Archive for the ‘social_entrepreneur’ Category

Non-profit Earned Income Ventures – “by the numbers”

January 26, 2008

Bridgespan study reports:

60% of the nonprofit sector’s total annual income is generated from fees and payments made directly in exchange for goods ad services.

The Social Enterprise Alliance reports:

219% overall increase in commercial activity as revenue source for nonprofits between 1982-2002.

The Social Enterprise Alliance’s annual conference is coming up:

The Social Enterprise Summit

March 9-11, 2008 — Boston

 Join over 600 other nonprofit social entrepreneurs, capital providers, and educators.  Find out something you can use to change the life of your own organization over the coming year.


Redesign PlayTest — Ready to Play

April 25, 2007

You are Cordially Invited

to PlayTest

the second iterative redesign of SElearninggames


Working Draft Scrn ShtThe redesigned SElearninggames wraps recognizable rules of game play around wiki and and blog tools to get us started making the elearning game together. Rounds and moves of game activities enable us to discover our common questions and common answers about nonprofit earned income venture profitability.

Our common questions and our common answers are the “meat & potatoes” elearning game content. Day-to-day, social entrepreneurs face operational and management questions that require balance between mission and money objectives. By sharing our questions, we can discover the key questions we have in common. We share our answers – we discover our common answers.

The relationship between our common questions and our common answers are the learning game “rules of play.” These rules of play arise straight out of our collective experience — when we see that ‘when you do “X”, then “Y” happens.’ The rules of play are the strategic meta-pattern solutions to our profitability problems.

Our first Question is about our Questions!

What is the key question balancing mission/money that YOU know nonprofit social entrepreneurs are asking about day-to-day operations, management, or feasibility of an earned income venture?

So – the answers to our first question are questions.

We are integrating a tool that enables us to generate and rate our questions. The top three questions will be popped back into the tool to generate and rate our answers. We can use this blog to discuss, refine, flesh out our questions/answers, problems/solutions. We use the wiki as the long-term repository of what we are discovering — creating the “paper & pencil” version of our elearning game design.

Come on over and play

See how you can share your questions.

See how you can share your answers.

See how we can discover what we have in common.

See how you can use the relationships we discover about what we have in common to increase the profitability of your own nonprofit earned income venture.

You can go directly from this blog post to enter your question.

You can put your question into a comment to this post for further discussion.

This is us — making the game together — as we play.

Social Entrepreneurs Learning Game Manifesto

November 2, 2006

I’ve been thinking about nonprofit social entrepreneurs making a learning game together for so long, I finally decided to blog about it.  A game that will solve the mystery of earned income profitability.

And, not just blog about it.  I have set up a wikispace for us to DO IT!  Its called “selearninggames” too. 🙂


There are over 550,000 social entrepreneurs in the U.S. – nonprofit organizations who are starting and growing earned income ventures to support their missions.

Surveys indicate that slightly less than half of these ventures are profitable. That’s good news – and bad news. It’s good news because so many are profitable. And its bad news that so many are not.

A bevy of “consultants” (I confess, myself included) has grown up around the nonprofit social entrepreneur movement. Many of these consultants (myself included) take an educational approach to assisting nonprofits to start and grow a venture successfully. Several formal educational institutions have established social entrepreneurship courses or programs to teach nonprofits how to start and grow venture successfully.

At this point, my theory (grounded in my professional experience) is that the strength of the nonprofit social entrepreneur movement has evolved a depth and breadth of experience that is sufficient for us to ‘teach’ ourselves.

The, by now classic, principles of knowledge management within a community of practice suggest that through conversation, sharing, and collaborative content creation – we can discover the tacit knowledge (stuff we don’t know we know) hidden in our collective experience, and make it explicit. From that collective knowledge, we can identify patterns that are effective solutions to the challenge of profitability. Then, each one of us can apply those solutions to our own venture’s success.

The emerging principles of learning games suggest that discovering the hidden strategic patterns that lead to social entrepreneur venture profitability can be FUN!

Game playing and – even more so – GAME MAKING – are activities grounded in discovering and applying pattern solutions to common challenges. All we have to do it do it. We can make a learning game together that will accelerate profitability for each one of us.