Category Archives for "Blog"

30% Discount to SOCAP ’14 – Igniting Vibrant Communities – for the GatherWell Community

Join the world’s pioneering impact investors, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, civic leaders, and innovators at SOCAP14. At SOCAP we create the intersections where you – with friends and valuable strangers – form partnerships and mobilize resources and capital for good.

SOCAP:

  • Connects impact investors (who want a mix of financial return along with positive social and environmental impact) with investable entrepreneurs (who can make it happen);
  • Brings reports from the field, highlighting trends and new research; and
  • Enables connections that create a market where meaning has a place at the table.

Everyone participates in the social capital market in a different way. Whether you are an entrepreneur or an investor, a researcher or a policy maker, a student or a fund manager, SOCAP14 will have content within our themes suited to you. Whether this is your first SOCAP or you’re an old hand, you will find value at SOCAP14.

Something new for this year is both entry level and graduate level workshops. While we’ll still have plenty of beginner content, special attention will be given to some deep-dive sessions for experienced practitioners. Come be challenged and raise your game to the next level.

Learn more here and write to SOCAP (at) gatherwell.com to get the discount code, just include in the e-mail the one thing you most hope to get out of attending SOCAP, or the biggest problem you are facing right now in being well and doing good

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Stories of Transformation

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

Join the Dalai Lama Fellows on June 5th in San Francisco for Stories of Transformation.

A gathering of passionate idealists sharing moments of change and possibility.

Also learn more about the Dalai Lama Fellow’s new Compassionate Action Network.

Wine and snacks will be provided.  There will be a raffle with prizes including dinner for two at Chez Pannisse.

Here is a link to the eventbrite invitation we hope that you will join us.

 

Don’t think data, think stories

by Wendy Jeffries

Those of us trying to make a difference in the social sector are often asked to prove our organization’s value or to articulate the impact of what we do.

Many non-profits try to show their worth by throwing out lots of numbers and creating professional looking reports.

While this looks impressive and conveys how many people you have helped or all the great programs you are undertaking, does it really demonstrate your full impact? Too many times the answer is no.

So what is a better way?

Start by thinking about: What is the story you want to tell?”

While many non-profits have perfected the art of picking a case example and writing a compelling vignette to articulate their work, this is just not enough anymore.

Yes, these examples elicit empathy and can stir people to action.

But, what do these examples say about the full reach and value of your work?

What I’m asking (because this is what the founders, board, and others will ask) is: “Tell me the whole story of how your work is creating a positive change for the people you are serving.”

Make it real by painting a picture for stakeholders who care but who are not part of your organization’s daily activities.

What do I mean?

Recently, I helped a program that educates elementary school children about the journey of food from farm to table.

They were asked by a potential funder, “How will you measure impact?” as part of a grant application.

The program staff understood that simply providing the number of kids and schools that participate or sharing student reflections and drawings from their trip to the farm wasn’t enough.

Through conversations guided by the question of “what story do you want to tell?”, they decided to explain how this program led students to make small behavioral changes. For example, how many students tried to make the recipe at home and how many students were willing to try a new vegetable.

Through this lens, the program illustrated how the immediate activities were enacting larger change and having a lasting effect on the students.

So what should you be asking yourself when you set out to demonstrate that your work is not just doing specific good but making a long-term difference?

Here are three questions to get you started:

  1. What is the story? – i.e., what is the convincing narrative that proves you are making a difference or creating positive change?
  2. What are the details of my story? – i.e., what evidence or data do I need in order to tell this story, and where can I get this information?
  3. What is the point of my story? – i.e., how is your work having an impact by improving outcomes for your clients, creating positive change in the community, etc.?

From what I’ve seen, organizations in the social sector that best illustrate their impact are those that combine a compelling narrative (“the story”) with cold, hard facts (“the evidence”).

As Jacob Harold, President and CEO of Guidestar, sums it up in a recent article, “….data is simply organized story telling.”

This week, think through these three questions to get started on your story.

Wendy Jeffries works with the non-profit and education sectors to improve programs and outcomes through the effective use of data

Have a Frontier Market Scout Fellow Support Your Cause

The Frontier Market Scout (www.fmsscouts.org) program is a certificate training focused on social venture management and impact investment. The program started in 2011 at the Monterey Institute (MIIS) and has trained over 130 young professionals since its inception. In February 2013 FMS received a Cordes Innovation Award from AshokaU. FMS offers trainings in Amsterdam and Monterey, California.

The goal of the FMS field placement fellowship is to bring talent to existing social enterprises—both nascent and well established—to scale projects and to offer a meaningful career-defining experience to program participants.  FMS is continually looking for new partners who would benefit from adding new and specialized talent to their team.

After successful completion of the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) certificate training, fellows are offered the possibility of working with local social entrepreneurs and investors to discover innovations, improve business processes, attract investments, and promote sustainable businesses models.

FMS fellows have professional experience, multilingual capacity (in most cases), and have been vetted for excellence by the fellowship placement team at the Monterey Institute for International Studies. To learn more or to become a partner, visit: www.fmsscouts.org