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The best regulation-approved finance software for charities | Charity Digital News, 10 sep 2019
How Do Nonprofit and For-Profit Hospitals Differ? It's Complicated | Nonprofit Quarterly, 10 sep 2019
Doing Business While Doing Good? Yes, It's Possible | Fortune, 10 sep 2019
Four Ways To Reimagine The Nonprofit | Forbes, 09 sep 2019
Volunteering with kids can help create a habit of giving | nwitimes.com, 09 sep 2019
On Philanthropy: In the eyes of business leaders, "social purpose" has replaced "shareholder capitalism" | The Denver Post, 08 sep 2019
A Better Way To Make Charitable Gifts | Forbes, 06 sep 2019
Giving the charitable sector the tools it needs to thrive | Policy Options, 05 sep 2019
'Design thinking' or how to promote innovation in social enterprises | BBVA, 05 sep 2019
Why the Rich Get Charitable Deductions and Everyone Else Can Suck Eggs | Nonprofit Quarterly, 04 sep 2019
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2019
Technology innovations are often associated with taking up jobs from humans. Consider some experts predicting that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could take over 40% of jobs by 2035. But, there is a brighter side to it. The tasks that are taken away by AI are generally those that are repetitive and monotonous, requiring less human creativity. This would infact provide more opportunities for people to be innovative and creative, making their jobs more fulfilling. Charities too have to take advantage of AI to improve efficiencies and let their workforce focus on doing good better and impact lives. Rhodri Davies of Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the author of Public Good by Private Means' and an expert on philanthropy and technology for giving, says, 'There are plenty of new jobs that will be actually created in the wake of the AI revolution.' Here are some of the charity jobs that artificial intelligence and machine learning can enhance - (1) Fundraiser: Chatbots can support in fundraising tasks. Organizations are already making use of online platforms to do so effectively and reach out to far-flung donors. (2) Support Services Assistant: Charity chatbots can help in guiding people towards the general information they require. This will help human staff to focus on more complex and sensitive queries. (3) Translator: AI-driven language translation can assist charity workers to communicate effectively with populations they serve and have language barrier with. (4) Conservation Scientist: Data science and machine learning is used in sustainability studies. AI can be used by wildlife and conservation charities to understand patterns such as habitat loss, climate change, water use, poaching etc. This will help better understand human impact on natural world and plan ahead. (5) Medical Researcher: AI and robotics are used in diagnostics and patient care. AI-driven data analysis helps spot patterns in behvior, symptoms and treatment effects. Thus providing effective treatment. Read on...
Charity Digital News:
The charity jobs that could soon be enhanced by AI
Author: Chloe Green
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 aug 2019
Social enterprises tackle societal and environmental issues utilizing business concepts for the larger interest of the society and reinvest profits back to sustain themselves. They support in building inclusive economy. According to the most recent statistics, there are around 5600 social enterprises in Scotland with an economic contribution of around £2 billion, ranging from community co-operatives to housing associations, enterprising charities and more. Duncan Thorp, policy and communications manager at Social Enterprise Scotland, explains how social enterprises are contributing to Scotland's economy and advocates collaborations between them and private sector for greater economic and social benefits. He explains why engaging social enterprises with private sector is win-win - 'Firstly, social failure is bad for business. Unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction and other issues negatively impact on businesses. People without work and opportunity don't have money to spend on goods and services. Social enterprises work at the frontline to solve these social problems. Private sector businesses should also engage with social enterprises because they bring real benefit in terms of opening up new markets and new business opportunities. Joint bids for public contracts and similar partnership working are options too. Businesses can contract social enterprises into their supply chains. This could be a catering contract, graphic design, meeting space hire or something else. It's also about private sector employees volunteering in social enterprises, in a skills exchange, for learning and personal development.' He advocates three key areas of partnership work - consumer demand, supply chains and contracting and procurement. He suggests that building mutually beneficial relationships between social enterprises and private sector businesses paves the way for knowledge exchange, positively influencing business culture and build an economy that benefits all. Read on...
Social enterprise is good for business - Duncan Thorp
Author: Duncan Thorp
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jul 2019
According to the online research by Booking.com, 59% of youth surveyed want to give back to society as part of their travel experience. This is almost double the global average (31% of Gen Z) that want to volunteer while travelling. Report surveyed 21807 respondents of 16 years or above in 29 markets with about 1000 from each country. 71% of Gen Z travellers consider volunteering as enhancement to their trip's authenticity - more interaction with local people and making a difference. Sustainability travel is also on the rise with care for environment at the top of traveller's mind. Ritu Mehrotra, country manager India at Booking.com, says, 'Over 71% of all travellers want to reduce their carbon footprint by limiting the distance travelled. This number increases further among the Gen Z to 76% as they want to use more environmentally-friendly transport, walking or biking, during the holidays.' Read on...
More youth want to volunteer while travelling: Report
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jul 2019
Experts' views are divided on how non-profit hospitals benefit communities. In US, non-profit hospitals received tax-benefits valued at over US$ 24 billion annually in 2011. In exchange for tax exemptions these hospitals provide 'community benefits' like free and subsidized care, investments in public health, community-based health initiatives intended to address the social determinants of health, such as food or housing insecurity. But, many observers argue that hospitals avoid making sustained community investments in favor of counting millions of dollars of 'discounts' to low-income patients as community benefits while aggressively pursuing unpaid bills. Krisda Chaiyachati and Rachel Werner, Senior Fellows at LDI University of Pennsylvania, have recently written two research to add information to this debate. They provide detailed estimates of how much hospitals spend on different types of community benefits, whether community benefits are matched to local need, and what effects community benefits have on health outcomes. Mr. Chaiyachati and Ms. Werner analyzed IRS tax data from over 1600 non-profit hospitals. By law, hospitals report total spending on community benefits, broken out by health care-related spending (e.g. free care), community-directed spending (e.g. anti-smoking initiatives or funds for local community organizations), and research and educational activities. To standardize comparisons, the authors measured all spending as shares of total hospital expenditures. Researchers find out that hospitals still rely on discounted charity care to meet community benefits requirements. In 2014, non-profit hospitals reported that they spent an average of 8.1% (US$ 17 million) of their total expenditures on community benefits, more than 80% of which was health care-related. On average, 6.7% (US$ 11 million) of expenditures were on health care services, compared to 0.7% (US$ 1.2 million) for community-directed contributions. The remainder of community benefits were on educational and research initiatives. The results are disappointing in light of a second study from Ms. Werner and Mr. Chaiyachati, which suggests that community-directed spending could improve health outcomes, specifically, 30-day readmission rates. Readmissions rates are a useful measure of health care quality-capturing in-hospital care, discharge planning, and follow-up. Since the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have been financially penalized for high readmission rates. The evidence from research suggests that increased investment in the social determinants of health, rather than simply writing off free care, has a significant impact on measurable health outcomes. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2019
According to 'Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) 2017' by nonprofit Pratham, about 42% of rural youth between the ages of 14 and 18 were employed in January 2018, despite going to school. Among these, 79% were working in agriculture, while at the same time only 1.2% of the youth surveyed wanted to become farmers. India's rural population residing in about 600000 villages has not benefited substantially from economic growth and opportunities are limited, resulting in large migration of youth to urban areas in search for greener pastures. But, they are not well equipped in terms of education and skills, to compete in a challenging urban environment to avail better opportunities and respectable lifestyle. Education, coupled with skill development, is the key to bring them at par with their urban counterparts. Ashweetha Shetty, founder of Bodhi Tree Foundation, is trying to bridge this rural-urban divide by building confidence and self-esteem among young people living in rural areas. Explaining the work of her nonprofit, Ms. Shetty says, 'Our foundation works with rural youth between the ages of 17 and 23. We help them build life skills and enlighten them about opportunities. We achieve all this through intervention at our village centers. We have a residential program for girls, and we also work with district administrations on initiatives, particularly those which concern the children of sanitation workers. Most of the rural youth we help are usually first generation college goers. Bodhi Tree helps them to think about their future. These young kids have many inferiority complexes, and there is an information gap. We are trying to bridge that through our organization.' Regarding the life skills that her organization is trying to build, she says, 'We do self-development, self-awareness workshops, and provide exposure to opportunities - we help the children to discover what they want to do in life and understand their strengths and weaknesses. We enable them to develop themselves through public speaking and other skills. We also conduct workshops on resumé writing to help them achieve their goal.' Differentiating her nonprofit from skill building organizations, she says, 'Bodhi Tree is completely different from skill building organizations. We don't want to build a skill in someone and send the message that it's the only thing they can do. Skill building programs have no progression, no scope for dreaming. I feel it robs opportunities from the children. Children should have access to government jobs, schemes, internships - they should have knowledge and know what to do with it. I think that's the difference between us and skill building initiatives. Maybe our model is not working that well because we are not focused on one skill, but I think this is a conscious choice we have made where we don't tell people about what skills they can inculcate. Rather, we tell them what kind of dreams you should have, we make people realize their potential. For us, the immediate impact is more like standing up for yourself and going to college.' Read on...
