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The Shin Fujiyama Podcast | Social Entrepreneurship | Nonprofit Organizations | International Development Aid | NGOs

Shin Fujiyama is a CNN Hero and the Executive Director of Students Helping Honduras. He lives with 30 former street children in Honduras where he runs a school and international NGO out of a tree house. In each episode Shin will be interviewing a proven social entrepreneur or NGO leader in the nonprofit or international development aid industry-- including several CNN Heroes and bestselling authors. They’re going to deconstruct their journey to explain HOW they built up their organizations. They’ll also tell us about their greatest failures, lessons, regrets, and behind-the-scenes realities. We’ll talk about their tactics, philosophies, principles, tools, and motivations to give you inspiration and actionable advice. 1) Subscribe to this podcast. 2) Turn on automatic downloads. 3) Leave me a review. 4.) Enjoy every new interview for FREE during your commute or workout.
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May 23, 2018

While traveling in Liberia as an undergraduate research student, William Smith played in 7am pickup soccer games. As the captain of the varsity team at the College of William & Mary (‘14), he needed to stay in shape. Little did he know what would happen next.

William’s foot skills impressed Sekou “Georgie” Manubah, a former national team player. A few days later, Georgie invited William to play a friendly game at the national stadium. But it was no ordinary game. It was the Liberian Peace and Reconciliation match where JJ Okocha, Samuel Eto’o, Patrick Mboma, and Roger Milla had been invited. The organizer of the event was the legendary George Weah, Africa’s only FIFA World Player of the Year (and Liberia’s soon-to-be-President).

35,000 fans—including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—came out to watch the game. William was the only non-African player on the field. Though he lost the match that day, William gained an important insight that summer: The potential of football to change Liberia’s failing education system and gender inequality.

Liberia’s challenges were staggering. A devastating civil war had killed 250,000 people of its 3.5 million population. The GDP per capita was $455 (compared to $2,300 in Honduras). It was the least electrified country in the world. In 2013, 25,000 high school graduates in Liberia took the university entrance exam and every single one failedThen Ebola broke out in 2014.

In November 2014, William asked himself a simple question: “What about a football academy? What if we use this passion and energy that young people have for football as an incentive for kids to improve in the classroom, to break down gender barriers, and to ultimately prepare students to lead positive change?”

He reached out to Georgie and together they wrote out a plan for Monrovia Football Academy.

He began raising money in London while pondering their next steps: “What does the concept actually look like? How many students do we start with? What ages? How many boys? How many girls? Where do we do this?”

There was no time to waste. 58% of 15-24 year olds in Liberia were not completing primary education. “We jump in when ebola finishes,” they said to each other. It was a tough time to start an NGO. People couldn’t shake hands, hug each other, go to school, or play soccer for an entire year because of ebola. In 2015 when ebola subsided, they opened MFA—the first football academy in Africa with a principle of 50/50 gender equity.

William was full of self-doubts. “I had no idea how I was doing any of it,” he said. “You’d be a fool to think you have all the answers.” He tried to convince himself to try and be okay with the prospect of failure while being obsessive about not letting it fail. He woke up early each morning asking himself, what was next? How do we get better? How do we improve?

He gave a fundraising pitch at Saracens Rugby Club but that was not enough. He was asked to do a second and then a third presentation. Finally, they awarded MFA $45,000 for seed funding. Crowdfunding campaigns, meetings with potential donors, and events followed. Like pre-season training at an elite soccer camp, the pace was grueling. But his persistence began to pay off.

Now in its third year, Monrovia Football Academy is showing great promise. President Sirleaf visited, as well as US Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Results from preliminary impact studies demonstrated academic and athletic improvements. Word began to spread. In 2017, 1,062 students applied for the 21 spots available at the academy. “We’re trying to be the best school in Liberia,” said William. “That’s our goal.”

