Monday, February 27, 2012

Becoming Intentionally Focussed...

As many of you know, in February 2010, Pillar, United Way of London & Middlesex & the Ivey Business School began a learning journey about how social enterprise could be used as a tool in nonprofits to improve sustainability.

As we have worked through year one, getting to know what social enterprises exist in our community, and into year two as we engage and create awareness with nonprofit organizations in London and area, we now begin the process of business planning. 
  • What does it look like to create a business model within a nonprofit? 
  • How could that change the landscape of charity and fundraising? 
  • How do we challenge long-held beliefs to make real changes to large social problems? 
  • How to we work with other sectors (government and business) to collaborate in unique and innovative ways to further the missions of the nonprofits in our community? 
These questions are just some of what have been challenging us through this process. We are excited to learn from our partners in Ottawa and Sarnia as well as from local entrepreneurial leaders like yourselves. As we move forward, we will be taking a strategic and intentionally focussed approach to combining social enterprise to the needs in our community. Great work is being done in our community that nonprofits could support. To name a few:
What if nonprofit's looked at their work a bit differently? What if we considered how implementing social enterprise concepts could bring resolve to the recommended outcomes listed in the different strategic plans in order to create positive change? What would that look like? What if we didn't look at how to get funding, spend time writing grants, waiting for the money to move ahead, but rather...took action now, using business concepts? 

In "The End of Charity: Time for Social Enterprise" by Nic Frances he challenges us by saying "If we can make a market case for these goals and for developing ways to achieve them, we will be on our way to lasting change" (p. 11)

If you would like to be a part of a dialogue considering this change please let me know as I plan for a possible change lab or community conversation around what this might look like.