Helping India's Rural Youth Unlock Their Potential
Authors: Ankita Mukhopadhyay, Ashweetha Shetty
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jun 2019
Technology is enabling charitable and philanthropic organizations to perform better in many ways - (1) Donations have just become a click away with expanded reach through online financial payment systems. Moreover, online transactions provide anonymity to donors who prefer it. (2) Crowdfunding has become a great tool to gather funds from all kind of donors, big or small, for the causes that one suppports. Crowdfunding websites are convenient to use and make it easy to reach out to prospective donors. (3) Technology has brought transparency and accountability. Donors are now more aware about how their contributions are utilized. Moreover, financial management tools provide charity organizations ways to efficiently and effectively track their funds. (4) Social media has proven to be effective to spread a charitable cause and seek support. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2019
India's CSR legislation is a step in the right direction and is globally praised. Recently, 47 participants from 33 global multinational companies that are associated with WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) visited India to learn about sustainable businesses. WBCSD Leadership Program is a year-long series of engagements and learning exercises in partnership with Yale University. Rodney Irwin, Managing Director of WBCSD's Redefining Value and Education program, says, 'The legislation asking large companies to spend 2% of their profit on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is appreciable, but large companies should not stop there. These large firms should look at making their businesses sustainable by integrating the concept of environmental, social and governance advantages into the core business.' He advocated the need for integrating sustainable approach to doing businesses along with maintaining profitability. He adds, 'In long-run, profitability can be greater if you embrace opportunities that accompany sustainable approach.' Since a number of large Indian companies are family-owned, he says, 'The companies that have family connections tend to not just make the businesses successful but they want to make sure that the business can be passed on to the next generation. They have a long-term vision.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 apr 2019
Gen Z is one of the most connected and socially aware generations to enter the workforce. But for the progress of businesses and society in the right direction, experienced leaders need to encourage young people to pursue social entrepreneurship. Seven members of Forbes Nonprofit Council provide following suggestions - (1) Rupert Scofield, FINCA International: Educate Youth About Market-Based Solutions. (2) Geetha Murali, Room to Read: Celebrate Social Impact Companies. (3) Tom Van Winkle, Hinsdale Humane Society: Befriend Socially Responsible Organizations. (4) Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc: Show Impact In Real Ways. (5) Gloria Horsley, Open to Hope: Describe The Value On Their Terms. (6) Steven Moore, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust: Invest In Communities That Bring Entrepreneurs Together. (7) Kila Englebrook, Social Enterprise Alliance: Leverage Media And Entertainment. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2019
Bureaucratic environment of large public agencies often becomes a deterrent for nonprofits to develop collaborative alliances. But according to the new research, 'Collaborative Value in Public and Nonprofit Strategic Alliances: Evidence from Transition Coaching (Authors: Jason Coupet of North Carolina State University; Sue Farruggia of University of Illinois at Chicago; Kate Albrecht & Teshanee Williams, Ph.D. students at North Carolina State University), finds that some nonprofits may be able to better serve their constituents by partnering with public institutions in order to navigate the bureaucracy and access services more efficiently. The researchers interviewed 17 nonprofit personnel and 16 university personnel about the degree to which they sought partnerships and why. Prof. Coupet says, 'These nonprofits were focused on helping high school students transition successfully to college...We found that a driving factor for these public-nonprofit partnerships was the nature of institutional bureaucracies - the very thing we thought would keep nonprofits away.' The researchers found that a public-nonprofit partnership gave nonprofits access to contacts that could help them more efficiently navigate bureaucratic channels in order to access services that were already available. Prof. Coupet adds, 'Making the process more efficient is good for the institutions, the nonprofits, and the students that they both serve - because fewer people can spend less time in order to get the desired result. Less time wasted means lower costs for everyone concerned...And while this study focused on the education sector, the finding is likely relevant for any sector in which public agencies provide services, from public health to housing to veterans affairs.' Read on...
NC State University News:
Study Finds Nonprofit Partnerships Can Help Solve Bureaucratic Tangles
Authors: Jason Coupet, Matt Shipman
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 feb 2019
Companies Act of 2014 made India the first country that made CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) mandatory for a section of corporates. The companies were expected to integrate social development programs into their business models and culture. KPMG's 2018-19 report that analyzed the CSR work of 100 companies found that corporates increased their prescribed amount for CSR expenditure from Rs 5779.7 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 7096.9 crore in 2017-18. Moreover, they were actually spending more than what was prescribed (Rs 4708 crore in 2014-15; Rs 7424 crore in 2017-18. But India's most backward districts remain deprived these CSR funds. According to the Ministry of Rural Development, 115 of the 718 districts in India are backward. NITI Aayog suggests that corporates can contribute to the development of these districts. Jharkhand (19 districts, 1% CSR funds received); Bihar (13, 2%); Chhattisgarh (10, 1%); Madhya Pradesh (8, 3%); Odisha (8, 11%). While Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, which account for only 15% of such districts, have received 60% of the CSR money. The most backward districts got only 13% of this year's funds and not more than 25% of the total projects. Companies have found convenient ways to direct their CSR funds and shrug off their social responsibility. In July 2018, 272 companies were served notices by the Registrar of Companies for non-compliance with CSR expenditure. Between July 2016 and March 2017, about 1018 companies were issued notices for non-compliance. KPMG has identified three principal areas of non-compliance - disclosure of direct and overhead expenditure on projects, details of overhead expenses, and keeping these overhead expenses below 5% of total CSR spends. Sujit Kumar Singh, senior program manager at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), says, 'There is no data to know if companies are undertaking need-based assessment studies, a must since it prioritises the requirements of the impacted communities.' Mr. Singh adds, '...Often, professionals handling CSR are not trained to comprehend societal nuances. In most cases those heading the human resource department handle CSR activities. The need now is a policy which drive companies towards self-regulation, the key to CSR.' According to the reporting guidelines that CSE has prepared, 'Companies should self-regulate and be responsive to the disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised sections of society. They should respect and promote human rights, make efforts to protect and restore the environment, and support inclusive growth and equitable development. The guidelines show how to improve accountability and transparency in CSR spending, and make it an integral part of business.' Read on...