William Smith Reading List

William Smith Show Notes

  • Will grew up in Connecticut and played soccer his whole life
  • He studied political science at the College of William & Mary and worked at Capital Hill during a summer but did not enjoy the experience
  • William took a course on African Studies which fascinated him
  • He went to Liberia for three months to do a research project with the US Embassy during his final summer as a college student
  • Liberia’s history is intertwined with the US
  • In the early 1800s, the US had The American Colonization Society which identified freed black Americans and slaves to see what to do with them. They decided to send them to Africa.
  • In 1821, the first ship of these former slaves arrived in Liberia
  • In 1847, Liberia became the first free republic in the African continent
  • Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, was named after James Monroe
  • The Liberian flag is very similar to the American flag
  • The country was named Liberia because liberty is an important value for the US
  • Liberia has the fourth lowest GDP in the world, $455/year
  • Honduras’ GDP is $2,300/year
  • Liberia has been unstable for the last 38 years, since the coup d’etat in 1980
  • In 1989 a devastating civil war broke out that killed 250,000 people out of a total population of 3.5 million
  • In 2003 a ceasefire was put into place and the former President Charles Taylor stepped down
  • In 2005, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first female President in Africa after an election
  • Ebola in Liberia was at its height in 2014-15
  • Liberians on the ground were vital to stopping ebola
  • The Monrovia Football Academy started in 2015 when Liberia was not ebola free
  • William was not able to shake hands with anyone because of the ebola threat
  • While preparing for his final season of college soccer in Liberia, William was playing pickup games at 7am
  • William met Sekou Dgeorges Manubah “Georgie”, a former Liberian national team player, during one of those pickup games
  • They had a similar philosophy around how the game should be played so they exchanged numbers
  • William was an intern for the State Department at the time
  • “Will, do you want to play with George Weah’s team against the Liberian national team right now?”
  • George Weah is the only African ever named Fifa World Player of the Year. He was essentially in 1995 Leo Messi.
  • Will played the game at the national stadium. Though they lost, “it wasn’t bad.”
  • Former players who played at Arsenal and Monaco were on Will’s team that day. Though still had the game in them despite being in their 40s
  • At the time Weah was the Peace Ambassador for Liberia and so he organized a Peace & Reconciliation Match where he invited legends from the African continent like JJ Okocha, Samuel Eto’o, Patrick Mboma, Roger Milla
  • Will, a center back, was invited to play in the game as the only non-African
  • 35,000 fans attended the game as well as President Sirleaf
  • 25,000 high school graduates in Liberia took the university entrance exam and every single one failed. The education system in Liberia was a mess
  • Will took back three important lessons: The transformative potential of football, the failing education in Liberia, and gender inequality (he never saw girls play)
  • “At the time I was a kid who had been studying this stuff for less than a year. I had no idea what to do. So I started reading as much as I could.”
  • Jonny Steinberg taught African Studies at Oxford
  • William wanted to study under Steinberg so he applied and got into Oxford’s Masters program in 2014
  • There was so much football talent in Liberia but not enough coaching
  • William was the only foreigner who had such an extensive network with Liberian footballers
  • “What about a football academy? What if we use this passion and energy that young people have for football as an incentive for kids to improve in the classroom, to break down gender barriers, and to ultimately prepare our students to lead positive change?”
  • The idea was born in November, 2014
  • William reached out to Georgie to turn the idea into an organization despite the ebola breakout
