This could look like a group of social enterprises in your geographic region sharing information about progress toward one of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development

7 | This all sounds super freakin' cool. How can I be involved in social enterprise?

  • Buy from social enterprises. Spend your money with businesses that treat people and the environment well. Look for third-party certifications like B Corp, Fair Trade, 1% for the Planet and others, that show you the company has values in line with their operations. But not every social enterprise will have these certifications - so do your research.
  • Volunteer at a social enterprise. Many social enterprises are nonprofit organizations and are looking for help from volunteers to supplement their workforce. If you have expertise or even just moderate knowledge in an area, or can lend an extra set of hands to help out, you may be able to volunteer with a social enterprise in your community. Check out Volunteer Match for volunteer opportunities in your area.
  • Develop socially-minded practices at your own company. Alright - not every business in the world is going to drop everything and become a social enterprise, as much as I would like that. But, you can start now, where ever you are. No matter what role you're in or company you're at, you can find a way to incorporate socially-minded practices into your own work. What do I mean by socially-minded practices? Think about the ways your current job impacts customers, suppliers, the supply chain, the environment... are there small changes you could make to your own job that would treat people better (pay a living wage, improve their quality of life, more fulfilling work, safer working conditions, opportunities for skill development and advancement) and improve the environment (less waste, more efficient logistics routes, more recycling, buying locally, environmentally-friendly raw materials)? Take a minute to think about that. I bet there's one small change you could make to what you're doing right now. 
  • Get a job at a social enterprise. Many social enterprises are in the start-up phase of business growth, meaning, jobs are somewhat few and far between. But, there are social enterprise jobs out there. Get the Ultimate Social Enterprise Job Search Guide here, with a download to organize your social enterprise job search. 
  • Tell three people about social enterprise. Even though social enterprises have been around for over 100+ years (shoutout, Goodwill!), it's still a fairly new concept to most people. Tell three friends or family members about what you learned from this post. 

What else do you want to know about social enterprise? Leave me a comment below or send a private message.

SOCAP17 Recap

I was lucky enough to attend SOCAP17 in October 2017 in San Francisco, CA at Fort Mason, thanks to a local funder, the Bush Foundation. This was my first time attending this conference, although I've wanted to attend since the beginning (2007). 

Attending SOCAP for the first time? Read this recap of SOCAP17!

Many attendees arrive at SOCAP with one mission in mind: "Find impact investors who will fund my social enterprise." I had different goals. I had strong intent to meet as many of the 3,000 attendees as possible, attend workshops and networking events for 10+ hours each day, and share the stories of social entrepreneurs through #SocEntMoment videos on social media. But I failed miserably at this. Best laid plans, right?

The morning I got on the airplane to SFO, was the morning the wildfires started in Napa and Sonoma, CA. I received text messages and calls from concerned friends and family about our safety. Arriving at SFO that afternoon, I could already see the smoke in the sky, and feel the heaviness in my lungs. 

SOCAP17 started the next day. If you follow Social Good Impact on Instagram, you'll remember my not-so-great start to the day. I couldn't find the building for my day-long session. I tried to check-in at registration and was yelled at by a SOCAP staff member. I was already feeling ill from the smoke and my mood was dampened. 

I'd reviewed the conference sessions and had a few in mind that sounded interesting. After all, I'd heard from people who had attended SOCAP before, that the best way to approach the conference is to have a plan.

But for the rest of the conference, I decided to have no plan. I attended sessions randomly that I thought might be interesting, but not necessarily the ones I'd planned on. I met people who happened to be around, but not necessarily anyone I PLANNED on meeting. I hopped on to do some live video when the WiFi was stable, but didn't get to accomplish my goal of showcasing social enterprise stories through #SocEntMoment clips. 

And this was ok. I didn't get to do what I'd set out to do, and I was ok. 

I didn't meet 3,000 people, but the few dozen I did meet were high-quality, and I got to reconnect in person with a few people I haven't seen in a few years (see: Jonathan Lewis). I didn't attend every session I wanted to, but of the sessions I did attend, I found value:

Jed Emerson's talk on the Purpose of Capital and Focusing on the Why. I've seen Jed speak before at the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit, and this was a new side of Jed. Heartfelt, strong, straight-forward. Worth the 15 minute watch. You can read the full transcript here, but this section in particular stood out:

"The Purpose of Capital is to advance a more progressively free and just experience of life for all;

The Purpose of Capital is to negate, resist and challenge the present economic, social, environmental and political realities within which we now find ourselves;

The Purpose of Capital is to advance the fulfillment of our potential as a thriving planet and valued people;

The Purpose of Capital is to serve as a fuel for freedom and the attainment of the greatest potential for each person, in every community." - Jed Emerson

(Also, you can find the full SOCAP17 video playlist here.)

James Higa's keynote on 10 things he learned working for Steve Jobs at Apple. I won't list all 10 verbatim but will summarize with this: 

  • Simplicity = Clarity. There is no such thing as a small project. Projects distract you from focusing on the simple clarity of one main project. 
  • Hire people smarter than you. Build a team of A players at every level.
  • Excellence is a habit; practice it every day in every thing. Mistakes are a slide to mediocrity. 
  • Vision + Execution = Success. Do the critical thinking, research and analysis before you create your MVP and iterations. 

Most of the sessions seemed to include a "show and tell" component, and reflections over the past 10 years. (This was the 10th year of SOCAP, so that may have been why.) And while reflection time is good, I was hoping for more action-oriented, forward-focused, metrics-driven content. 

Overall, I came up with a TON of ideas for new free resources for the #socent toolkit. Stay tuned for new social enterprise tools and resources coming soon. If you don't already have access to the free #socent toolkit, you can sign up here.

If I'm lucky enough to attend SOCAP again, there are a couple things I'd do differently. 

  • I would spend WAY MORE time at the picnic tables outside the Festival Pavilion. You'll see these in every photo of SOCAP. I made more connections, had deeper conversations, and learned more from informal conversations near the picnic tables than I did anywhere else at SOCAP. 
  • I would attend every evening dinner, happy hour, networking event possible. This seemed to be the "secret menu" of SOCAP - finding house parties, dine-arounds and other networking opportunities to REALLY get to know people. 