Indian firms' CSR spending needs more accountability and transparency
Author: Vikrant Wankhede
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 feb 2019
According to the most recent 'State of the Nonprofit Cloud Report' by NTEN and Microsoft, cloud technology has become routine enough that many organizations have adopted new services during the past year or are considering adding new services. Three of four respondents indicated current use of cloud services for at least three purposes. The average number of services used is about six. Nonprofits are using cloud not just to store data, but in many other ways. Emily Dalton, VP of product management at Omatic Software, says, 'The thing that people are abuzz about is AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and how can we take all the data being generated and harness that into intelligence. It's applying more of the science of fundraising...There are patterns and insights that could be found in the data, pointing to a segment that's ripe for a major giving ask. Having your database and CRM system in the cloud, allows fundraisers to do some pretty incredible stuff. They have access to all their donor data in real time when going to a meeting or on a road trip. Instead of setting up a meeting with a donor, running a report and printing out a donor profile to bring along, fundraiser instead walks into a meeting with the most relevant data possible. They access it quicker and it's not duplicated because the cloud is faster.' Nathan Chappell, CFRE, SVP philanthropy at City of Hope, says, 'We send fundraisers to lunch with people we know have wealth...The data can help determine how best to deploy the workforce in the best way possible...We're very diligent about testing models...The starting point for any nonprofit, even a small one, is ensuring they're capturing all the data possible. The model will be only as good as the quality and consistency of data.' Rodney M. Grabowski, CFRE, VP for university advancement at the University of Buffalo, says, 'In reality, I've been using forms of AI throughout my entire career. Twenty years ago we were calling it data analytics, then machine learning, now it's AI.' Steve MacLaughlin, VP of data and analytics at Blackbaud, says, 'The technology is largely invisible. If your organization is taking online donations, then you're using the cloud. There's no way to take donations without using some cloud. For fundraising and donor management, a larger percentage of nonprofits are using the cloud than not...We're well past the tipping point. Now, it's going to be about what happens next, how does the cloud enable more effectiveness.' Eric Okimoto, COO at boodleAI, says, 'AI and cloud computing are buzz words. But at the end of the day, cloud computing is just the ability to rent capabilities rather than spend heavily on capital, people and security.' Amy Sample Ward, CEO of NTEN, says, 'Fundraisers can benefit from the same elements of efficiency and access as program or communications staff...Let the robots do the work to tell you that someone just made a donation...instead of running a report to check. Nonprofits still must use the cloud in whatever way makes strategic sense for them...What's likely to become more of an issue this year and beyond is data access, security and privacy. It's going to happen anyhow but things like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and data breaches accelerate it...What nonprofits value about cloud tools is that staff can access data and systems to do their jobs from wherever, but security is important when they evaluate such tools. When we talk to nonprofits about security, it's usually an amorphous, shadowy fear. It's not a specific security concern...Often, it's probably safer to work with a cloud vendor or partner on security than for a nonprofit to try to maintain that security on its own.' Read on...
The NonProfit Times:
Cloud Is Raining Data, Flooding Fundraising With Information
Author: Mark Hrywna
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 jan 2019
According to the recent report published by the British Council and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), 'Developing an Inclusive and Creative Economy: The state of social enterprise in Indonesia', millenials are leading a surge in the creation of business that are working to create positive social and environmental impact. More than 70% of a surveyed sample group mentions that the social enterprises started in the last two years and about 50% of the social entrepreneurs are aged between 25 and 34 years. The reports estimates that there are more than 342000 social enterprises in the region. In Indonesia more than 1/5th of social enterprises work in the creative industries, contrary to other countries in Aisa-Pacific region, such as the Philippines, Sri Lanka and India, where agriculture, education and health dominate. Ari Susanti, a senior program manager for the British Council in Indonesia, says, 'Many young people want to work in an area where they can make change, not just earn a salary.' According to the World Bank, Indonesia is an emerging middle-income country that, over the last 20 years, has seen growth in GDP at the same time as poverty has been cut in half. These conditions are enabling the growth of social enterprises. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, executive secretary of UNESCAP, says, 'UN body would support the development of social enterprise as a key means of building an inclusive and creative economy. Social enterprise is an opportunity for Indonesia...This report provides a solid evidence base to inform future policies and strategies.' These social enterprises mainly support and benefit local communities, women and young people. Moreover, they have also become a substantial source of employment - the number of full-time workers employed by social enterprises increased by 42% from 2016 to 2017. The rise in social enterprises is also proving good for gender equality - the social enterprise workforce is estimated to be made up of 69% women and is responsible for a 99% increase of full-time female employees in 2016-17. Government, corporations and universities have all come together to offer their support to social enterprises. Bambang P. S. Brodjonegoro, economist and the Minister of National Development Planning of Indonesia, wrote in the introduction of the report, 'The government aims to be an active partner of social entrepreneurs and is committed to continue building and nurturing the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.' Read on...
Millennials lead social enterprise surge in Indonesia
Author: Lee Mannion
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 dec 2018
Prof. Dean Karlan of Northwestern University does evidence-based research to evaluate what works and what doesn't when it comes to helping lift people out of poverty. He is the founder of the nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action and advises donors and institutions on the best use of their charitable dollars. Prof. Karlan says, '...in 2002 I started a nonprofit out of my living room, dedicated to creating high-quality randomized evaluations of global anti-poverty programs. Today, Innovations for Poverty Action has a US$ 42 million budget, most of which goes directly into research. We're now in 22 countries, but we've worked in 52 countries. We have some 500 permanent staff and have done almost 800 randomized evaluations of anti-poverty programs and initiatives. We apply rigorous economic theories and research to evaluating which global anti-poverty initiatives are working.' He suggests following tips to evaluate whether your charitable dollars are being used effectively: (1) Don't evaluate a charity based on its overhead. (2) Don't be swayed by marketing materials with moving heart-wrenching photographs. (3) Look for evidence of impact. (4) If you are wondering where your money will have the most impact, it's likely in poorer, developing countries. (5) Don't be afraid to give to large organizations. (6) Email the charity for evidence of cost effectiveness. (7) Consider giving to meta-charities. Read on...
It's the Season of Giving. How to Choose Charities Wisely
Author: Andrea Guthmann
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2018
Corporations are encouraging their employees to volunteer as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts. Experts recently conducted a workshop to discuss different stages of volunteering, scaling up the volunteer programs and how companies can use volunteering for better employee engagement, learning and alignment. Aditya Nagpal, Director and BU Head at Goodera, said, 'Our goal is to use technology and data to simplify volunteering, so more people are able to do good at scale. We feel that employee volunteering lies at the perfect intersection of people, planet and profit.' According to him companies go through five stages of volunteering - (1) Informal volunteering (2) Support and encouragement by launching initiatives (3) Planning initiatives strategically (4) Volunteering becomes essential component (5) Volunteering programs attain brand status. Svetlana Pinto, Country Head Communications & CSR at Novartis India, said, 'There are many advantages of volunteering that we have seen in our journey so far. Interestingly, we have found a lot of enthusiasm in the younger lot that is joining the workforce. Other things being equal, they would look more favourably towards an organization with a soul that helps them give back to the community. Volunteering has also helped in building a greater team spirit.' Ester Martinez, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of People Matters Media, conducted a session on 'Designing volunteering experiences for your workforce: Is your organization volunteering ready?' He addressed four challenges - getting started; sustainability of employees; architecting a good experience; policymaking. To overcome them it is important to have clear communication of values, better engagement of employees and a good reward and recognition program. Read on...
Designing volunteering experiences for your workforce
Author: Sharon Lobo
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2018
Recent passing away of Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen (b.21 jan 1953 - d.15 oct 2018) brings to the forefront his contributions, not only to technology and entrepreneurship, but also to education, arts, culture etc as part of his philanthropy. After leaving Microsoft's management in 1983, his philanthropic activities focused on the city of Seattle (US), his hometown. He endowed a separate school for computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. His investments in Seattle's South Lake Union locality has recast the city as an increasingly popular destination for young technologists. Some of his cherished contributions to the city's scene and skyline include artistic and athletic monuments to which he devoted a substantial portion of his wealth. He commissioned Frank Gehry to design a pop-culture museum. He also developed a children's center at the Seattle Public Library, funded an off-campus studio for the beloved public-radio station KEXP, and established a military-history museum outside the city. He was an ardent advocate of environmental protection, computational bioscience, and space exploration, donating millions of dollars to regional nonprofits. He invested in sports and acquired Seattle Seahawks at the time the team was planning to leave the city. In his memoir, 'Idea Man' (2011), responding to criticism that his philanthropy lacked focus, he wrote, 'At times, I cast my net too widely. But my choice of ventures wasn't arbitrary.' In 2000, the chairman of the architecture department at the University of Washington likened him to a modern Medici (an influential banking and political family of Florence, Italy). His contributions to entrepreneurship and technology are public knowledge. He recounted in his memoir regarding the initial mission of his venture with Bill Gates was, 'A computer on every desk and in every home.' Mr. Gates recently wrote, 'Paul foresaw that computers would change the world.' He influenced the technological innovations like point-and-click computing, word processing, and multi-button mouse. Mr. Allen attributed his entrepreneurial ambition and imagination to a wide-ranging autodidacticism and a natural passion for art and literature. Even though a technologist and part of a cut-throat and highly competitive industry, he understood that the products he designed were complements to preexisting lives, all of them rich and varied. He wrote in his memoir, 'That's a core element of my management philosophy. Find the best people and give them room to operate, as long as they can accept my periodic high-intensity kibitzing.' Read on...
