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Market don’t fundraise!

Those organizations that market themselves well have a distinct advantage over those that don’t.

Marketing and public relations (PR) helps to amplify an organization’s brand. It helps them to command an adequate “share of voice” and stand out amidst all the other organizations that are competing for our attention.

I believe that fundraising needs to align with marketing and PR, and form part of a concerted strategy. This will make it much easier for a social enterprise or non-profit organization to raise funds or win customers.

This article will explore some of my thoughts about the importance of marketing and PR, and tactics that organizations should consider in each of these areas. It will also touch on how these organizations should navigate the online world.

Brand is a magnet for opportunity

This article will share some of my thoughts about value of branding for social enterprises and non-profit organizations, and how a good brand exerts a magnetic force around them.

Those organizations that have stronger brands are more likely to attract good funding, business opportunities and partnerships. This is a simple truth I’ve come to realize in my 20+ years of consulting.

I’ve also recently worked with a brand designer and public relations specialist on some projects and have gained recent insights into the value of this discipline. Here is some of what I’ve learnt.

Career advice for a young professional in the social sector

I recently received a thought-provoking email from a young graduate who had some work experience with a non-profit organization.

Because her message was so sincere and endearing, I decided to provide a proper reply.

This article contains my career advice for her and other young professionals in a similar position. I will share my career philosophy, insights from my own career, and some collective advice from other consultants I work with.

Strategic conversations are more important than strategic planning

When was the last time you had a conversation about your organization’s strategy? A deep conversation about what it must do to fulfil its destiny? These conversations are priceless. Many social entrepreneurs find them more useful than conventional strategic-planning sessions.

This article discusses the value of the strategic conversation. It also provides some suggestions for how to cultivate this good habit with your leadership team.

Social enterprise journey

This 1-page Strategy Brief illustrates the Journey to Social Enterprise, which I’ve unpacked in detail in a previous presentation.

I believe that social enterprise is more of a direction than an end state. In South Africa, thousands of organizations are heading in this direction. Social enterprise is still in its infancy. This brief provides a simple overview of the journey and the transition points that need to managed.

How a business can become a social enterprise

This 1-page Strategy Brief shares 8 strategies that businesses can use to integrate elements of a social enterprise into their thinking and operations. This also shows how it is possible to adapt one’s legal form to introduce social enterprise elements.

How a lean cost structure can improve financial sustainability

Like most commercial organizations, non-profit organizations and social enterprises should strive to keep their fixed costs as lean as possible. Those that do this properly will be more likely to survive financial shocks and stresses, and create dynamic and sustainable organizations.

While many of these organizations have already achieved this state, this article targets those social entrepreneurs who believe their organizations have become too expensive to maintain on an ongoing basis, or are about to enter a risky and uncertain financial territory.

This article shares some important lessons I’ve learned through assisting these organizations to develop budgets, build financial models and review their financial structure.

End-of-year reflection for 2017

The end of the year is approaching once again. Time seems to be “accelerating” recently.

I strongly believe in the value of debriefs at the end of a calendar year, and at the end of a difficult project which did not go as expected.

Formal reflection or debriefs also provide value to non-profit organizations and social enterprises. They help to accelerate learning. I’ve recently facilitated several end-of-year reviews for my clients, and the sessions have proven insightful. I encourage you to schedule time to reflect before this year ends.

Here are some extracts from my review before I took leave on 15 December 2017 for a much-needed break. It sheds some insights into my work with non-profit organizations and social enterprises in South Africa.

How to become a sustainable non-profit organization

This presentation investigates the meaning of “financial sustainability” and why non-profit organizations are feeling the pressure to become “sustainable”. It also highlights the importance of getting stakeholders to embrace these changes that are sweeping through South Africa’s non-profit sector, and the risks of not doing this properly.

The presentation shares 12 practical shifts or tactics that I’ve seen non-profit organizations use to improve their financial sustainability. The presentation ends with an outline of how you can develop your own sustainability strategy.

I developed this presentation for a “masterclass” on financial sustainability that I facilitated on 1 December 2017. This formed part of the Drivers of Change Awards, which were hosted by the Southern Africa Trust.

Ten characteristics of a social enterprise mindset

This one-page Strategy Brief identifies 10 characteristics of successful social enterprises, and demonstrates how all non-profit organizations and businesses can learn how to behave and think in this way. This brief also differentiates between the mindset and business model of a social enterprise.

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