  • “What does the concept actually look like? How many students do we start with? What ages? How many boys? How many girls? Where do we do this?”
  • William moves quickly. He began raising money in 2015 in London
  • “We jump in when ebola finishes.”
  • Kids missed an entire year of school during the outbreak
  • People could not hug each other, shake hands, nor play soccer
  • It was more difficult for NGOs already operating to continue, whereas those who hadn’t started (like Monrovia Football Academy) could wait things out
  • Monrovia Football Academy was the first football academy in Africa with a principle of 50/50 gender equity
  • In 2015, less than 37% of Liberian girls ages 15-24 were literate vs. 62% of boys were literate
  • There is a gender disparity in most indicators
  • William’s mission has been: to help Liberian children thrive and reshape/redefine the relationship between US and Liberia to make it more just, equitable, and rooted in collaboration
  • Of 18 staff members, William is the only non-Liberian. He hopes to one day make it 100% Liberian.
  • They started with 16 boys and 11 girls
  • The kids are with them from 8am-6pm five days per week
  • The academy has a holistic approach
  • They get breakfast (8am), life skills lessons, computer literacy courses, meditation, yoga, football class (9:30-10am), 10-11:30 professional football practice
  • They have 5 coaches at the moment
  • Liberia is still discovering the type of football it wants to play
  • In the afternoon, they shower, have lunch, and return to classes
  • They still operate in rented facilities, including the fields and classroom space
  • They hope to build their own facility soon
  • President Sirleaf came to visit the academy at the end of the first year
  • 700 students applied the second year and they grew to 47 students
  • The US women’s national team coach (Jill Ellis) and goalkeeper (Ashlyn Harris) visited Monrovia Football Academy in 2016.
  • 1,062 students applied in 2017 for 21 spots
  • They now have 68 students from grades 3-6. They are adding one grade each year
  • They are not a football factory that measures success by the number of professional football players produced
  • The kids have health insurance and medics at Monrovia Football Academy
  • Many sport academies look for football talent more than anything else
  • At Monrovia Football Academy, applicants take an entrance exam and has a football tryout
  • “School first, football second.”
  • They must pass the written test
  • They interview the top 75 students (along with their parents)
  • They invite the top 50 applicants to summer camp where they are carefully observed for football talent, character, academic excellence, commitment, “it” factor
  • They then choose the 5 best footballers, 5 best students, and 10 best student athletes
  • The school community that way becomes well rounded
  • 14 of Liberia’s 16 ethnic groups are represented at Monrovia Football Academy
  • 85% of Liberians are Christian, 15% Muslim. The academy sees similar percentages in their student body
  • The household income of the students are diverse, 70%+ come from poverty.
  • Early on, they did not have enough policies, structure, procedures in place
  • It took at least 18 months of iterating to develop a strong structure
  • They had decided to start with ages 9-11
  • They had no way to see if a child cheated during the entrance exam. They did it at a school cafeteria but were short on staff
  • “The key for our success was our willingness to adapt, adjust, and take chances.”
  • Instead of failing out the lower-performing students during the first year, they created a lower grade to keep them in school
  • 9 out of the 11 low performing students are now excelling academically
  • “We’re trying to be the best school in Liberia. That’s our goal.”
  • Less than 5% of teachers in Liberia have bachelor’s degrees. 100% at Monrovia Football Academy have a bachelor’s degree
  • Average salary in Liberia is $180/month. The teachers at Monrovia Football Academy make at least $300/month
  • “I had no idea how I was doing any of it. You’d be a fool to think you have all the answers.”
  • Humility and bringing in experts
  • They have pro-bono experts from all over the world who offer advice and support
  • “It’s been so much fun. Waking up everyday, it doesn’t feel like work.”
