Category Archives: Social Entrepreneurship

Social Impact & Innovation Conference Wrap-Up (Fall 2017)

[We are continuing our series on the highlights and key takeaways from social impact and innovation conferences around the world. You can view our calendar of upcoming conferences, and let us know of others you’d like to share!]

As we moved into the last few months of the year, innovative thinkers and changemakers from around the world continued to come together to discuss the most pressing issues facing our communities. Storytelling and building effective communication were common themes across these conferences, encouraging us to take what we learned and use it to inspire our coworkers and those with similar dreams.

Chicago was the backdrop for this year’s Grant Professionals Association Annual Conference. Designed for professionals across all levels, workshops guided participants on leaving lasting impressions to win funding, crafting grant proposals and budgets, converting your grant writing experiences into capital to invest in your profession and becoming an effective advocate for your organization.

ComNet17 brought foundation and nonprofit professionals together to inspire each other to use strategic communications to spur positive social change. Breakout sessions discussed how to battle media scrutiny and criticism, how to create memorable, shareable and inspiring stories, and how to communicate with applicants, grantees, and board members in the grantmaking process. Grant Oliphant, President of The Heinz Endowments, gave an impactful keynote speech on how we can use our voices and speak up for our values at a time when none of us can afford to be silent.

At Stanford Social Innovation Review’s 12th Annual Nonprofit Management Institute, Continue reading

Social Enterprise Alliance Conference 2017: Our Takeaways

[We are continuing our series on the highlights and key takeaways from social impact and innovation conferences around the world. You can view our calendar of upcoming conferences, and let us know of others you’d like to share!]

I was pleased to attend my first national conference of the Social Enterprise Alliance (@SocEnt Alliance) in Los Angeles last month. I was fortunate enough to meet David Coy (reachable here), Senior Marketing & Communications Associate at a leading organization that invests in the growth and effectiveness of social enterprises: REDF. David graciously agreed to share some of his thoughts from the conference, as he has attended three of these gatherings.

With several hundred participants, the conference showcased a wide variety of social enterprises that broke into two broad categories: 1) nonprofits running a social impact business to help fund their operations and carry out their missions, and/or 2) for-profit businesses with a bottom line that includes a social/environmental purpose.

The biggest takeaway for me? The sector is realizing that their marketing actually has to spotlight quality on BOTH sides of the equation: both the story of their social impact AND the effectiveness and efficiency of their entrepreneurial venture’s product.

For us communicators, this is important. In the past, we may have wanted to focus our reader’s attention on the social good that emerges from social enterprise work (empowering communities, offering meaningful work to hard-to-employ folks, producing recycled or recyclable products, etc.). But just as important is communicating the high quality, desirability, and benefits to the consumer that each product or service provides.

David got the same impression: “You need to lead your brand with a quality product or service. Too many social enterprises lead with the social impact or who the business empowers.” Instead, we learned, “Put forth a quality product and use its social benefit as the ‘add-on’ to trigger a purchase as part of marketing.”

That gets to the heart of one of the key rules in marketing: “Know thy customers and keep listening to what matters to them.” Continue reading

Social Impact & Innovation Conference Wrap-Up (Summer 2017)

[We are continuing our series on the highlights and key takeaways from social impact and innovation conferences around the world. You can view our calendar of upcoming conferences, and let us know of others you’d like to share!]

As we shifted into summer, we saw movers and shakers around the world come together to create, discuss, and implement solutions for current world challenges.

This year’s +Impact East Conference focused on workplace giving and volunteering. America’s Charities released preliminary findings from their Snapshot2017 survey of more than 1,500 employee donors. They noted that workplace giving is alive and thriving, and that a winning recruitment and retention strategy is emphasizing employee community engagement, such as paid time off to volunteer, company match, and volunteer service grants. Other issues explored included a presentation by actress Nzinga Blake, who explained the secret ingredients of storytelling for social impact: the why, what’s at stake, and the call to action. Everyone (staff, volunteers, clients, etc.) loves a good story and can take inspiration from it!

The Social Innovation Summit 2017 in Chicago brought together innovative thinkers and global leaders to develop and advance the most impactful social partnerships. In one workshop discussion, participants shared ideas for scaling successful innovations on a global level, including how to invest time and resources into identifying local partners in your communities who share your visions and understanding how initiatives with similar visions can complement each other, rather than compete.

We heard from Van Jones how “There are two political parties in the country: The ‘Give a Damn’ party and the ‘Don’t Give a Damn’ party.” With the overall agreement that now is the time to do something, we realized the importance of blending our passions with our frustrations. One important reminder is that we all have a seat at the table to make significant changes because it is up to us to solve the problems of our time. Continue reading

Social Impact & Innovation Conference Wrap-Up (April 2017)

We are introducing a new ongoing series on the highlights and key takeaways from social impact and innovation conferences around the world. Our team is actively engaged in helping to create a better world and one way we can help is to share the stories and visions of like-minded individuals and organizations. You can view our calendar of upcoming conferences and we would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations about other learning opportunities.

The month of April brought us better weather and a wealth of information from conferences in England to ones in Durham, NC and Philadelphia.

Media relations and marketing were the focal point at the Create Good Conference. “Offering a creative space for nonprofit communications professionals to ‘get the tools to get to work,’” the conference hosted workshops ranging from grassroots organizing and marketing to Millennials to the future and effectiveness of nonprofit communications. Keynote speaker, Shanelle Matthews, Director of Communications for Black Lives Matter, reminded us that “Mass communications is changing. Gmail has a 4% open rate. Remember that next time you send an email.” We can all work to inspire each other and help better the communities that we want to live in.

Continue reading

Takeaways from HigherPurpose17: Creating Authentic Connection with Stakeholders

I recently wrote an article that was featured on the blog of Conscious Capitalism Bay Area (CCBA). After attending their HigherPurpose17 conference, I wanted to share some insights that I’m applying to my business.

(To get you started, I reprinted the first several paragraphs below.)

I’ve been involved with CCBA [Conscious Capitalism Bay Area chapter] for several years now, and I wasn’t sure if I would benefit from HigherPurpose17. The CCBA events I have attended in the past have given me a solid grounding in the principles and practices of Conscious Capitalism, socially responsible  business, the triple bottom line (people, planet, profits), and even B Corporations. I wondered: Would there be any new information at HigherPurpose17 for me to learn?

It turns out, I’m so glad I attended the conference!

In addition to great networking opportunities (true of all CCBA events), there were two complementary sessions that really stood out for me. The first was a presentation by Christine Comaford, founder of the neuroscience-based Smart Tribes Institute. The second was a practicum session on one of the Four Tenets of Conscious Capitalism , Stakeholder Orientation, led by Cathy Goerz, Co-Chair of the CCBA Marketing & Communications Committee, and Ryan Baum, Principal of Jump Associates.

What I learned from Christine Comaford: Every person wants, needs and buys only 3 three things…

Read more HERE.