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.

Don’t just rely on grant funding for your survival

This article was published in the January 2015 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 6 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.

This article discusses the problem of relying on donations or grant funding for one’s survival. It argues that this short-sighted approach increases risk and limits social impact.

Greater Capital is profiled in this edition. This social enterprise earns 100% of its income from its research and consulting services.

Refine your business model and show value for money

This article was published in the December 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 5 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.

This article discusses how organizations must be able to demonstrate value for money. In other words, donors, investors and beneficiaries must feel that they are getting a good deal given the price versus the quality social outcomes that are being achieved.

This edition profiles Malcolm Boyd from Our Governance – a social enterprise that has developed an online training programme to improve the governance of non-profit organizations.

Define the positive outcomes your enterprise achieves

This article was published in the October 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 3 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.

This month’s article discusses why it is so important to measure social outcomes. It presents the logic model which describes the relationships between inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes. It also discusses how the measurement of outcomes can help organizations to refine their business models and attract funding and investment.

Josh Cox from Trade-Mark is profiled in this edition. This social enterprise links skilled township tradesman with suburban households in need of their services. This profile discusses how Trade-Mark made a major breakthrough after its started measuring its social outcomes.

Clearly define the purpose of your enterprise

This article was published in the September 2014 edition of the Small Business Connect newspaper. It is part 2 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.

When I started in the social sector in 1996, it was common for organizations to have vision and mission statements. These tended to be extremely abstract and provide no strategic focus. It is unfortunate how many organizations wonder through life without a sense of where they’re going. This article discusses the importance of clarity of purpose and the ability to clearly state one’s purpose without using jargon.

This edition also profiles Karen Moss from Steps, and organization that has healed clubfoot in over 8,200 children in Southern Africa since 2005. This organization has incredible clarity of purpose and this clarity has been a building block in its success.

Think like a social enterprise – the ebook

I’ve discovered that social enterprise is both a business model and a paradigm or way of thinking. While the social enterprise business model is only suitable for some organizations, I believe that almost all organizations with a social agenda can benefit from embracing the mind-set of a social enterprise.

This e-book from June 2014 describes each of the 10 principles that underpin the way that social enterprises think. This is relevant to all types of organizations.

Think like a social enterprise

It is my current view that social enterprise is both a business model and a paradigm or way of thinking. While the social enterprise business model is only suitable for some organizations, I believe that almost all organizations with a social agenda can benefit from embracing the mind-set of a social enterprise.

This presentation from June 2014 introduces the 10 key components of the social enterprise mind-set. It was first presented at a conference for non-profit organizations hosted by the City of Cape Town.

Strategy Rethink: Find a renewed sense of clarity and purpose

It is time for many organizations to rethink their strategies and learn the new rules for success. Those that are able to will thrive; those that don’t may be required to close their doors.

Kate Clayton and I have developed the Strategic Rethink in August 2013 to enable organizations to re-examine their strategies and discover what they need to focus on. Kate Clayton is a brand and marketing strategist that I’ve worked with over the years.

This Strategic Rethink is a six session programme that covers Business Strategy, Brand Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Plan and Strategic Debrief.

Read more about the Strategic Rethink and how it can help your organization on its journey.

Has Business Strategy become a Cargo Cult?

Imagine it’s 1946 and World War 2 has just ended. Both Japanese and allied forces have withdrawn from many small Pacific Islands. Military aircraft no longer drop supplies to their soldiers on remote islands, and the flow of goods to natives has ended. Local shamans have inspired their followers to build “pretend” airfields, control towers, and straw soldiers. Some of the more inspired local leaders have dressed their followers in imitation uniforms and now parade the fake soldiers on runways. A cargo cult has been established in an effort to trick airplanes to land and drop supplies. This is ritual mimicry married to a poor understanding of what is really going on.

It is no surprise that most strategic planning processes closely resemble cargo cults and these misunderstood rituals tend to be unsuccessful and provide little value to companies. In this article from June 2012, Dr Roger Stewart and I discuss both the failure of strategy and what organizations can do to improve their strategies.

Strategic Acumen: Natural Talent or Something You Learn in an MBA?

Have you ever wondered why some organizations fail to succeed, despite hundreds of hours of strategic planning sessions and a multitude of ambitious MBA minds behind the steering wheel? We already know that these organizations need capable leadership. New research also suggests that organizations need leaders with strategic acumen, and that strategic acumen is much more like an innate ability, than something one learns at college.

This article from August 2008 dispels various myths about strategy and emphasizes the need to choose talent carefully.

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