  • “You wake up in the morning and ask what’s next? How do we get better? How do we improve?”
  • Saracens Rugby Club from London was one of the first major donors
  • William has many relatives from the UK
  • William needed to do three, different pitches to get the $45,000 seed funding from Saracens
  • They then raised $12,000 through crowdfunding and did several fundraising events
  • Board members help make introductions for Will to meet potential donors
  • Their donor base is increasing steadily
  • William spends half of his time in Liberia and the other half fundraising in the US and UK
  • They use Quickbooks for their accounting
  • They have a development and evaluation officer who is a Liberian studying at Princeton
  • It cost $99,000 to run the academy its first year. The second year, it was $124,000. The third year, it will be around $170,000.
  • It costs $2,500 to sponsor one child per year
  • Liberia has the lowest level of public electrification in the world
  • The biggest budget item is salaries for their incredible staff members
  • Their staff get health insurance, good pay, vacation days, paid maternity leave, etc.
  • “On our website, you will see my face very little. We want this to be a Liberian initiative.”
  • They try to show an authentic image and accurate representation of Liberia’s true realities
  • They break down the sponsorship program if people cannot give the full $2,500
  • They write for www.goal.com each month
  • Their meals are very nutritious and often include Power Gari for breakfast
  • They get a snack after practice, usually fruit
  • They eat a lot of (red) rice in Liberia
  • The Liberian cuisine is heavy on the starch, maybe 80% rice-based
  • The students also have classes on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
  • Blessing is a six grader at the academy. Only 8 girls showed up on the first day of school.
  • Of 1,000+ applicants, only 60 of them were girls!
  • They went to West Point, the poorest community in the area, too look for girls who played soccer to enroll more girl
  • BBC did a story on Jessica, one of the students at Monrovia Football Academy
  • Blessing is the second best student in the 6th grade and typically starts on the team with the boys
  • “The sport-for-development sector is full of this romanticized rhetoric about how sport has the power to change the world. But there is very little statistical evidence.”
  • It is very important for us to show impact, in things like academic proficiency, their attitudes toward gender & violence, their pride in Liberian identity, potential for leadership
  • They designed a quantitative analysis study
  • 4 students from William & Mary came down to do the pilot study
  • Their students performed 12% better academically than a control group after the first year
  • Professors from William & Mary and Oxford are helping carry out the evaluation
  • The impact studies have cost very little for Monrovia Football Academy
  • They evaluate soccer metrics mostly based on passing and decision making
  • They want to improve on their tactical awareness
  • “I see myself as the entrepreneur in the background.”
  • William currently manages the fundraising, accounting, legal work, marketing, public relations, background administrative work, etc.
  • He juggles two different worlds: one in Liberia where he’s having one-on-one meetings with his students to resolve typical 8-year-old problems and then meeting with wealthy, potential donors in New York the following week
  • To cut travel costs, William stays with family and friends when he can
  • “If there’s one time in my life where I have no responsibilities, I don’t have a family, if I fail it’s okay? It’s right now. So why not give it a go?”
  • “The worst case scenario? We put in a lot of work for 10 months and it doesn’t work and then I find another job.”
  • “It was about being okay with the prospect of failure, but being obsessive about not letting it fail.”
  • William has been on a plane every six days
  • “You’re constantly on the move and there isn’t much time for family, friends, or a significant other.”
  • It’s been difficult for Will to find work life balance
  • Will has fused his two passions: soccer and academia
Apr 17, 2018