So let me know in the comments below - what did you think of SOCAP17? Or other years you've attended SOCAP? 

Plus - if you attended SOCAP or not, and you're looking to connect with like-minded people year-round, join our private Facebook group called SocEntChat - Social Enterprise Chat

You Might Be a Crappy Coworker (And How to Be an Awesome Coworker Instead)

Social enterprises attract some amazing talent. Like, social entrepreneurs are kind of like the rainbow unicorns of the working world, right? I mean, who wouldn't want to work for a business that's trying to solve large-scale social and environmental issues and change the world for the better? Only the best and smartest work in nonprofits and social enterprises, right?

But social enterprises are not immune from having bad coworkers. They are everywhere. And you might be one. Tough love, I know. Everyone has something they aren't great at, and has (as they say in HR) "opportunities for improvement," so I'm taking this time to lay out some of the traits of bad coworkers and good coworkers, in hopes that we can all work better together.

You might be a crappy coworker. Click through to find out!

You might be a crappy coworker if...

You don't respond to emails, phone calls or other correspondence in a timely fashion. Your coworkers need you to respond. Now, there's plenty of resources about managing emails (See: Getting Things Done), so "drowning in your inbox" isn't an excuse. When you receive an email, think about who else needs to know about it, and what action should be taken. 

You are a bottle neck for project flow. If other people are constantly waiting for you to do your part, you're a bottle neck. Try this: when you're starting your day, find the tasks and projects that OTHER PEOPLE need you to do, and do those items first. 

You respond to coworkers with "That's not my job" and/or "I'm too busy for that." We're all busy and we all have "other duties as assigned" in our job description. If you're too busy to do your job, talk to your manager about your workload. I bet you're spending time on things that don't matter instead of things that do. And yeah, certain tasks might not be actually written in your job description, but sometimes a project is a team effort and you have a part to play in that. I'm not saying you should do other people's jobs FOR THEM. I'm saying - don't be a jerk about chipping in once in a while.

You stink. Literally. If you wear perfume or cologne to work, you're probably a crappy coworker. I mean, why? Why do you smell like that? Who are you trying to impress? This goes for bad smelling laundry detergent, dryer sheets, soap, hair spray, etc. Whatever is making you smell bad. Gross. Also, that stinky lunch you're eating at your desk? Stop it. That fish you microwaved? Stop it. Stop stinking up the place. I once worked with a guy that I could smell before I could see him. That's a problem.

You treat people that don't look like you differently. This is illegal. Discrimination is not ok, ever. As someone who has been discriminated against and treated differently than older, male coworkers, this creates an unfair, uncomfortable and unproductive work environment. 

You do work that isn't your best. Just try to do your best. No one is perfect. But you're a crappy coworker if you consistently don't try to do your best. 

You're late. Being late is a sign of disrespect. It shows you don't care about your coworkers or value their time. Early is on time and on time is late... and late is a big FU.

You're unprepared. Bring a pen and paper (or laptop) to meetings. Bring relevant notes and knowledge (be prepared). Bring a calculator if it makes sense. Bring a water bottle and/or coffee thermos. Whatever you need to be the most attentive and productive member of that meeting, bring it. 

You're not respectful of shared space and individual boundaries. If you work in an office, warehouse, or otherwise, you probably have a small dedicated space to do your work, and some type of shared space with your coworkers. If you're approaching someone's individual space, do so with respect. Knock on their door or cubicle wall, ask to enter or if you can interrupt, and be efficient with your time. In shared spaces (lunchroom, break room, bathroom, conference room), clean up after yourself. If you need to talk to a coworker about a work issue while they are on their break, ask them if that's ok before launching into your issue. Also, use an appropriate volume of your voice when you're on the phone or talking with someone. 

You need to be reminded all the time and you don't listen. How ever you manage tasks, projects and your calendar is fine by me. But, you've got to manage it. If you don't know how, ask for help. Listen, pay attention, and follow through. Respond. Look people in the eyes.

You suck at your job. Some people end up in jobs that just aren't a good fit for them. If you just don't know how to do your job, talk to your manager. Or learn. Or do better. Or get a different job. But don't stay in a job you suck at. It's not good for your coworkers and it can't possibly be enjoyable for you. 

 

How to Be an Awesome Coworker

Try your best. That's all anyone is asking from you. If it's not your best, try harder.

Learn. If you're not good at something, learn. Or do something else. But don't just keep being bad at it. That's not fun or productive.

Listen, respond, and follow through. Be open and receptive to feedback. Be willing to help others, and you'll get the help you need from them.

Treat others with respect. This is just a general life best practice. Don't be a jerk. Have basic manners - say please and thank you. You know, be a nice human, eh?

Smell like nothing. The smell of nothing means you are clean without chemicals.

You might be a crappy coworker. Click through to find out!

A (Somewhat) Quick Guide to Social Enterprise Funding

After receiving messages for over a year about challenges facing social entrepreneurs, there is a common theme: One of the biggest struggles facing social enterprises is understanding, and access to, start-up and growth funding.

What types of social enterprise funding are available to new social entrepreneurs?

What funding should I consider as a nonprofit social enterprise? What about as a for-profit social enterprise?

How do I know I need funding for my social enterprise and what would I use it for?

But before looking for funding or approaching any of these funders, investors or options below, you will want to have a good social enterprise idea and a strong business plan

Quick note before we jump in: I know this isn't a complete list and will be adding resources as they come available and as YOU let me know. If an opportunity is missing from this list, please let me know and I'll add it. And bookmark this page so you can revisit it later and get funding for your social enterprise.

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for our list of social enterprise funding options!

Let's take a look at each of these options. 

*Note: Many of these funding options are related to the United States, although there are international opportunities included throughout. 

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for our list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Savings/Self-Fund

What is it?

Your personal or organization's savings. This could be earned income from previous sales, savings from previous fiscal years set aside to start a social enterprise, or an individual's savings if you're a social entrepreneur.

