Collaborative disruption: nonprofit world

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By Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO, First Book |

Changing the world is a complicated business. You need a powerful mission that will inspire and motivate people; you need a problem that needs solving and an effective way to solve it.

But you also need funding. It’s critical, but rarely the part that inspires people. The fundraising teams of most nonprofits work behind the scenes, searching (and competing) for donations and grants to fund the organization. That”s the traditional approach, and while it has been effective in some cases, it”s not the way forward.

Nonprofit social enterprises are flipping that model around using collaborative disruption — they are putting the funding component front and center by making it an integral part of the core mission, and working with for-profits and online casino other nontraditional partners to deliver on that mission.

These kinds of approaches take some people by surprise, particularly those used to a traditional charity model — we give you some money, and you go off and do some good work with it. But it”s challenging — and ineffective — to create real, lasting social change with the old model, because you”re always working uphill against market forces instead of making them work for you. The collaborative disruption model, where nonprofits invest in for-profits to drive mission-related advances, can be effective no matter the scale.

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