During his senior year at the University of Kentucky, Jacob Dietz made it his mission to raise $25,000 for Students Helping Honduras. He and his classmates wanted to build a school in La Lima, Honduras, where 400 children lacked a middle school building.

Jacob asked himself: “Do I have the ability and time and self-discipline to do this?” It all seemed daunting. The previous year, they had raised $11,000—less than half of what they hoped to raise this year.

He called up his SHH chapter at the university for a meeting. For him, the group was “a team in the utmost sense.” They studied and discussed how other chapters had succeeded in different cities. A few days later, they decided on an event that had been carried out in New York and Maryland. They were going to organize a gala to raise $25,000 in one night. It would be called Brick By Brick, Kentucky.

Jessica Schilling, a fellow student at Kentucky, worked alongside Jacob as the co-organizer. The two had gone to school together since kindergarten. But for Jacob, he would have never imagined such a partnership with Jess. In fact, he never talked to her when they were kids. “Jess was always the smartest student in the grade. I failed 4th grade math,” he said. A shared mission turned them into an unstoppable duo.

The two of them spent hours handwriting invitation letters. They drove around endlessly, talking to businesses to find sponsors. They faced one rejection after another. They created videos for social media but they kept stumbling over their words in front of the camera. When things felt overwhelming, Jacob closed his eyes and imagined the night of the event where all his friends would be there. His parents who planned on missing work to be there. His brother Josh who had tirelessly helped him that semester.

When they paid the down payment to reserve the venue, they knew there was no turning back. One challenge after another awaited Jacob and his team. Guests waited until the last minute to register. They found typos in the posters they had printed at Staples. A video Jacob had spent hours on crashed on the morning of the event. He had to decide, “Do I put the work back in? Or do I scrap it?”

Did Jacob and his team prevail? Find out how the night unfolded by listening to this unbelievable podcast episode.

Apr 4, 2018

Rich Johnson is the co-founder of Spark Ventures, a nonprofit focused on international community development in Zambia, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Along the way, Spark Ventures began to facilitate engagement trips for the mutual benefit of supporters and partner communities abroad.

In this episode, Rich discusses his past challenges, fundraising, creating a separate business venture called Ignite, Board development, trends in impact travel, voluntourism, and more.

Rich Johnson Reading List

The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change The World by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan

Rich Johnson Show Notes

  • In 2006 Rich Johnson was hanging out with two friends when they decided to go to Africa
  • They went to Zambia and found a community organization there called HOPE that was helping children affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis
  • Previously, Rich had been doing marketing consulting with Fortune 500 companies
  • Shortly after, Rich returned to Zambia with 16 students at the university where he worked
  • HOPE lacked resources so Spark began to raise funds back in the US
  • “What is it do you need? How can we support you?” they asked HOPE
  • Spark Ventures helped HOPE with strategic planning, leadership development, and capacity building
  • A friend become a major donor
  • They organized a fundraising bar night where 300 friends showed up
  • They raised $25,000 at the event
  • “What systems and process can we put into place?” They started with weekly calls, monthly reports, quarterly visits, annual audits with their community partners
  • In Nicaragua, they spent too much money on buying land that they ran out of money to start the farm project they had intended to start. They struggled because they lacked expertise in agriculture
  • The farm in Nicaragua now has 70,000 plantain trees and 40,000 cacao trees. Disease has been a problem
  • Rich was running Spark Ventures part-time for four years before it became full time
  • In Nicaragua, many children were devastated during the civil war. Las Tias was an organization that helped them in the city of Leon.
  • Las Tias didn’t have just one leader. They used a co-leadership model with 3 leaders.
  • During their ten year anniversary, Rich did an internal asset audit and re-examined trends in the social impact industry
  • Over 500 people had traveled with Spark during its first 10 years
  • Companies and friends wanted to participate in impact travel, adventure, and cultural exchange
  • Rich Johnson created Ignite, a separate business that specializes in impact travel.
  • The separation prevents mission creep and also allowed him to invest more into marketing and sales
  • A portion of the trip fees for Ignite go to support the partner organizations
  • 60% of the trip fees are poured into the local economy
  • Ignite raised money in the beginning to make the initial hires
  • Some nonprofits are better geared for grant fundings. Others are more geared towards corporate funding or government funding.
  • Many grassroots organizations working in international development aid, like Spark, focus on individual donations
  • Spark has learned to focus on their major donors
  • More than 50% of the funding for Spark comes from events and individual donations
  • Spark supports students in Zambia who can’t even afford the “free” government schools
  • Ezran, a child in Zambia, walked two miles to school every day and passed a cemetery where his relatives who had died of AIDS were buried. Spark recreated that 2-mile journey in a warehouse in Chicago using images and provisional buildings
  • The event raised $40,000 through ticket sales and donations
  • The Board of Directors at Spark has played a critical role
  • Many Board members want to be engaged with the mission and not only in the fundraising. The challenge is, the work is being done in another country. Spark encourages Board members to travel to partner countries.
  • Spark has a Board job description that requires attendance to three meetings and one major event. They also have fundraising expectations
  • What started as a “friends and family” Board evolved over the years
  • Rich Johnson was reluctant to use the word “volunteer” because it is loaded. There has been a backlash against volunteering and voluntourism. Some of it is well deserved.
  • Spark doesn’t try to go in as western saviors. It’s always been about partnerships and learning as much as giving
  • Rich’s preferred word is “community engagement.” It’s more about joining and learning.
  • He uses the word "traveler" instead of "volunteer."
  • Volunteering can sometimes disrupt a partner organization
  • Rich mediates each morning and exercises. He goes on retreats to the ocean or for hiking
  • Rich Johnson uses Insight Timer for his meditation
Feb 12, 2018