How do you get it?

Save. But for real, there are tons of articles on advice for saving money, so we won't get into that here. Please do know that as a nonprofit organization, it's ok (and preferred!) to have money leftover at the end of the year to reinvest in your organization. Talk with your organization's Chief Financial Officer about how this money is saved and used, and brainstorm starting a social enterprise as one use for these funds.  

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Friends and Family

What is it? 

Money, either as a loan or not, from a friend or family member. who wants to invest in your social enterprise. 

How do you get it?

Ask for their support. You may be surprised at who wants to help your social enterprise get off the ground or grow! The friend or family member may give you money without an expectation of repayment, or they may prefer to loan you money to be repaid at a later date. So - just be really clear about what your friend or family member is expecting - maybe even put the agreement in writing. You don't want to ruin any relationships by having a misunderstanding about money. 

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Philanthropic Grants

What is it?

Funds from a foundation or other grant-giving institution. There is usually an application and review process before you receive funds, which may include submitting a theory of change and business plan. The funding may be tied to meeting specific outcomes, as reported through a grant report. 

How do you get it?

Complete the grant application for the funder. Most grants require that your organization is registered and in good standing as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, or that you have a fiscal sponsor who is one. You'll want to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements and can actually deliver on the results you propose, before applying for the grant. A few foundations that have been associated with funding social enterprises in the past are:

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The Chicago Community Trust

Calvert Foundation

St. Paul Foundation

McKnight Foundation

Northwest Area Foundation

Joyce Foundation

REDF 

VentureWell

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Blue Ridge Labs

Manhattan Institute

Chinook Fund

Kauffman Foundation

Otto Bremer Foundation

The Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation

The Kresge Foundation

Blandin Foundation

Bush Foundation

p.s. Let me know of other funders and I'll list them here! Drop me a line. 

PRO TIP: When you visit event/fellowship or other websites related to social enterprise below, look for sponsors of those events. Those companies and organizations could also be potential funders of your social enterprise!

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Social Enterprise Business Plan Competitions

What is it?

There are a number of business plan competitions you can enter for your social enterprise. Usually, you will complete an online application and submit your idea and/or a full business plan. Depending on the competition, there may be a number of rounds to narrow the applicants based on votes through social media, or expert judges votes. Not only are business plan competitions a great way to find potential funding, but also advisors, board members and other supporters who can help grow your social enterprise. 

How do you get it?

Win! Or there may be prizes if you're a runner up. A few examples of social enterprise business plan competitions:

McKinsey Venture Academy is a social enterprise competition for university students based in the UK and Ireland.

Harvard Business School New Venture Competition

Hult Prize

Net Impact has a number of Challenges, Competitions and Fellowships

University of Florida Big Idea Gator Business Plan Competition

Eureka! Road to Enterprise

Global Social Venture Competition

The Rise Fund: Under 30 Impact Challenge

PRO TIP: If you haven't written a business plan before, don't worry! We have a free business plan template in our #socent toolkit. Download our business plan template for free!

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Fellowships and Accelerators

What is it?

A social enterprise fellowship or accelerator is a cohort or individual experience, usually including face-to-face learning time and often with online or virtual sessions, aimed at growing (accelerating the growth) of your social enterprise business. These can be roughly 6 months to 2 years in length, depending on the program, and are a great way to meet like-minded people who can be a sounding board for your social enterprise. Often times, the fellowship or accelerator will include a small amount of start-up funding, or the option to apply for funding.

How do you get it?

Complete an application and give it your best shot! Similar to grant funding applications, you will likely need to have a business plan and theory of change prepared as part of the application process. A few examples of social enterprise fellowships and accelerators are:

Echoing Green

Global Good Fund

REDF Accelerator

Kauffman Fellows

Ashoka

Civic Accelerator

Uncharted 

Blue Ridge Labs

Agora Partnerships Accelerator

Voqal Fellowship

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Crowdfunding

What is it?

Crowdfunding is sourcing small amounts ($1-$500 typically) of funds from MANY people, usually in a short period of time. Your crowdfunding contributors pledge the amount they are comfortable with, and usually have the option to choose from a variety of thank you gifts based on their contribution level. Crowdfunding campaigns have been very popular recently, including in the social enterprise sector. It's not only a way of finding funding, but also finding supporters and customers to grow your social enterprise. You'll want to use a crowdfunding campaign strategy when launching a new product, or taking on a new endeavor that requires cash up front (buying a new large piece of equipment in order to be more efficient, for example).

How do you get it?

There are tons of resources online about how to successfully fund a crowdfunding campaign, so here, we'll just talk about a few of the options:

Kickstarter is one of the most well known crowdfunding platforms. This is an all-or-nothing platform, so if you aren't fully funding at the end of the timeframe, you don't receive the funding. It's focused on creative projects so consider that before joining. 

There's a newer crowdfunding platform JUST FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS called StartSomeGood. And Crowdfund 360 can help you develop the plan to achieve your crowdfunding goals.

Other popular crowdfunding platforms are IndiegogoGoFundMe and Crowdrise. All are fairly similar, but read through their individual websites to see which is the best for you. 

Another platform that's gaining traction is Patreon. While this isn't the same style as other crowdfunding, it is an interesting way for individuals to contribute support on a monthly basis, in exchange for rewards. We set up a Patreon page for Social Good Impact earlier this year - You can become a Patreon member here! Plus, if you're interested in creating a Patreon page for your social enterprise, click here to earn bonuses up to $500!

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Loans 

What is it?

According to CDFIfund.gov, "Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, are mission-driven financial institutions that have been certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. CDFIs include credit unions, banks, loan funds, and venture capital funds that operate with a primary mission of serving low-income communities."

How do you get it?

Search the database to find where CDFI Funds have been distributed in your state. Then apply for a loan with one of the awardee organizations. A couple examples are the Nonprofit Finance Fund and Nonprofits Assistance Fund

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Bank Loans

What is it?

A loan from a banking institution that you pay back over a period of time, and pay interest on the amount of the loan. The banker may need collateral (something to ensure you're able to pay back the loan, if you default) in order to approve your loan. You may want to get a loan for a large purchase, like a piece of equipment, to start or grow your social enterprise. 

