Today, as part of my “Strategic Marketing for Public and Nonprofit Organizations” class, we heard from David Dodson, founder of Project Healthy Children. Although his talk was specifically targeted for those interested in leading nonprofit organizations, I found his comments relevant for emerging social entrepreneurs as well.
In particular, he posed four critical questions for those thinking of starting a new venture:
1) Is it (the idea or the organization) sustainable?
2) Is it cost-effective?
3) Is it scalable?
4) Is it measurable?
I thought these were particularly salient points, especially given the impulse to form organizations on the basis of what he called “emotional needs” rather than “market needs.” He placed particular emphasis on the second question, stressing the point that “cost-effective” does not necessarily translate into “cheap,” but rather, implies that the organization is “investment” oriented, whether in the form of human capital, organizational capacity, physical infrastructure, etc. He also emphasized the fourth point, stating that if the outcomes aren’t clearly defined, they cannot be measured, which poses the organization at the risk of “mission creep.”
The final point he made can be encapsulated in the following statement, “I say no to everything that’s not relevant.” He emphasized the importance of not “following the money trail,” and investing time, resources, and effort only in those efforts that are relevant to the organizational mission and vision. He cited examples of having turned down potential partnerships and funding opportunities in favour of maintaining organizational focus, and leveraging the organization’s strengths. On this point, he asked a critical question, “Can we see a future where we can be better than anybody at this?” Obviously, that requires that the organization remain on course, and learn how to say “no.”
Thank you to Professor Marla Felcher for challenging us to think critically about what it means to be effective leaders and marketeers!
Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote for my school newspaper:
Empowerment occurs when someone is given the means, either through new responsibilities, economic independence or other ways, to take a greater ownership in the actions of their everyday lives. Empowerment of individuals who were previously marginalized is one of the fundamental tenets of the social entrepreneurship movement.
Do you all agree or disagree? Please post comments below.
Hey all, as you may notice on the sidebar, we have a new featured survey for you all to participate in. Here is some additional information directly from the survey makers:
NGOs: Dig into your strengths and opportunities AND win great prizes!
Ethos Advisors and NGO Post have created a short survey to assess the needs to the NGO community and identify concrete solutions to improve motivated, high-impact NGOs across India. And we’ve got three great reasons to complete the survey:
1. A free assessment tool for your NGO. The survey is based on questions that leading NGO’s around the world have asked themselves and, by finding the answers, have found new ways to succeed and scale. Take a moment and complete this survey to better understand your stregnths and opportunities.
2. Tell us and tell the world: what are the new tools, websites and training that you need? This is your chance to help funders, service providers and corporate CSR departments design and customize new services for the NGO sector based on the information you share.
3. Submit to Win Excellent Prizes!!! Including:
-A new fuly-customized website for your organization based on cutting-edge technology that is simple and easy-to-use.
-Be selected as Grassroutes.in featured NGO that includes a custom Media Package that tells your organization’s story and an independently managed marketing campaign for any purpose you choose
-Be featured in the CitiZen Section of the Deccan Chronicle
Hope you all take the survey.
Here is an upcoming event in NYC for AIF. Their annual benefit looks to be a good one this year. Details below. You can go here to buy tickets.
7:30 pm to midnight
Open bar from 8 to 11 pm
three-course indian-latin fusion dinner, silent and live auctions
The Apna Clinic*
At the door – $150
We encourage purchasing advanced tickets as space
is limited and we cannot guarantee availability at the door.
*Net proceeds will be donated toward the Apna Clinic.
If you have enjoyed what TC-I has done since Feb ’08, please nominate us for The Indibloggies 2008 competition. Here is how:
5. Repeat for IndiBlog of the Year (if you want).
Thank you for your support!