Alex Altman and Zeke Copic are longtime supporters of Students Helping Honduras. They have been organizing a charity gala each year in NYC called Brick By Brick to benefit SHH. In this episode, we discuss what it takes—step-by-step—to organize a gala that can raise $25,000+ for your favorite nonprofit organization.

Show Notes

  • The first thing to do is to understand the audience
  • One of the biggest costs is the event venue
  • They wanted to make sure the cost was as low as possible
  • A friend of Zeke organized a charity casino night but ended up spending way too much for the overhead cost
  • Brick By Brick has gotten the event venue spaces donated
  • Sesame Corporation donated the space in 2016 and 2017
  • Venues need to be reserved months in ahead
  • They had a leadership council made up of 6 volunteers who had been down to Honduras and were dedicated
  • Alex Altman and Zeke Copic did the first Bricky By Brick without much help
  • It’s hard to hit a broad social network if all the organizers come from the same place
  • The marketing happened mostly via email
  • The invitation email was sent out 30 days before the event. They have done it 60 days in advance in the past
  • They created a Facebook and LinkedIn event
  • Zeke emailed all of his friends directly with a personal note
  • Zeke was obsessed with checking Classy
  • About 90 people showed up to the event
  • Most people waited until the very last week to buy tickets. It was “harrowing”
  • They charged $75 per ticket for presales and $100 at the door
  • Only 3 people bought at the door
  • The event space had a cap of 100 people
  • Almost all of the guests were colleagues from work
  • Many relatives donated auction items
  • Many people have come to the event three years in a row
  • There is a short presentation about the cause during the event
  • It’s important to keep the email lists from each year
  • The first Brick By Brick sold tickets at $50 but people had to pay for drinks
  • They had food and an open bar at the event. The food was donated
  • “Do your silent auctions yourselves.”
  • It’s not a good idea to have a company run the silent auction because they take the vast majority of the profits and will likely have items that won’t sell
  • There was a diverse price range for the silent auction items ($20-$300)
  • They bought 40 cardboard bricks from the internet and sold them. 20 of them had a prize hidden inside. They had come up with the idea just a few days before the event. The bricks sold for $20 each
  • Someone from the leadership committee walked around selling bricks
  • Alex was focused on the logistics during the event, like making sure there was a coat check and making sure the food was changed, video was prepared, etc.
  • Zeke went around spending time with as many people as possible even though it is hard for an introvert like him
  • $7,000 came from ticket sales, $14,000 came from a few large donations, and the rest came from item sales
  • Corporate matching grants were important
  • People don’t realize that the companies they work for may give match grants
  • They used www.Doublethedonation.com to find out if their companies gave match grants
  • Getting corporate sponsorships can take a lot longer than you think
  • Sending thank you cards after the event is important
  • Donors love seeing update photos from Honduras, which sets them up to donate for the next year
  • The organizers can expect to absorb some of the costs to run a gala
Jan 10, 2018

Countless nonprofit organizations are stuck on the treadmill of financial survival. Most of their energy is spent trying to make payroll at the end of each month—which means less time is spent maximizing their impact. Does that sound familiar to you?

