ThinkChange India has a New Home!

Please head out to www.thinkchangeindia.org

Four Critical Questions for Social Entrepreneurs

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!

Excerpt on Empowerment

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.

Survey for NGOs

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.

American India Foundation Annual Benefit

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.

A Toast to Good Health
At
480 Lexington Avenue (at 46th Street), New York City
Saturday April 11, 2009
7:30 pm to midnight
Open bar from 8 to 11 pm

three-course indian-latin fusion dinner, silent and live auctions

Benefiting
The Apna Clinic*


Featuring
Mira Kamdar
author of the critically acclaimed memoir Motiba’s Tattoos and Planet India

$125 online
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.

Formal Attire – Tie Optional
About Vermillion: The melding of contemporary Indian and Latin American cuisines
and a selection of untamed regional Indian fare “heat” – tapas, signature entrees,
hedonistic desserts, boutique latin and global wines, “herb & spice” cocktails

Information about our event sponsors can be found here.
Buy Your Tickets Now!

Training programme on “Governance and Management of NGO’s and NPO’s

An announcement in NGOpost calls for application for a six-week full time training programme on “Governance and Management of Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs/NGOs)”, scheduled between 6th July 2009 to 14th August 2009. The training is offered by Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII).

The training cost including accommodation is free for participants belonging to countries listed  in Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC). But participants from countries not listed can attend the training programme for the cost of $1500. Strangely, though the training programme is offered in India in partnership with the Indian’s government, India is not enlisted in ITEC. As a consequence, the fee applies to participants from India too!

Interested people can get more information on applying and information brochure here at EDII’s website.

Please Nominate TC-I for The Indibloggies 2008

If you have enjoyed what TC-I has done since Feb ’08, please nominate us for The Indibloggies 2008 competition. Here is how:

1. Go to here.
2. Write In ThinkChange India for the Blog Title
3. Put http://www.thinkchangeindia.org for the URL
4. Select Best Group/Community IndiBlog

5. Repeat for IndiBlog of the Year (if you want).

Thank you for your support!