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.

Trends in social enterprise in South Africa

Here is a recording of an impromptu interview about social enterprises in South Africa. It was conducted live with Radio 702 and Cape Talk in South Africa on 29 December 2016. We discuss social enterprise in South Africa, some of the more interesting trends and reflect on the year in general.

Social enterprise in South Africa: reflection on trends in 2016

Every December I reflect on the trends among social enterprises in South Africa. I find this exercise very valuable. This year I’ve decided to share my reflection with you.

Here are the top 10 interesting issues or trends I’ve observed in 2016. Note that this is a personal reflection of my experiences; not an unbiased and objective analysis of the sector.

Social entrepreneurship in South Africa

This article was commissioned by the Red Bull Amaphiko programme in 2015. It highlights the considerable need for social entrepreneurs in South Africa. It discusses the various challenge and opportunities facing these social entrepreneurs. It also quotes some well-known leaders in the sector such as Pat Pillay from LifeCo UnLtd and Francois Bonnici from the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Rise of the social enterprise

This article was published in the August 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 1 in a series of 11 articles that unpacks the mind-set of a social enterprise and discusses the principles from Think like a Social Enterprise.

I strongly believe that this is the era of the social enterprise. Non-profit organizations and businesses have both started to mix a social or environmental agenda with business principles. This has led to more capable and relevant organizations. This article discusses the concept of a social enterprise and introduces the forthcoming series of 10 articles.

Shona McDonald from Shonaquip is profiled in this edition. This social enterprise provides mobility equipment for people with disabilities. It was started in 1992 and was clearly ahead of its time.

New life in South Africa’s nonprofit sector: a personal story

The non-profit sector in South Africa has changed beyond recognition over the past decade. This is as I both hoped and feared. It is as I had hoped because young people, new ideas and a fresh energy have entered this sector. It is as I had feared because a number of established organizations with rich histories have failed to adapt in time and have subsequently suffered severely – some have even been fatally wounded. Overall, it feels that springtime may have arisen after a long winter.

Here is my personal story from June 2012 to help illustrate this change in seasons.

Stop the begging: thoughts on the potential closure of Rape Crisis

Here is my letter that was published in the Cape Times in October 2008 in response to an article on the potential closure of Rape Crisis. The letter discusses how this is part of a larger phenomenon. It proposes how non-profit organizations need to learn to think and operate differently.

What nonprofit organizations can learn from the closure of the Nonprofit Consortium

This letter of mine was published in the Cape Times in May 2008. It reflects on the sad irony of the closure of the Non-Profit Consortium – that an organization that worked so hard to create an environment where non-profit organizations can thrive and find the income they need, has itself not been able to find sufficient funds to enable it to continue to fulfil its own purpose. It discusses the lesson and opportunity for other non-profit organizations.

The coming recession: What does this mean for South African nonprofit organizations?

The global economy is on the brink of a downturn, possibly a recession. Turbulence and opportunity lie ahead; our currency is under pressure and may continue to devalue. What does this mean for South African non-profit organizations? How should they respond?

This article from March 2008 provides several recommendations for non-profit organizations to consider.

Social enterprises: heralding a new era

This is the era of social enterprises – organizations that think of themselves as businesses with a social purpose. Social enterprises are happy to make a profit and do so with a smile on their face and conscience in hand. They also tread in the traditional turf of both businesses and non-profit organizations. They see themselves as organizations from a new paradigm, and the organizations of the future.

This article from November 2007 advocates for social enterprise and discusses eight reasons why we will be seeing more of them in the future.

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