How do you get it?

Apply for a loan with a bank you trust. If possible, find a nonprofit bank, like a credit union

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Bank Line of Credit

What is it?

Similar to a bank loan, but more flexible. Think of this like your credit card. Your credit card has a maximum limit you can spend, and you receive your statement each month to pay off. A Line of Credit (LOC) is can be helpful if your business has cash flow issues, A/R lag time, or needs for short-term cash, with the intent to pay back right away. 

How do you get it?

Similar to a bank loan, apply for the line of credit with a bank you trust. If possible, find a nonprofit bank, like a credit union

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Impact Investing, Angel Investors and Venture Capital

What is it?

Impact investing is a newer term and a big buzz phrase in social enterprise right now. According to GIIN, impact investing is basically "investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return."

Angel investors are usually affluent individuals who have money (capital) for your social enterprise to start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt (debt that will be converted to equity later) or ownership equity (equity in your social enterprise now).

On the other hand, a venture capitalist is an investor who either provides start-up or growth loan capital or equity capital.

How do you get it?

The GIIN's Investors' Council has a large list of impact investors.

Investor's Circle has opportunities for impact investing in select US states.

Interested in impact investing for yourself? Search Impact Base's online database to get started. 

Social Enterprise Funding: Non-traditional and other ideas

Your church or faith-based group may have a budget for local missions, and could support your social enterprise efforts. 

A local rotary or other business networking group may have opportunities for annual grants or loans for start-up of your venture. 

Host an event! Ticket sales, silent or live auctions, and raffles can be a great way to generate cash. Don't forget - you can sell your social enterprise product at the event too! With events, be cautious about how much time you spend on it, or it could be a losing battle.

As with any of the options mentioned here, make sure you're following your local laws on fundraising, taxes, etc.

What else? How have you funded your social enterprise start-up and growth? What has worked well and what hasn't? Let me know in the comments below!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Join our Patreon and Win a Free Coaching Session!

Since 2015, Social Good Impact has been equipping social entrepreneurs and change makers with the tools to change the world

By creating Social Good Impact, I want to bring the very best business tools and resources to social entrepreneurs for FREE. You got it. Business planning, business coaching, and strategy sessions can cost a small, start-up social enterprise thousands of dollars, and I want to provide this valuable information for free. I've learned a lot from working in social enterprises for the past 12 years, and I have the formal business credentials to back it (MBA). I want to share all of that juicy knowledge with you - the social entrepreneur, trying to make the world a better place.

But it does cost something to create these free resources for social entrepreneurs - time, website hosting, equipment, etc. By joining our Patreon, we can continue to bring you incredibly valuable content that you can use to start, grow and manage your social enterprise.

We've set the goals a little different than other Patreon pages. Instead of only monetary goals, we also have give-back goals. That's right - the more Patreon Supporters contribute, the more we give-back. 

Our goal is that together, we can solve the world's issues and build a future that works for everyone. 

And what about the free coaching session?

Yup - you heard that right!

If you're one of the first to join our Patreon at any level, you'll be automatically entered to win a free business coaching session with me (Beth)!

One winner will be drawn each day, for 10 days, starting TODAY, THURSDAY, JULY 13. This is an added bonus to the other awesome rewards you get at any level. 

FAQs


What is Patreon?

Patreon is a "crowdfunding platform for creatives." Learn more about Patreon here.


What are the rewards?

Rewards are available at every level, starting at just $1 per month! You can swing that, right?

Also, at every level, you get to vote on where we donate 10% of our earnings. As you contribute more, the rewards get better - including monthly mastermind video chats, one-on-one calls, and advertising space on socialgoodimpact.com! Check out all of the rewards here!
 

How does the give-back work?

When you become a Patreon supporter of Social Good Impact, you're not just supporting the work we do - creating awesome tools and resources to start, build and grow your social enterprise. You're also getting a vote on where we will donate 10% of our total earnings. That's right - the more you contribute, the more we give.


Do I have to become a Patreon supporter to access the #socent toolkit?

Nope! My philosophy is this - if you're just starting out and exploring the social enterprise industry, please enjoy the tools in the #socent toolkit for free. I don't want you to feel discouraged from starting something that matters, just because you don't have the means to pay at this time.

But, if you like what you're seeing on Social Good Impact and want to make sure we can keep creating useful tools, consider joining our Patreon at any level, to help cover our expenses and grow the social enterprise field. If you've downloaded a tool from our #socent toolkit and found it helpful in understanding social enterprise, or growing/managing your social enterprise business, please join our Patreon today.

Social Enterprise Partnership Matrix

Social Enterprise Partnership Matrix

If you work in a large nonprofit, or complex organization, you need this partnership matrix. This workbook helps to identify key ORGANIZATIONAL partners, and opportunities for deeper engagement. It is intended for internal use only. This is not intended to be used for individual supporters, only organizations/corporations. It is best for a large or complex social enterprise or nonprofit, that has many staff interacting with external organizational partners.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Cost of Goods Planner for Social Enterprises

Cost of Goods Planner for Social Enterprises


This cost of goods planner workbook is intended to help identify all ingredient costs that contribute to your product's cost of goods. By understanding the COGS of your products, you can better manage margin and pricing, to be profitable and sustainable. This tool is meant to be completed when starting your social enterprise, or developing new products, and then reviewed annually.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Competitive Analysis for Social Enterprises

Competitive Analysis for Social Enterprise

How well do you know your competition? Are you priced right for the market and industry? This workbook is intended to help you organize your competitive analysis and research, in order to price your social enterprise's products and services appropriately. Use this workbook along with the COGS Planner to understand your costs and pricing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

26 Essential Social Enterprise Books

BONUS

This post contains affiliate links.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps

Coming up with a good social enterprise idea is one of the biggest hurdles new social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations face. We want to “do good,” but how do we actually develop those innovative and sustainable social enterprise ideas?

By the end of this post, you’ll have the five steps to finding your social enterprise idea. But before we dig in, download the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook to keep track of your ideas as we brainstorm!

