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.

The many facets of social enterprise

I see “social enterprise” as a multi-faceted concept, much like a gemstone will appear differently when examined from different perspectives. Social enterprise is a “concept space”, rather than just a “business space”.

This approach has served me well in my consulting work. It has given me a framework and language to explain things and support organizations on their journey. It has provided social entrepreneurs with increased strategic clarity.

This thought-piece unpacks the six principle facets of social enterprise as I see it.

Six income tactics that all social enterprises can pursue

This one-page Strategy Brief explains how versatile the legal forms of social enterprises in South Africa can be. It shows 6 tactics for generating income that all social enterprises can use, regardless of whether that form is for-profit or non-profit.

What do we mean by “organizational sustainability”?

Non-profit organizations and social enterprises in South Africa are desperately striving to become “sustainable”. I believe that organizations should have a broader view of “sustainability” and be precise when discussing it. This will make it much easier for these organizations to develop “sustainability strategies”.

This short article explores 10 facets of “organizational sustainability”.

Ten principles that guide my strategy work

My strategy work is guided by a set of philosophies or beliefs that have evolved over the past two decades. These principles permeate all my strategy work while giving it a unique flavour. They help me to get the results I desire. Here are the top 10 that stand out.

Thinking about income generation and profit in a non-profit world

Non-profit organizations and social enterprises that wish to design sustainability strategies need to have clarity around the concepts of income generation and profit, and how to achieve them.

This article aims to debunk some misconceptions around income generation, equity investments, loan finance, and the profits or surpluses that these organizations may generate or receive.

It explains that income and profit emerges from how an organization transacts with its customers. This approach will require organizations to learn new skills, practice new habits and adopt a different mindset. Although embarking on this process may feel intimidating at first, the benefits of being in a stronger strategic and financial position should make it worthwhile.

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.

Journey to social enterprise

Social enterprises do not magically appear. They are the result of many years of hard work. The good news is that thousands of South African organizations have set out on their journey to become social enterprises.

This presentation describes the Journey to Social Enterprise. It is based on 20 years of observation and consulting to aspiring social enterprises.

It describes how non-profit organizations and businesses can move towards a state of social enterprise. It unpacks and names the strategic transition points that organizations need to overcome when moving towards social enterprise. It also describes the specific skills that organizations need to master at each transition point.

Social enterprise – implications for South Africa’s non-profit sector

The South African Accounting Academy runs an annual conference for non-profit organizations (“NPO Conference”). I was invited to speak in the May 2016 conference on one of my favorite topics. Here is the presentation I gave.

This presentation explores the pros and cons of the traditional charity model versus the social enterprise model. It explains why the golden age of non-profit funding is over. It emphasizes the importance of adopting either the business model or mindset of a social enterprise. The presentation also reveals some of the challenges that non-profit organizations will experience on their Journey to Social Enterprise.

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