For five years Kathleen Janus traveled the country to find out how successful organizations like Teach for America, City Year, and Charity: Water broke through their barriers. She conducted studies and interviewed 200 social entrepreneurs.

She documented their secrets to success and wrote down the five patterns that got them there. Soon, a playbook was created. In this episode, Kathleen talks about her new book, Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up and Make a Difference. She is a lawyer, lecturer at Stanford, and founder of Spark.

Kathleen Janus Reading List

The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman

Kathleen Janus Show Notes

  • Kathleen Janus grew up in Napa, California and began volunteering at a very early age
  • Her parents sat on many nonprofit Boards
  • She noticed early on how nonprofits struggled to survive financially
  • Kathleen in her twenties got together with her college friends and started SPARK to support gender equality
  • They organized a fundraising event in San Francisco and raised $5,000 to help women in Rwanda
  • $5,000 seemed like a lot of money at the time
  • SPARK doubled its revenue every few months
  • Kathleen was a practicing lawyer at the time
  • They were able to hire an executive director when they hit a certain size
  • The organization hit a wall
  • When Kiva went on Oprah, they raised $11 million overnight
  • Of the 300,000 nonprofits in the US, ⅔ of them raise less than $500,000 per year
  • There is a desert of failed pilot nonprofits because they were unable to sustain themselves
  • A nonprofit that raises $2 million per year has likely hit financial sustainability
  • Organizations that scaled quickly first went into a quiet phase where they tested different strategies to get proof of concept
  • “It’s about improving the model as you grow.”
  • “Innovation becomes a part of your organization’s DNA.”
  • Wishbone was started by a school teacher who asked her low-income students to write essays about their passions. She forwarded those essays to family and friends to raise a few thousand dollars to give these kids summer experiences. She updated the donors and decided to scale.
  • Wishbone now allows students to raise money on their online platform
  • “Impact measurement is absolutely critical.”
  • Measuring impact allows an organization to collect data and figure out if a program is working
  • “It’s not just about proving your program is working. It’s about improving the program.
  • 75% of the nonprofits surveyed collected data. But only 6% of them felt they made “good use” of their data.
  • An organization needs to figure out what indicators to measure, such as attendance rates of a scholarship recipient; feedback from students’ mentors, etc.
  • Such data gave confidence to donors and can lead to seed capital
  • Some randomized control trials can cost six figures
  • Very few nonprofits carry out randomized control trials early on
  • You can give incentives to survey participants (including control participants), like gift cards
  • Many nonprofits test earned income programs.
  • Hot Bread Kitchen provides job training for low-income women looking to enter the food industry. They created a cafe and also sold their produce to local markets
  • Hot Bread Kitchen started to provide childcare to their participants by raising funds. They now operate on 65% earned income and 35% philanthropy capital
  • “We tend to revere celebrity heroes. Steve Jobs. Mark Zuckerberg. Mohamad Yunus.”
  • “It’s actually not about the leader at the top.”
  • “Senior leadership was really critical for them.”
  • Only 15% of Boards are involved in fundraising for their nonprofits!
  • Many nonprofits complain about their Boards not doing enough.
  • Nonprofits should examine the written expectations of Board members and modify them if needed. And then hold Board members accountable.
  • Some organizations create Board engagement plans for each Board member
  • Some Board members have great connections with foundations. Others have great connections with wealthy individuals. They all bring different things to the table
  • One Board member sets up 12 coffee meetings per year for their Executive Director
  • “Great storytelling comes with practice.”
  • “You will never create a movement without a great story.”
  • Some TED speakers prepare for six months
  • Some organizations have storytelling roulettes and staff had to tell stories. Or they practice telling their story to groups of ordinary people.
  • Very few social entrepreneurs have books out
  • Op-eds and speaking opportunities add up
  • Having kids helps you set boundaries for your personal life
  • Kathleen Janus does yoga and meditation. She prioritizes spending time with her kids so she doesn’t work around the clock
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