Let’s jump right in and talk about how to generate ideas for social enterprise at your nonprofit organization and social entrepreneurship ideas to create on your own.

The best social enterprise ideas are built off of four main components:

  1. Passion
  2. Talent
  3. Market
  4. Cause

I call this Intersection, the SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SWEET SPOT.

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

Whether you’re developing social entrepreneurship ideas for yourself or social enterprise ideas for your nonprofit, we’ll go through the steps to find the perfect idea.

 

1 | PASSION

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

What do you love to do?

What gets you so happy you talk about it all the time?

What are your hidden talents and hobbies?

What do you do in your spare time? What would you do if you didn’t need to work?

What is your team super excited about?

Maybe your nonprofit already has areas they are passionate about. If you’re looking to start a social enterprise with a team, be sure to write down all of the passions of the team members.

 

Don't worry about business ideas just yet - write down everything that you are passionate about in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

 

2 | TALENT

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

What are you good at?

What are your natural skills and abilities?

What are you formally trained in or have education in?

What did you go to school for? What do you have a certification in?

What does your organization know how to do really well?

Do you work for a nonprofit organization that is the best at preparing young adults for work? If you’re working on this with a team, write down all of the talents and skills for individual team members, as well as skills of the organization.

Write down all of your talents and skills in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

 

3 | MARKET

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

Now this section may take a little work, just a heads up. But this is SO WORTH IT. This is the part that creates the BUSINESS of your social enterprise idea. Because without someone to pay you, you just have a nonprofit program. And don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly a time and place for nonprofit programs. But, if you can find an ideal customer who will pay you for a product or service, well then you’ve got yourself a social enterprise.

What is there a market opportunity for?

What will customers pay you for?

What products or services could you charge a fee for?

What problems exist that a customer would pay you for?

Sometimes it’s easier to think about this question in terms of what do people complain about. What have you noticed or heard in your community as a problem?

Write down any potential market opportunities in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

 

4 | CAUSE

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

This is probably going to be the easiest part of the whole process to identify, because just by finding and reading this post, you have an interest in solving a social or environmental issue.

What social or environmental issue are you trying to solve?

You probably already have an idea about what cause you are most passionate about, and maybe even listed it above already!

Perhaps you or someone you know has suffered because of a social or environmental issue. Perhaps you feel strongly about a particular cause from past volunteer experience. Nearly all social entrepreneurs I’ve met have some type of personal tie to the cause they are supporting through their social enterprise, and trust me - this personal drive really helps stay grounded and keep your social enterprise running when you want to throw in the towel. #socentrealtalk

If you’re not totally sure what cause to support, if you’re new to all of this, or need ideas, check out the Global Goals for Sustainable Development at www.globalgoals.org.

In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
— www.globalgoals.org

Write down the cause area you choose to support in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

 

5 | INTERSECTIONS

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

Now comes the super fun part!

DEVELOP YOUR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IDEA BY FINDING INTERSECTIONS

Review the first two pages of the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

What themes do you recognize?

Do all of your ideas have to do with women’s empowerment and products for women? Do all of your ideas circle around recycling and diverting waste from the landfill?

What combinations of ideas go together?

Let’s say you’re passionate about cooking, and work for a nonprofit working with homeless youth. You’ve noticed that there’s a food desert (no/low access to healthy food) in the neighborhood. Could there be an opportunity to create a food truck that delivers healthy food to low income communities? See how those ideas fit together? Take some time in this section to really think and explore combinations. The combinations of ideas don’t necessarily have to be around a theme. Let your creativity go wild here!

What ideas stand out to you or get you most excited?

Trust me - you’re going to need that excitement. If you’re not bursting-at-the-seams excited about an idea, cross it off. For example, you may have cooking skills but don’t enjoy food prep or clean up, so you’re not going to be excited to start a new social enterprise in food service. See what I mean? Circle all of the ideas that get you really excited, and cross off anything that doesn’t.

Write down all of those combinations and intersections in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SWEET SPOT

Pick out the best idea from the intersections above in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook, and write that in the space provided. Draw some hearts and stars, exclamation points, or whatever you fancy. That's your Social Enterprise Sweet Spot!

You did it! CONGRATS!

 

This is just the first step in starting a social enterprise business.

If you're serious about actually launching a social enterprise business, you'll want to write feasibility study and a full business plan and make sure your idea is relevant, sustainable, and marketable. I probably gave you a mini heart attack - just reading the words "feasibility study" and "business plan" - but I'm here to help.

I created a social enterprise feasibility study course just for you to easily take the next step. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

15 Businesses by Women, for Women - A Shopping Guide for #DayWithoutAWoman

What is the #DayWithoutAWoman about?

“On International Women's Day, March 8th, women and our allies will act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.

The Women's March supports the feminists of color and grassroots groups organizing the International Women’s Strike on International Women's Day, March 8th, 2017. In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women's March, together we will mark the day by recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system--while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.  

Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:

  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor

  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).

  3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman” -womensmarch.com/womensday

On March 8, I will be wearing red, taking the day off from all my jobs, and avoiding shopping that day. But, I will always support shopping and supporting these amazing businesses that are woman-led/owned, and support women in the United States and around the world.

If you're looking to support women-owned businesses that also improve the lives of women through social enterprise work, please consider supporting the organizations below. 

We've created a handy guide to download, and reference anytime you need a reminder of where to shop and make a difference.

 

 

15 Businesses by Women, for Women

A Shopping Guide for #DayWithoutAWoman

 

1 | BAM Essentials

Organic Personal Care Products

BAM Essentials’ mission is to create organic personal care products, by training young women with the work and life skills to succeed.
— bamessentials.org
Creating sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone.

We believe that in order to end poverty, we must empower women to transform their lives.We do this through business training and mentoring, and we’re good at it.