The New Yorker:
The Rare Humanism Behind Paul Allen's Technological Vision
Author: Eren Orbey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 oct 2018
Indian corporates that fulfil the conditions of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 relating to mandatory spending of 2% of last 3 years average profit on CSR are making a difference in vulnerable communities in India. According to the latest India CSR Outlook Report published by NGOBOX, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, Wipro, Tata Steel, NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation & ONGC spent more than their prescribed CSR budgets in FY 2017-18. The report analyzed CSR spends of 359 companies. The prescribed CSR budget of these 359 companies was Rs 9543.51 crore whereas the actual CSR spend was Rs 8875.93 crore (3/4th of total CSR spend in India). There is an increase in the prescribed CSR from 6% to 8% in the actual CSR spend from FY 16-17 and the number of projects have also increased by 25% from the previous year. REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat together received over 1/4th of India's total CSR fund. North-eastern states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have received least funds; Public sector contribution is over 1/4th of the total; Oil, refinery and petrochemicals account for alsmost 1/4th of the total while healthcare and pharma contributes the least with just Rs 294 crore; CSR funding on education and skill increased by 50% from last year and is 1/3rd of the total CSR spend; Over 1/4th is spend on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and healthcare projects. Read on...
Corporates spend 50% CSR funds in education, skill development: Report
Author: Sonal Khetarpal
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2018
People with business education and experience are now getting inclined towards social enterpreneurship and enterprises. They are realizing that business skills and expertise can be utilized to provide solutions to society's challenges. Prof. Patrick Adriel H. Aure of De La Salle University (Philippines) explains the importance of encouraging social entrepreneurship among business students and shares research and programs that he conducts at the university. The program, Lasallian Social Enterprise for Economic Development (LSEED), involves incubating student-led social enterprises that partner with marginalized local communities, while Social Enterprise Research Network (SERN) undertakes research and advocacy activities. Regarding one of the research conducted in relation to business students and social enterprises, Prof. Aure says, 'Our statistical analysis suggested there are two factors that consistently influence business students' intention to engage in social entrepreneurial activities - (1) Their perceived support from friends, family, and other organizations. (2) Their prior experience in socially-oriented activities such as volunteering.' Research findings suggest - Design social enterprise advocacy campaigns to target group participation and not encourage students individually; Schools may want to consider creating a pipeline of activities that enrich students' socially-oriented experiences. Read on...
The Manila Times:
Encouraging social entrepreneurship among business students
Author: Patrick Adriel H. Aure
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 sep 2018
According to the 2011 research study published in The American Journal of Medicine, 'Success in Grateful Patient Philanthropy: Insights from Experienced Physicians' (Authors: Rosalyn Stewart, Leah Wolfe, John Flynn, Joseph Carrese, Scott M. Wright - Johns Hopkins University), 'Facing challenging economic conditions, medical schools and teaching hospitals have turned increasingly to philanthropy as a way to supplement declining clinical revenues and reduced research budgets. One approach to offset these diminished returns is to commit efforts to 'grateful patient' programs that concentrate on satisfying patients and their families, especially families with significant assets. Support from grateful patients is the single most important source for substantive philanthropic gifts in medicine.' According to the latest 2018 research published in the Journal of American Medicine, 'Navigating the Ethical Boundaries of Grateful Patient Fundraising' (Authors: Megan E. Collins, Steven A. Rum, Jeremy Sugarman - Johns Hopkins University), 'Health care institutions in the United States receive more than US$ 10 billion annually in charitable gifts. These gifts, often from grateful patients, benefit physicians, institutions, and other patients through the expansion of clinical and research activities, community-based programs, and educational initiatives.' The topic of 'grateful patient philanthropy' raises some ethical issues in patient-physician relationship. There is general agreement that donation related interaction with patients shouldn't happen during the course of their treatment and should be discussed once patients have fully recovered from their medical condition. The study finds that although physicians consider fundraising as their duty but find it difficult to have a conversation with their patients regarding donations. Read on...
Grateful Patient Philanthropy? Some Fundraising Ethics Shouldn't Need to Be Taught
Author: Ruth McCambridge
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2018
The possibility of eco-friendly biodegradable paper-based batteries is now made a reality by the scientists at Binghampton University (SUNY), Prof. Seokheun 'Sean' Choi from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Prof. Omowunmi Sadik from the Chemistry Department. Their research titled 'Green Biobatteries: Hybrid Paper-Polymer Microbial Fuel Cells' was recently published in Advanced Sustainable Systems. Prof. Choi engineered the design of the paper-based battery, while Prof. Sadik was able to make the battery a self-sustaining biobattery. The biobattery uses a hybrid of paper and engineered polymers. The polymers - poly (amic) acid and poly (pyromellitic dianhydride-p-phenylenediamine) - were the key to giving the batteries biodegrading properties. Prof. Choi says, 'There's been a dramatic increase in electronic waste and this may be an excellent way to start reducing that. Our hybrid paper battery exhibited a much higher power-to-cost ratio than all previously reported paper-based microbial batteries. The polymer-paper structures are lightweight, low-cost and flexible. Power enhancement can be potentially achieved by simply folding or stacking the hybrid, flexible paper-polymer devices.' Read on...
