Category Archives: Social Entrepreneurship

Surfacing Great Social Entrepreneurs

Last year I wrote about the Social Entrepreneurship API and how it could make it easier for donors to “follow the smart money”: In financial markets there is “smart money” and “dumb money”. These rather crude phrases refer to the fact that certain types of investors tend to make good decisions and others tend to […]

Social Entrepreneur API

The Social Entrepreneur API from Social Actions launched at the SoCap Conference. The Social Entrepreneur API (Application Programming Interface) is the first open database of information about social entrepreneurs who have won fellowships and awards from social enterprise funders. The current API includes awards made by Civic Ventures, The Draper Richards Foundation, ideablob, PopTech, The […]

The Social Innovation Fund & Philanthropy Performance

There are two types of "metrics” that philanthropy needs to figure out. Metrics used to evaluate nonprofit organizations or programs to determine if they should be supported. Metrics used to evaluate the impact or performance of philanthropic investments. I believe that for the most part, the first set of metrics should not and will not […]

Smart Money & the Social Entrepreneur API

In financial markets there is “smart money” and “dumb money”. These rather crude phrases refer to the fact that certain types of investors tend to make good decisions and others tend to make bad decisions. The “smart money” usually goes against the crowd and makes investments in things that the “crowd” currently dislikes. “Dumb money” […]

Using Social Entrepreneurs to Sell Chips

Companies have long put images of celebrities on their products in order to sell more. The idea is that the celebrity has credibility with consumers and that by appearing on a product, the credibility gets transferred to the product. Companies like Procter & Gamble and Pepsi have become masters of “branding”: the art of giving […]

Philanthropy’s Exit Strategy

Many people view the role of philanthropy as something akin to venture capital. Philanthropy is suppose to find promising new nonprofits and help them grow. But their is a missing piece in this analogy. Venture capitalists eventually sell their investments to later stage investors (who are interested not so much in startups, but in more […]

Steal This Idea!

At the Center for Effective Philanthropy conference, one of the most interesting sessions was a discussion of scale between the successful nonprofits Nurse-Family Partnerships and Homeboy Industries and funders the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and the California Endowment. The session was titled Promises and Pitfalls of Going to Scale and examined the different ways that […]

The Hallways at the Skoll World Forum

It is a tired, but true, saying that the best conversations at conferences happen in the hallways. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to go to the Skoll World Forum this year, not so much because of the sessions I missed, but because of the hallway conversations I wasn’t there for. But thanks to Nathaniel […]

Jeff Berndt of New Profit on Investing in Nonprofits

After I wrote a post about investing in nonprofits that included a list of funders employing the model I was explaining, George Overholser (of Nonprofit Finance Fund Capital Partners, who was on the list) weighed in with illuminating comments here, here and here). Now Jeff Berndt, a parter at New Profit (also on my list) […]

Philanthropic Equity

Underlying much of my recent debate with Paul Brest was my view that funders should emphasize investing in building great nonprofit more than working with nonprofits to execute a foundation designed programmatic strategy. One problem with this approach is the lack of understanding around the concept of “philanthropic equity”. To that end I’d like to […]