We have found that for women to successfully move out of poverty, what they need is confidence and business skills. Our model allows them to leave poverty behind...for good.
— beadforlife.org

Our pick: Shimmer Necklace

 

3 | Bird & Stone

Jewelry

Bird + Stone was founded on the principle that jewelry can do good and in fact, improve the world. We empower each consumer to be a “micro-philanthropist” - making meaningful change through the simple act of purchasing jewelry. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and most importantly help shape the dreams of deserving women who are aspiring to be independent, financially stable, and educated. By giving women opportunities in the developing world, we help them pull themselves out of poverty.
— birdandstone.com

Our pick: The Future is Female - Silver Cuff   Each bracelet gives $5 to Planned Parenthood of NYC!
 

4 | BRANDED Collective

Jewelry

The BRANDED Collective employs survivors of human trafficking from Nashville-based non-profit End Slavery Tennessee. BRANDED is an economic empowerment jobs program where the women collaborate with local artisans to design and handcraft the jewelry collection.
— brandedcollective.com

Our pick: Brass Layered Necklace

 

5 | Bright Endeavors  

Candles

Bright Endeavors transforms the lives of young moms by teaching these strong women to craft premium soy candles in a supportive, professional environment. Through our paid job training program, we provide the guidance and job skills young moms need to secure quality employment and begin on a path towards professional success.
— brightendeavors.org

Our pick: Lemon Tea candle

 

6 | Cora

Organic Tampons

We’re committed to giving all women access to safe and effective period products as well as valuable and trustworthy information to educate and empower. +pads given to girls in need.
— cora.life

Our pick: Free trial! Just pay for shipping.

 

7 | Fair Anita

Jewelry and Accessories

Fair Anita is a social enterprise that’s all about empowering women from around the world with dignified jobs and fair trade relationships. Our talented artisan partners carefully design and create all products by hand—gorgeous accessories you can be proud to wear!
— fairanita.com

Our pick: Fight for What’s Right bracelet


 

8 | FashionABLE

Leather goods, Jewelry, Scarves

FASHIONABLE is a socially conscious accessories brand dedicated to creating sustainable business that promotes economic change. We are committed to making beautiful, quality products while also supporting commerce and changing lives both locally and globally.
— livefashionable.com

Our pick: Menbere Foldover Bag

 

9 | Global Mamas  

Clothing and Accessories

Founded in 2003, the Global Mamas community is comprised of thousands of people from around the world working together with the mission of creating prosperity for African women and their families. Our Mamas define prosperity as going beyond financial well-being to include happiness and good health. They achieve prosperity by creating and selling unique, handcrafted products of the highest quality. Being able to do the work they love and being empowered by financial independence leads to greater happiness. Our Mamas realize their dreams of having the opportunity to support their families, send their children to school, improve their health, and save for the future.
— globalmamas.org

Our pick: Home Apron Gardening - Hanging Ferns: Navy


 

10 | MADE by DWC

Clothing, Accessories, Upcycled Gifts

MADE by DWC is a social enterprise created by the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) to break the cycles of chronic homelessness and unemployment. By empowering women to discover talents and develop skills through vocational opportunities, MADE by DWC generates economic and social capital to support programs at DWC and create opportunities for women to overcome barriers to employment.
— madebydwc.org

Our pick: Repurposed Book Journal


 

11 | My Sister

Clothing

My Sister is fighting sex trafficking, one shirt at a time.

My Sister’s mission is to prevent sex trafficking, educate communities, empower the population, provide after-care for survivors and offer growth opportunities to at-risk women through the sales of our statement-making, ethically-sourced apparel and accessories.
— mysister.org

Our pick: Feminist Black Sweatshirt

 

12 | Sseko Designs  

Footwear, Leather Bags, Accessories

Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that hires high potential women in Uganda to make sandals to enable them to earn money through dignified employment that will go directly towards their college educations and ensure they will continue pursuing their dreams. To date, we’ve enabled 60 women to continue on to university. We currently employ 50 women in Uganda from all walks of life. We believe that every woman has a dream. When she is given the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter and more just and beautiful world.
— ssekodesigns.com
Starfish Project is an organization that cares for women escaping human trafficking and exploitation in Asia. We provide life-changing opportunities through our Holistic Care Programs and our innovative social enterprise where women create beautiful jewelry, but also become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers.
— starfishproject.com

Our pickCarter-Blue; Crystal & Gold earrings

 

14 | Thistle Farms  

Personal care products and more

Thistle Farms is a powerful global community of women healing from prostitution, trafficking and addiction. We employ 50 survivors through our social enterprises: Thistle Farms Home & Body, Thistle Stop Cafe, and an artisan studio. Thistle Farms Global helps employ more than 1500 women.
— thistlefarms.org

Our pick: Bath salts

 

15 | Women’s Bean Project  

Bean Soup, Food and Jewelry

Women’s Bean Project believes all women have the power to transform their lives through employment. So we hire women who have been chronically unemployed and teach them to work by creating nourishing products. They learn to stand tall, find their purpose and end the cycle of poverty. Because when you change a mother’s life, you change her family’s life.
— womensbeanproject.com

Our pick: Three Soup Gift Bundle

 

Bonus: Ogunte

Check out this awesome map of women all over the world making a difference! #inspriring #womenruntheworld  

The ‘Impact Women’ map aims to build a network of 1 million women social entrepreneurs by 2020 and foster peer-to-peer support, to change people’s world.
— ogunte.com


 

Download this handy shopping guide, so you always remember where to shop when you want to support women and make a difference.

Note: A few of these brands contain affiliate links. I only promote brands I know and trust on this site. Thanks for your support!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

The Ultimate Social Enterprise Job Search Guide

The social enterprise field is still emerging and it can be difficult to find social enterprise jobs. They are few and far between, and even when one opens, it can be hard to find before it’s filled. 

This social enterprise job search guide is tried and tested with job seekers looking for their dream job that makes an impact. Print out the job search resource guide and follow along with the steps below, and you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect social enterprise job.

 

1 | Find your Passion

What do you care most about?

If you’re not sure, or can’t decide - because WHOA NELLY there’s a lot of stuff to care about right now - take this quiz via the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. It’s just 6 questions and only takes a few minutes. Your results will be your top 3 goals that align with your answers.