SCIENTISTS CREATE BIODEGRADABLE, PAPER-BASED BIOBATTERIES
Author: Rachael Flores
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2018
Nonprofits have to take the cue from their for-profit counterparts for successful implementation of marketing and technology oriented strategy implementations. Content marketing is now a mature field both in B2B and B2C aspects of business. Best practices are available. Gloria Horsley, founder of Open to Hope Foundation, explains the value of effective content for nonprofit organizations to educate, inform and engage with donors, volunteers and those the nonprofits intend to support and help. She shares her mistakes in content marketing in nonprofit realm and the learning from these experiences - (1) Transferring Existing Print Content Online: Offline content is outward-facing and telling rather than sharing or interactive; Written for entire audience and not personalized for specific segments; Online content need to be written in a way to engage audience; Interactive for audience to share their opinions; Utilizes story telling and visual content. (2) Delivering Content That Lacks Educational Value: Merely information and facts are not always valuable content; Specific content that educate different audiences is more valuable; Produce content that answers specific questions; Educational content attracts more supporters, donors and volunteers. (3) Letting Volunteers Run With It: Giving too much control to volunteers for content development risks consistency and integrity; They may create content that is not fully compliant with regulations; Specific rules and guidelines for content must be laid out; Templates and formats must be shared with temporary workers and volunteers; Provide volunteers access to content management system where content is checked and approved before being published. (4) Failing To Focus On High-Quality Writing: Emotion-based writing may not always be the best quality writing; Long sentences, grammatical mistakes, passive voice use etc leads to content exhaustion where audience lose interest; Use online tools like WordPress and Grammarly for appropriate writing; Professional writing techniques need to be adopted. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2018
Apparel production is generally linked to environmental issues like water and air pollution, alongwith the land, water and pesticide use related to growing natural fibers. But now research points at the source of another problem created by apparels made wholly or partially from synthetic textiles. Microfibers, a type of microplastic, are shed during normal use and laundering, and remain in the environment similar to plastic packaging that coats so many of the world's beaches, and they bond to chemical pollutants in the environment, such as DDT and PCB. Moreover, the textiles from which they are shed are often treated with waterproofing agents, stain- or fire-resistant chemicals or synthetic dyes that could be harmful to organisms that ingest them. Also, microfibers are being consumed alongwith food and drink. Research review (Microplastics in air: Are we breathing it in? - Johnny Gasperi, Stephanie L. Wright, Rachid Dris, France Collard, Corinne Mandin, Mohamed Guerrouache, Valérie Langlois, Frank J.Kelly, Bruno Tassin) published last year shows that microfibers suspended in air are possibly settling in human lungs. Research led by Richard C. Thompson from the University of Plymouth (UK) in 2004 (Lost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic? - Richard C. Thompson, Ylva Olsen, Richard P. Mitchell, Anthony Davis, Steven J. Rowland, Anthony W. G. John, Daniel McGonigle, Andrea E. Russell) documented and quantified the occurrence of microplastics in the marine environment. Research by Mark Anthony Browne, one of Prof. Thompson's graduate student, published in 2011 (Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Woldwide: Sources and Sinks - Mark Anthony Browne, Phillip Crump, Stewart J. Niven, Emma Teuten, Andrew Tonkin, Tamara Galloway, Richard Thompson) found - (1) Samples taken near wastewater disposal sites had 250% more microplastic than those from reference sites and the types of microplastic fibers found in those samples were mainly polymers often used in synthetic apparel, suggesting the fibers were eluding filters in wastewater treatment plants and being released with treated effluent (which is released into rivers, lakes or ocean water). (2) A single polyester fleece jacket could shed as many as 1900 of these tiny fibers each time it was washed. Another 2016 study by researchers from UC Santa Barbara in US (Microfiber Masses Recovered from Conventional Machine Washing of New or Aged Garments - Niko L. Hartline, Nicholas J. Bruce, Stephanie N. Karba, Elizabeth O. Ruff, Shreya U. Sonar, Patricia A. Holden) has shown far higher numbers - 250000 fibers. Rosalia Project, a nonprofit focused on ocean protection, led a study of microfiber pollution across an entire watershed (from the mouth of Hudson River all the way to where the river meets the Atlantic in Manhattan). Rachael Z. Miller, group's director, was surprised to find that, outside of samples taken near treatment plants, there was no statistically significant difference in the concentration fibers from the alpine region to the agricultural center of New York state to the high population areas of Manhattan and New Jersey. This suggested to her that fibers might be entering surface waters from the air and from septic system drainfields in rural areas without municipal sewage systems. According to Textile World, demand for polyester has grown faster than demand for wool, cotton and other fibers for at least 20 years. And by 2030 synthetics are expected to account for 75% of global apparel fiber production, or 107 million tons. All textiles, including carpeting and upholstery, produce microfibers. So do commercial fishing nets. But due to the frequency with which apparel is laundered and the increasing quantities of clothing being purchased throughout the world (thanks at least in part to the so-called fast fashion trend), apparel is the microfiber source on which researchers and policy-makers are focusing attention. Krystle Moody, a textile industry consultant, says, 'Outdoor gear is heavily reliant on synthetic textiles due to their performance profile (moisture wicking) and durability.' Jeffrey Silberman, professor and chairperson of textile development and marketing with the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York, says, 'Price is the big driver behind the use of synthetics in textiles. A poly-cotton blend is generally far cheaper than a cotton one, but doesn’t look or feel appreciably different to most consumers. The motivation is to get natural-like fibers and still be able to get a price point that people are willing to pay.' Katy Stevens, sustainability project manager for the outdoor gear industry consortium European Outdoor Group (EOG), says, 'Initial research suggested that recycled polyester might shed more microfibers. Are we doing the right thing by using recycled polyester that might shed more? It has added a whole other big question mark.' Other studies have found microfibers in effluent from wastewater plants (Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) as a Source of Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment - Fionn Murphy, Ciaran Ewins, Frederic Carbonnier, Brian Quinn), in the digestive tracts of market fish (Ingested plastic transfers hazardous chemicals to fish and induces hepatic stress - Chelsea M. Rochman, Eunha Hoh, Tomofumi Kurobe, Swee J. Teh), throughout riversheds (Mountains to the sea: River study of plastic and non-plastic microfiber pollution in the northeast USA - Rachael Z. Miller, Andrew J. R. Watts, Brooke O. Winslow, Tamara S.Galloway, Abigail P. W. Barrows) and in air samples. Two separate studies released in March 2018 revealed that microfibers are found in bottled water sold all over the world. And a study published weeks later revealed that microplastic - chiefly microfibers - were present in 159 samples of tap water from around the word, a dozen brands of beer (made with Great Lakes water) as well as sea salt, also derived globally. Although most research has focused on synthetics textiles, but Abigail P. W. Barrows, an independent microplastics researcher who has conducted numerous studies on microfibers, says, 'Natural fibers such as cotton and wool, and semi-synthetics such as rayon should not be totally ignored. While they will degrade more quickly than, say, polyester, they may still be treated with chemicals of concern that can move up the food chain if the fibers are consumed before they degrade.' The study she led in 2018 (Marine environment microfiber contamination: Global patterns and the diversity of microparticle origins - Abigail P. W. Barrows, Sara E. Kathey, C. W. Petersen) found that in the surface water samples collected globally while 91% of the particles collected were microfibers, 12% of those were semi-synthetic and 31% were natural. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2018
Collaborative partnerships between local government, community, nonprofit organizations, academia and businesses can do wonders to enhance the various aspects of localities, cities and regions. An old factory site being rehabilitated as a business park in Lackawanna (New York, USA) is an example of sustainable redevelopment and the impact a local government can have on climate change. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Deputy Executive Maria Whyte and others officials visited Conrnell Universuty campus and discussed the redevelopment project with faculty and shared county initiatives focused on sustainability and economic growth, quality of life and building strong communities. Mr. Poloncarz says, 'Strong partnerships and sustainable practices are essential to progress, giving more people a say in their community and making responsible use of our resources to effect change that benefits generations yet to come.' Basil Safi, Executive Director of the Office of Engagement Initiatives at Cornell, says, 'The event was organized as a launching point to further community-engaged research and learning collaborations with Erie County', seeding ideas for potential projects involving Cornell students and faculty.' Initiatives for a Smart Economy (I4SE) is an economic development strategy Erie County enacted in 2013 and updated last year as I4SE 2.0. It contains 71 initiatives and is focused on inclusion and creating shared opportunities for all residents, to address persistent poverty and underemployment. Max Zhang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell, says, 'I can envision that students team up with community partners to address specific challenges they are facing.' Rebecca Brenner, a lecturer at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, began a project in spring 2017 in Buffalo (NY) on improving communications during an emergency for that city's diverse, multilingual refugee population, and creating an emergency notification plan with nonprofit resettlement agencies as community partners. Erie County has about 300 current strategic initiatives led by county departments with community partners. They include fostering hiring of disadvantaged residents in high-poverty areas for construction jobs amid Buffalo's building boom; exploring the feasibility of a new convention center to spur tourism; creating an agribusiness park in rural southern Erie County; supporting health and human services agencies and energy programs targeting low-income households; and infrastructure and environmental remediation in county parks. Shorna Allred, associate professor of natural resources at Cornell, says, 'I was quite impressed and intrigued by what they are doing in Buffalo...We are similarly trying to bring together a partnership of people to work on sustainability issues across the city...' Read on...