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development are:

2 | Volunteer for an Organization that Aligns with Your Passion

Find a local nonprofit organization that align with the global goal area you identified above. Visit their website and look for a link that says “Get Involved” or “Volunteer Opportunities” to see their volunteer openings. Job candidates that have recent and relevant volunteer experience in the same goal area are more likely to stand out to employers!

You can find these nonprofit organizations by visiting volunteer listings like:

3 | Network in the Social Enterprise Field

Eww, I know networking is not everyone’s favorite thing to do, but I’ve got news for you - it’s necessary and it works. Even if you hate going to networking events, or are super-introverted like me, you can still make this time totally worthwhile.

My approach to networking events: be a friend and be of service.

Meaning, don’t go into a networking event with the intent of selling or focusing on what you have to gain. Be a friend, be nice and respectful, and be of service to each person you meet. What can you offer to the person you meet, that THEY will find valuable?


What you’ll need BEFORE you go to a networking event:

Business Cards for Job Search

I recommend moo.com for super high quality business cards for YOURSELF. Include your name, personal email address, phone number and any other relevant information (Twitter handle, website URL, etc). Notice I said RELEVANT. Please don’t include your Twitter handle if don’t tweet about topics related to your passion area.

Job Search Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief description of who you are and what you do - that takes 30 seconds to 2 minutes (the average ride in an elevator). Fill in the mad lib in the worksheet to create your elevator pitch.

When you have business cards and have practiced your elevator pitch, now you're ready to attend networking events. Find events through the Social Enterprise Alliance, your local Council of Nonprofits chapter, other associations, Net Impact, Social Venture Partners, local colleges and universities with a social impact major, social impact conferences and other public meetings.

4 | Apply for Social Enterprise Jobs

Now that you know what you’re passionate about, and you have volunteer experience in that passion area, and have met other people who are like-minded, you’re ready to apply for jobs.

Some of the best job board for finding social enterprise jobs are:

Social Enterprise Alliance: The Social Enterprise Alliance was one of the first associations for social enterprise and social entrepreneurs. Their job board features job openings across the United States, although the jobs tend to be in areas where there is also a Social Enterprise Alliance local chapter.

National Council of Nonprofits: Find your state affiliation and search their job board for nonprofit (and sometimes social enterprise) job openings.

Net Impact: Full variety of nonprofit, for-profit, foundation, and university jobs related to solving social and environmental issues.

B Corp: List of open jobs with certified B Corp companies. (What is a B Corp? Find out here.)

Set up an Indeed alert for “social enterprise”: Search for the term social enterprise on Indeed, add your zip code or geographic region, and email address - and voila! Indeed will send you a daily digest by email of your search results. So much easier than constantly checking job boards.

Google Group for Social Enterprise Jobs: Hit and miss resource for social enterprise job postings. 

Idealist: Variety of jobs related to nonprofit and social enterprise work.

 

Now go onward! Explore your passions, volunteer in the field, network with like-minded people, and apply for jobs. 

Make sure to download the free social enterprise job search guide to help you get organized.

Good luck job searching!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

What's the Difference Between a B Corp and Benefit Corporation?

What's the difference between a B Corp and a Benefit Corporation?

First, yes, there's a difference between a B Corp and a Benefit Corporation. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact, not the same thing.

What is a B Corp?

A B Corp is a certification - similar to a Fair Trade or No Animal Testing seal of approval - that is administered by B Lab.

"B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. (TM)" - bcorporation.net

There are now over 2,000 B Corp certified companies. And yes, I said companies, because you must be a for-profit company to apply for B Corp certification.

Some well-known examples of B Corp companies are:

Get the full list of B Corp companies here.

How do you become B Corp certified?

To become B Corp certified:

1. Complete the B Impact Assessment and score at least 80/200 points. 

You can take the B Impact Assessment for FREE. You don't need to be the CEO or Founder of a socially-minded business to take this assessment, but it will prompt you for some specific financial and procedure information. If you don't have the answer, you can usually say "N/A" or skip and go on to the next question, then come back to answer later.

There are five key areas in the B Impact Assessment: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers.

The Governance Impact Area evaluates a company's overall mission, ethics, accountability and transparency.
The Workers Impact Area assesses the company's relationship with its workforce. The section measures how the company treats its workers through compensation, benefits, training and ownership opportunities presented to workers. It also focuses on the overall work environment within the company through management/worker communication, job flexibility and corporate culture, and worker health and safety practices.
The Community Impact Area evaluates the company's community engagement and impact, including topics related to diversity, job creation, supplier relations, charitable giving/community service, and local involvement. In addition, this section also includes options for companies whose business model is designed to address specific community-oriented problems, such workforce development for underserved groups, poverty alleviation through fair trade supply chains, etc.
The Environment Impact Area evaluates a company's overall environmental stewardship including its facilities, resource use, emissions, and (when applicable) its supply chain and distribution channels.This section also includes options for companies whose product or service is designed to address a specific environmental problem, for instance by redesigning traditional manufacturing practices or by producing products that create renewable energy, reduce consumption or waste, conserve land or wildlife, or educate about environmental problems.
The Customers Impact Area evaluates companies whose products or services are designed to address a particular social problem for or through its customers, such as health or educational products. The section focuses on the impact of the product/service and the extent to which it benefits underserved communities. For many companies this section will not apply. - B Impact Assessment

For each question, there are helpful tips and links along the way, to provide guidance on how to answer the question.

Pro tip: When you're writing a business plan for your social enterprise idea, use the B Impact Assessment to double-check your assumptions, and make sure you've addressed the areas that are important to your mission via this tool. For example, as you're writing your business plan, you may not have considered supplier relations and specifically seeking suppliers who are women-owned or minority-owned. The B Impact Assessment asks these questions, so you can incorporate into your social enterprise business plan.

2. Meet the legal requirements for structure. A nonprofit cannot become a B Corp.

3. Make it official by signing the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence and Term Sheet. Certification lasts 2 years; to keep your certification active, you must renew after 2 years. Fees are on sliding scale, starting at $500 annually, for a company of less than $149,999 in gross revenue.