Sustainable economic strategies spur engaged research interest
Author: Daniel Aloi
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2018
In a developing country like India low-income groups often lack access to proper healthcare. But, mobile technology can provide ways to enable these groups have knowledge and resources to drive preventative healthcare. Lead researchers, Aakash Ganju (co-founder of Avegen), Sumiti Saharan (Neuroscientist, Team Lead of Design & Research at Avegen), Alice Lin (Global Director of social innovation at Johnson & Johnson), Lily W. Lee (President of Almata, a division of Avegen), explain the research conducted by their team on the digital usage patterns of underserved groups in two urban areas of India, and iteratively tested user interface and content design. Researchers generated primary research insights from more than 250 new mothers and fathers living in low-income communities, and achieve understanding of the core barriers and digital needs of this population. Researchers suggest, 'Embedding health care into digital tools requires that providers overcome contextual barriers and undertake deliberate design processes. To succeed, providers must develop a nuanced understanding of the obstacles to consuming information digitally, as well as glean insights from technology, interface design, and behavioral science.' Following are some insights from the research - (1) Cost is no longer the biggest barrier: In the last year, a strong government regulatory authority has promoted competition and consumer benefits that have rapidly driven down both smartphone and data costs. (2) Infrastructure can overcome any remaining cost barriers: Only 5% of people living in less-connected and less-developed localities owned smartphones, compared to a significant 56% of individuals with similar incomes living in neighborhoods with good mobile network and infrastructure. (3) Digital experiences are not often built for low-income, urban populations: The most pervasive barrier to digital adoption in India today is a lack of knowledge about how to use digital interfaces. Language is also a barrier. India has an overall literacy rate of 74%. However, only about 10% of Indians can communicate in English - the language of the Internet. Local language content is scarce. There are gaping holes in the understanding of early-stage user requirements and pain points, from both the digital interface and content experience perspectives. (4) There is a lack of trust in health-related digital information: Low-income, underserved communities who have not been exposed to authentic digital content often have extreme distrust in digital information pertaining to health. Only 12% of families thought information from digital sources was reliable, compared to more than 90% finding information from doctors and mothers to be most, very, or somewhat reliable. According to researchers, to truly meet the needs of underserved consumers, providers must focus on the following areas - (1) High-quality content: To engage users on digital platforms, providers must use differentiated content that connects with a user's specific journey. The form, tone, and continuity of content matters. Video formats optimized for small, low-quality displays are most effective in driving engagement. When visual formats are not feasible, audio formats are the next best alternative. Understand the environments in which users consume health. Include local elements in the content, like referring to local clinics etc. (2) Behavior change: Engaging users is vital to directing changes in consumer health behavior. It's important to be deliberate about the design of the user journey. Offering incentives for content consumption, sharing, and specific health-related behaviors can help nudge users toward desired health-related behaviors. (3) Technology: Mobile apps need to be light and fast, have low memory and data requirements, and be able to run on slow and patchy networks. Display data consumption frequently, enhanced ability to view offline content and share content within community is important for engagement. (4) Design team structure: Multidisciplinary teams that bring together expertise in technology, design, business and sustainability, end-user thinking, and behavioral sciences tend to create the most effective designs. To design for the end user, providers must design with the end user, particularly for populations who are not digitally fluent. Teams should develop a thinking environment and processes that allow for hypothesis development, application design, testing, analytics, and retesting in rapid, parallel, iterative cycles. Read on...
Stanford Social Innovation Review:
Expanding Access to Health Care in India Through Strong Mobile Design
Authors: Aakash Ganju, Sumiti Saharan, Alice Lin Fabiano, Lily W. Lee
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2018
Food waste is a global concern and innovative solutions are needed to overcome it. Recent data from National Resources Defense Council found that the average American throws out 400 pounds of food a year, meaning that up to 40% of food grown on the farm bypasses the fork and ends up in a landfill. Globally, impact of food waste can be seen in terms of lost resources, wasted water (70% of fresh water is consumed in agriculture), increased levels of climate-change-producing gases, and diverted food that could contribute to alleviating hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - It is estimated that annually over 60 trillion gallons of water are used to grow food that is ultimately wasted; Roughly 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption every year - approximately 1.3 billion tons - gets lost or wasted, representing nearly US$1 trillion. The cost of producing, harvesting, transporting, and disposing of this food isn't just financial - food waste accounts for about 8% of global climate pollution, more than the nations of India or Russia. According to one report, food waste throughout the US accounts for more than 60 million tons of waste, which translates into US$ 160 billion of produce and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), represents over 21% of all waste in landfills. Adequate government policy alongwith solutions from for-profit and nonprofit sectors can successfully tackle this challenge. Sherri Welch, writing in Crain's Detroit, highlights two food-box subscription companies that sell produce and other food that retailers won't touch in the Detroit market. One is the Baltimore-based Hungry Harvest; the other is Toronto-based Flash Food. They are both for-profit companies. Denver's We Don't Waste is a nonprofit working on similar lines. Other nonprofits are working with hunger relief organizations and give their customers the option to buy a box of imperfect produce and donate it to a family in need. Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, says, 'At this point, I think we are all working together to feed hungry neighbors, reduce waste and lessen the impact on the environment.' Other solutions include processing food waste as bioenergy. In the Pacific Northwest, Impact Bioenergy develops and manufactures bioenergy products that allow communities and commercial food waste generators to lessen their environmental footprint and conserve local soil resources while also reducing their waste disposal and energy costs. Policy approaches can also play an important role to shift the amount of food entering the waste stream. A May 2017 paper published by Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic looks at the 2018 Farm Bill as a portal for changing the national conversation on food waste by integrating strategies and initiatives to support diversion efforts. Policy is a major focus on ReFed, one of the nation's leading nonprofits dedicated to addressing food waste. One of their initiatives in partnership with the Food Law and Policy Clinic is the US Food Waste Policy Finder, a tool that provides research on current food waste policy. Another promising approach is to incorporate the reuse of food that has been rejected by the conventional market into social enterprises. DC Central Kitchen is a job-training catering social enterprise that buys food seconds from farmers and uses that produce in the meals it serves to students in schools and catering event guests, even as the nonprofit also addresses the cycle of hunger. According to ReFed's 'Roadmap to Reduce US Food Waste by 20 Percent', an estimated 15000 permanent jobs could be created through policy initiatives alone. 'Wasted! The Story of Food Waste', a documentary produced by the late Anthony Bourdain, offer a glimpse of ways that nonprofits can expand their missions and collaborate with others to reduce food waste while improving the health and well-being of those in need. Read on...
For-Profit and Nonprofit Firms Devise Creative Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Author: Derrick Rhayn
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2018
According to British Council's 2016 report, 'The State of Social Enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan', there are more than two million social enterprises in India with 24% of them led by women. India is one of the fastest growing economy and it needs more social entrepreneurs to tackle socio-economic problems. Women have to enhance their participation. But, existing stereotypes alongwith lack of investor confidence are major hurdles in the way. According to the World Bank, labour force participation rate for women in India has fallen from 37% in 2004-05 to 27.2% in 2017, which is quite low in comparison to developed nations. Increasing participation of women in workforce is vital for balanced growth of the country. Archana Raj, Team Leader at Save The Children, says 'Despite these low indicators, it is worth mentioning that there are new generation women who have broken the barriers of societal norms and regressive mindsets to pave way to the new world of entrepreneurship. Over the past few years, it has been observed that more women are choosing this as a career over other options, making a mark in the start-up ecosystem. Nonetheless, the aim must be to reach higher, which can help the rest of the women of our country to rise beyond the barriers and choose for themselves.' Jamie Cid, a social entrepreneur and founder of MobiHires, says, 'I think that there is a great opportunity for women social entrepreneurs in India, especially mothers returning to the workplace, who develop products and services based on their experience and solve problems in their community. With platforms like Sheroes, Reboot, SheThePeople and Lean In India initiatives that support and invest in women social entrepreneurs, this is the right time to be one.' In one of the blog posts of World Bank, Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation and founder of TrustLaw and Trust Women, gives the example of Ajaita Shah who works in rural regions of India. Shah's organisation, Frontier Markets, sells and distributes products to rural households. The organisation calls itself a 'for-profit business with a social mission'. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, India ranks 35th among countries that are the best for women social entrepreneurs, with the US, Canada and the UK occupying the top three positions. Manju Yagnik, vice chairperson of Nahar Group and member of Indian Merchant Chamber, says, 'I personally do not believe in male-female classifications. I do not think capabilities and talent can be differentiated as per gender. Today's women do not seek sympathy. They want equal opportunities when it comes to decision-making in financial capabilities, which is still male-dominant. Thankfully, with the modern society promoting and striving for gender equality, the position of women is improving year after year. Women entrepreneurs in India are bringing revolution and growth in the public and private sectors. With the help of government initiatives, they will grow further.' Manisha Gupta, founder and director of Start Up!, says, 'Regardless of whether a woman is a social or business entrepreneur, she has to negotiate through an ecosystem that has been structured for men to succeed. Not only do we need more women social entrepreneurs but also an ecosystem where there are more women leaders at every level. We need them as coaches, investors, in finance, as leading incubators, etc to break the template.' Citing challenges women face, Ms. Raj comments, 'Pressures of social norms and societal biases force women to give up the job while tough competitive market further make their work challenging.' Ms. Yagnik feels the need for more women entrepreneurs in India. She says, 'Social entrepreneurship might be a great opportunity for Indian women professionals to break through the glass ceiling that typically exists in traditional corporate life.' Ms. Cid suggests social entrepreneurs to stay positive and focus on the bigger purpose and stay passionate about their goal. Explaining capabilities of women entrepreneurs, Ms. Gupta says, 'I always say that women social entrepreneurs use the 3Rs - resilience, relationship and resistance – to build and grow their ventures. They are masters of resilience, I have seen many women without any resources, standing on their own and building a business in rural regions. They also demonstrate strong capabilities of building connections and meaningful relationships with stakeholders which takes them far.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2018
Traditionally, businesses have been using corporate social responsibility (CSR) to contribute to society and tackle social issues through philanthropy, charitable giving, offering employees volunteer time etc. Recently, a letter to shareholders by an influential investor, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, rekindled the debate around purpose and effectivenesss of CSR. His messages was, 'To achieve their full potential, public and private companies need to do more than simply give of their time and money; they need to find more innovative and impactful ways to contribute to solving the broader challenges in society.' Katie Bouton, Founder and CEO of Koya Leadership Partners, explains the need to better integrate business goals with public purpose and balance financial obligations to shareholders. This can be achieved through 'Purposeful Engagement', a more impactful CSR strategy. Ms. Bouton suggests the key elements to integrate into this new operating strategy - (1) Articulate a Larger Purpose: Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, described their larger purpose as, 'Coffee is what we sell as a product, but it's not the business we're in. We're in the people business.' Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple, often talked about the company's larger mission of making high quality computers available to everyone. (2) Align Business Goals with Social Purpose: Larger purpose should be designed and implemented in a way that is integral to business success. Every employee should be engaged with larger mission. Measurements should be developed for every department and business line. (3) Integrate Resources to Maximize Impact: Lack of coordination and integration wastes resources. CSR efforts are often siloed in differenet departments. All departments should work together for a common purpose. (4) Build a Diverse and Inclusive Team: A McKinsey study showed companies with higher-diversity leadership teams and boards have 30% more success than those that don't. (5) Understand the Future Workforce: Millennials will make up over 50% of the workforce by 2020, according to PwC. Values and purpose are priorities for them. Purposeful Engagement becomes vital to attract and retain the talent for future. Read on...
Beyond CSR - Leading With More Purposeful Engagement
Author: Katie Bouton
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2018
Artificial Intelligence is one of the fields that's getting most attention from technology companies. AI researchers specialize in neural networks, complex algorithms that learn tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data. They are used in everything from digital assistants in smartphones to self-driving cars. Those with AI skills are in high demand. But, the salary data related to AI hires hasn't been in public domain. Now OpenAI, a nonprofit AI research organization, had made the salaries of their AI researchers public as their nonprofit setup requires them to do so. Top OpenAI researchers were paid as follows - Ilya Sutskever (more than US$ 1.9 million in 2016); Ian Goodfellow (more than US$ 800000 after getting hired in March 2016); Prof. Pieter Abbeel of University of California at Berkeley (US$ 425000 after joining in June 2016). OpenAI was founded by Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) and other well-known names in technology. Element AI, an independent lab in Canada, estimates that 22000 people worldwide have the skills needed to do serious AI research - about double from a year ago. Chris Nicholson, Founder & CEO of AI startup Skymind, says, 'There is a mountain of demand and a trickle of supply.' There is scarcity of AI talent. Governments and universities are also seeking AI researchers, even though they may not match the salaries paid by private enterprises. OpenAI too cannot compensate equivalent to private tech companies as stock options are major attraction there. But OpenAI shares its research with the world, considered a positive approach in responsibile tech development. Mr. Sutskever says, 'I turned down offers for multiple times the dollar amount I accepted at OpenAI. Others did the same.' He expects salaries at OpenAI to increase as the organization pursued its 'mission of ensuring powerful AI benefits all of humanity.' AI specialists with little or no industry experience can make between US$ 300000 and US$ 500000 a year in salary and stock. Wojciech Zaremba, a researcher who joined OpenAI after internships at Google and Facebook, says, 'The amount of money was borderline crazy.' He says that tech companies offered 2 or 3 times what he believed his real market value was. At a London AI lab now owned by Google, costs for 400 employees totaled US$ 138 million in 2016. Top researchers are paid higher. Mr. Nicholson says, 'When you hire a star, you are not just hiring a star. You are hiring everyone they attract. And you are paying for all the publicity they will attract.' Other top researchers at OpenAI included Greg Brockman and Andrej Karpathy. In a growing and competitive tech field like AI it becomes challenging for organizations to retain talent. Read on...
The New York Times:
A.I. Researchers Are Making More Than $1 Million, Even at a Nonprofit
Author: Cade Metz
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2018
Considering the large number of competing nonprofits in a big town with their limited budgets, it's always challenging for them to reach out and attract donors and manage fundraising effectively. There are more than 2300 nonprofits operating in Philadelphia (USA). According to a research report 'The Financial Health of Philadelphia Area Nonprofits', funded by The Philadelphia Foundation, more than 40% of the nonprofits in the area are working at a loss, operate on margins of zero or less and fewer can be considered financially strong. With more than half the nonprofits operating on slim-to-none budget with limited support staff, fundraising is a challnging task. But Drexel University professor, Neville Vakharia, created an online tool, ImpactView Philadelphia, that uses publicly available data on nonprofit organizations from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in combination with the most recent American Community Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau to present an easy-to-access snapshot of Philadelphia's nonprofit ecosystem. The tool intends to help nonprofits streamline their fundraising process. It makes information about nonprofit organizations, and the communities they're striving to help, more accessible to likeminded charities and the philanthropic organizations that seek to fund them. Prof. Neville says, 'Through the location intelligence visualizer, users can immediately find areas of need and potential collaborators. The data are automatically visualized and mapped on-screen, identifying, for example, pockets of high poverty with large populations of children as well as the nonprofit service providers in these areas. Making this data accessible for nonprofits will cut down on time spent seeking information and improve the ability to make data-informed decisions, while also helping with case making and grant applications.' Since the tool is open-source it can be easily replicated in other cities. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 apr 2018
To apply the basic idea of 'Small Is Beautiful' as propagated by E. F. Schumacher to the social enterprises and create their collaborative network, have the potential to successfully tackle social causes at a large scale and maximize impact. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO of New America, explains the working dynamics of social enterprises, the challenges of scale, issues of efficiencies when contrasted with private enterprises and how in a democratic setup a network of independent social enterprises can develop a collaborative system for larger impact. She says, 'In the private sector, companies reap economies of scale...In the social and political marketplace, however - at least in democracies - too much efficiency is dangerous. Tyrants are efficient, which is precisely why America's founding fathers built a system of checks and balances designed to favour resilience over efficiency...Outside government, a rich civil society is the bedrock of a well-functioning democracy. Alexis de Tocqueville made this point about the strength of American democracy in the 1830s.' Ms. Slaughter opines, 'Civic engagement requires the energy and innovation of multiple entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship is just one subset of a much larger civil society. But a thriving ecosystem of social enterprise cannot borrow wholesale from the capitalist playbook.' Rebecca Onie, co-founder & CEO of Health Leads, developed a model of healthcare that saves money and improves outcomes by attending to social as well as medical needs and achieved scale by convincing the US government to start experimenting with her approach. Ms. Slaughter suggests, 'Another path to scale in the social sector - one that preserves diversity and reduces competition for scarce resources - is through carefully designed networks of small or medium-sized enterprises that are focused on solving the same basic problem and are demonstrably having an impact in a particular community or region. This approach has worked well in global health through consortiums...The network form allows for small size and large scale simultaneously, preserving individuality and innovation while applying common metrics in the pursuit of a single large goal. Individual actors can form groups, connected to a central co-ordinator and cross-fertiliser.' Read on...