Why should a socially-minded business become B Corp certified? What are the benefits of becoming B Corp certified?

B Labs lists many reasons to become B Corp certified, but they boil down to a couple key reasons:

  • Accountability: Must maintain certification through B Impact Assessment, dedication to mission regardless of change in leadership, compare results to others and improve score.
  • Marketing: Find like-minded companies and ideal customers, attract media coverage.

So, if that's a B Corp, then...

What is a Benefit Corporation?

A Benefit Corporation is a for-profit legal structure that elects to additional accountability, transparency and corporate purpose, beyond traditional profit maximization.

According to BenefitCorp.net, a Benefit Corporation's purpose is "to create a solid foundation for long term mission alignment and value creation. It protects mission through capital raises and leadership changes, creates more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options, and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO."

Can a nonprofit organization be a Benefit Corporation?

A nonprofit cannot be a Benefit Corporation. But, if your organization is a nonprofit, you could start up and own a for-profit subsidiary, and that could be a Benefit Corporation. An example of that would be the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), which is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and their better known subsidiary Benefit Corporation: Peace Coffee. IATP started a for-profit company called Peace Coffee in 1996, and fast forward 19 years later - Peace Coffee became a Benefit Corporation when the Public Benefit Corporation law passed in Minnesota in January 2015.

What is required for annual reporting of a Benefit Corporation?

Although reporting requirements are different in each state where Benefit Corporation legislation has passed, some of the same reporting requirements are the same across the board: social/environmental performance to inform directors and key stakeholders. In all states except Delaware, a Benefit Corporation must have the report use a third party standard as an assessment tool, and release the report to the public. 

Examples of the Benefit Corporation annual report: 

As of the date this post was written, 31 states have passed Benefit Corporation legislation, and 7 states are working on it. 

Find more information about how to become a benefit corporation in your state here.

So the difference is... 

A B Corp is a certification. A Benefit Corporation is a legal structure.

Can you be both a Benefit Corporation and a certified B Corp?

Definitely! There are many examples of companies that have both 1) incorporated as a Benefit Corporation in their state, and 2) passed the B Impact Assessment and paid the certification fee to become a B Corp. A few of those examples are thedatabank, gbc and Sunrise Banks.

What effect does a Benefit Corporation or certified B Corp have on tax status? 

None. Your business would still be taxed according to the legal status - C Corp, S Corp, LLC, etc. 

 

Now that we have that cleared up...

ACTION ITEM:

1 | Is your social enterprise B Corp certified, or a Benefit Corporation, or both? What are some of the benefits you've experienced? Let us know in the comments below!

2 | Download the cheat sheet: "What's the difference between a B Corp and a Benefit Corporation?" by joining the Social Good Impact community.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Five Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. for Social Entrepreneurs

Five quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. for Social Entrepreneurs

This is a big week for the United States, and the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16, and Inauguration Day for the new President of the United States of America on Friday, January 20. 

I've delayed writing anything about the President-Elect, partly in hopes that the day would not come, and partly because I just don't know what to say. Even sitting here today writing this post, I'm still not sure exactly what to say.

But I do know that this is not the time for inaction. This is not the time to think that someone else will take care of it. This is not the time to watch discrimination happen and stay silent. Many of the things Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of decades ago, ring just as true today as ever. 

With the timing of this monumental week, I'm drawing inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr. that can help social entrepreneurs, and all of us, to stay grounded and motivated. These are five of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness. - MLK, Jr.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. -MLK, Jr.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" -MLK, Jr.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
The time is always right to do what is right. -MLK, Jr.
The time is always right to do what is right. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. -MLK, Jr.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

What are some of your favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes? How do they relate to your work in social entrepreneurship? Let me know in the comments below.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

#socentchat is coming back! Tune in January 2017!

Social enterprise #socentchat is coming back! January 16-20 2017

Remember #socentchat on Twitter?

Well, we do. And we miss it!

We're giving new life to this popular Twitter Chat, and bringing it back in January 2017. Mark your calendar for January 16-20, 2017!

Social enterprise #socentchat new year new hosts

New Hosts of #socentchat

Bethany Palm

@bampalm @bamessentials @socialgoodim

Bethany is the creator of Social Good Impact - equipping social entrepreneurs and changemakers with the tools to change the world. She has worked in social enterprises for 10+ years, including leadership of social enterprises, launching a new social enterprise, and consulting with social entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into action.

 

Andy Crowe

@criticalnz @andy_s_crowe

Andy has 8 years experience in community led development and using education as a framework for empowerment. Moving into the social enterprise space with Critical has given Andy the opportunity to dig deeper into the potential to scale social innovation initiatives. Critical is a design house for social innovation - taking commercial projects and hijacking for social good, leveraging the power of technology and digital fabrication to close the gap in expertise for those transitioning from traditional labour jobs to tech-based jobs.

How to participate in #socentchat

Because this is a world-wide Twitter Chat, we're following a "Slow Chat" model for #socentchat.

What does that mean? We'll tweet one question per day, for a week, each month. 5 questions, 5 days. No matter what time zone you're in, you can participate in this Twitter Chat. 

  1. Follow @socialgoodim and @criticalnz. Bonus: Follow other accounts you find from this Twitter Chat! 
  2. We'll tweet one question per day, for 5 days in a row. Each question will be noted with Q1, Q2, etc. Follow #socentchat to see the question for that day. Bonus: Keep the conversation going throughout the month by including #socentchat in your other tweets!
  3. Answer that day's question with your answer (A1, A2, etc) and include the hashtag #socentchat. Bonus: Include other relevant hashtags as well! 

Looking for an easy way to follow along with this Twitter Chat? Check out TweetChat for a streamlined view of the #socentchat Twitter Chat only.

#socentchat what is the #1 biggest challenge you're struggling with at your social enterprise?

What can you do right now to get involved? 

Comment below and let us know...

What is the #1 biggest challenge you're struggling with at your social enterprise?

We want to provide a #socentchat that includes the topics YOU want to talk about and learn about - so let us know what is most important to you! Comment below and let us know!