The Financial Times:
Thinking big for social enterprise can mean staying small
Author: Anne-Marie Slaughter
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 mar 2018
Corporates often fund nonprofits to fulfil their commitments and responsibilities to the communities they operate in, and also to enhance their brand value and achieve a positive public relations. But, since the funds are limited and there are number of competiting nonprofits, corporates seek best value and return on their giving and investments. Nonprofits have to find ways to differentiate themselves and give an attractive proposition as part of their corporate fundraising effort whether they are considering cause sponsorship, 'pin-up' or point-of-purchase campaigns, corporate volunteering/employee engagement or cause marketing. Chris Baylis, president and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective in Ottawa (Canada), suggests ways to consider for successful corporate fundraising - (1) Corporate partnerships are not just philanthropy. Think beyond the good cause, clearly define your audience and understand the value of your brand. Determine the interest and buying power of your audience. (2) Use your cause to attract (and define) your audience and your audience to define and attract prospects. Use the cause as a valuable link to connect your audience and prospects. (3) Make your value known to the prospects and list every single asset you have to offer. Estimate the cost of similar exposure and services that prospects can avail elsewhere. Understand the value of your audience. (4) Logo placement, although more visible to the public, is just a small component of cause partnership. Think more of real value and outcomes. (5) Share fulfillment report with your partners and how it is tied to their goals. It explains the value they got in return, satisfies internal decision makers, helps in renewal of contract and build long-term partnerships. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 mar 2018
According to the recent report based on PRIME Database, listed Indian companies that total 1019 have spent Rs. 9034 crore in 2017-18 to fund their CSR (Corporate Social Resposibility) projects and activities. Nearly 37% of these funds were used for education and vocational skill training activities. This development area also witnessed the largest absolute increase in allocation of resources and funds. Moreover, the biggest increase was found in activities that support and benefit the armed forces veterans, war widows and their dependents. Other focus areas that saw increased in expenditure were community development, infrastructure, environment sustainability, social welfare, sports, and slum development. But, eradication of hunger and poverty, and promotion of healthcare and sanitation had expenditure decreased by 18.6%, from Rs. 2944 crore to Rs. 2394 crore. Report by KPMG, 'India CSR Reporting Survey 2017', showed that while education and healthcare have been in focus for the past three years, organizations have slowly begun diversifying their area and geography of development in the last one year. Another recent report found the total CSR expenditure figure at Rs. 7050 crores and said that out of India's top 100 firms, 59 met their CSR targets, while 33 companies had an expenditure of less than required 2%. This report also listed educational projects, rural development, and healthcare as the key focus areas of the companies. Read on...
India Inc.'s CSR spend highest on education and skilling - Report
Author: Manav Seth
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 feb 2018
Social entrepreneurs utilize their skills and efforts to solve social issues and make world better. The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) India runs a 9 months long Social Start-Up Fellowship program, an initiative supported by PwC India, to assist social entrepreneurs develop and scale their social enterprise ideas and concepts. SSE recently felicitated 17 social enterpreneurs that graduated from the program. Attending the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (PMO, Govt. of India), said, 'There is a sense of satisfaction when you witness, for the second year in a row, a new set of social entrepreneurs graduate with the skills to make a difference in the lives of others through their innovative ventures.' Satyavati Berera, COO of PwC India, said, 'Social entrepreneurship is steadily gaining momentum in our country and we are proud to be part of this journey which for PwC began its association with SSE India in 2016...Each mentoring opportunity helped our people interact with those working at the grassroots and built a different perspective, which will have a deep positive impact on the way we serve our stakeholders.' Shalabh Mittal, CEO of SSE India, said, 'At SSE India, we believe in bottom-up social change and help social entrepreneurs work in broken markets or in the poorest of communities...our learning approach has the ability to empower entrepreneurs to start, grow and scale.' Also present was Jaivir Singh, Chairperson of SSE India and Vice Chairman of PwC India Foundation. Website the-sseindia.org gives list of 17 social entrepreneurs felicitated - (1) Prem Kumar (Sambhawana Development Foundation, Livelihood, Non-Timber Forest Produce - NTFP) (2) Bharti Singh Chauhan (PraveenLata Sansthan, Women & Child Welfare) (3) Dr. Anirudh Gaurang (Rovnost Healthcare, Healthcare) (4) Sonali Patwe (Perseverance Infosystems Pvt Ltd., Technology) (5) Hemanta Gogoi (wowNE, Livelihood) (6) Lourdes Soares (SabrCare, Healthcare) (7) Dr. Sumedha Kushwaha (ATTAC, Healthcare) (8) Dr. Raunaq Pradhan (Saaras Foundation, Policy Implementation) (9) Abhishek Juneja (Adhyaay Foundation, Education) (10) Riddhi Dastidar (Riyaaz, Education) (11) Abhishek Jhawar (National Abacus, Education) (12) Ayushi Shukla (Sanima, Arts & Cinema) (13) Inderpreet Singh (SPEEE, Community Well-being) (14) Neharika Mahajan (Oryn, Environment & Livelihood) (15) Umang Shridhar (KhaDigi, Rural Livelihood & Khadi) (16) Vilas Gite (Praas Development Foundation, Rural Development) (17) Devaja Shah (Amiku, Mental Healthcare). Read on...
17 Social Entrepreneurs Honoured By School For Social Entrepreneurs India And PwC India
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 feb 2018
Charity requires commitment through time and money. But in the new world of technology there can be ways in which effortless charity has become a possibility. Here are few options that can be explored - (1) Amazon Smile: Buying through smile.amazon.com automatically contributes 0.5% of every eligible purchased made to a charity of choice. (2) Altruisto: A Chrome extension that works with over 1000 partner stores to make charitable donations from a portion of your purchases. Currently, the donations are distributed between three charities, Against Malaria Foundation, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, and Give Directly. (3) Charity Miles: An app that converts activities into charitable donations. It logs miles, transforms them into money and donates to valuable causes. (4) CheckPoints: A rewards app that provides points when one engages in various activities like scanning barcodes, watching videos, taking surveys etc. The points collected can be redeemed and made into charitable donations. (5) Donate a Photo: A free app through which every photo submitted, limited to one per day, transforms into one dollar by Johnson & Johnson that can be donated to a cause or charity of your choice. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jan 2018
Philanthropic giving is often influenced by governmental tax policies, social sector needs, economic conditions etc. Bruce DeBoskey, Philanthropic Strategist and Founder of The DeBoskey Group, explains the transformations that will happen in philanthropy - (1) 'Trickle-down philanthropy' not likely: It is a philanthropic notion that lowering taxes for businesses and corporations will result in increase charity and philanthropic giving. The new federal income tax law doubles the standardized deduction and will likely reduce giving by US$ 20 billion in 2018. Wealthiest 5% only give to big institutions like universities and hospitals and less to local, social service and safety-net nonprofits. While middle class donors, without tax incentives now have less to give to their historical segment, local and smaller charities. Moreover, increased estate tax exemption takes away any tax incentive for all except a minority 1800 richest Americans, further reducing giving by more billions. (2) Trump-inspired giving will sustain: Last year politically-motivated 'rage philanthropy' was a big trend. This will continue in 2018 and most will likely continue to use philanthropy as an important and influential form of civic engagement.(3) Giving circles will continue to grow: There will be growth in collective giving. According to the report by The Collective Giving Research Group, giving circles are 'a highly accessible and effective philanthropic strategy to democratize and diversity philanthropy, engage new donors, and increase local giving.' (4) Impact investing will flourish: According to US SIF Foundation, that monitors sustainable, responsible and impact investing, trillions of U.S. dollars of assets are under management using environmental, social and governance factors. In 2018 more foundations will 'put their money where their missions are' and work to achieve their missions from the engine of their philanthropic assets. (5) Benefits of volunteering recognized: Ichiro Kawachi, professor of social epidemiology at Harvard's School of Public Health, says, 'Voluntarism is good for the health of people who receive social support, but also good for the health of people who offer their help.' Such research studies will inspire increase in volunteering opportunities and activities. (6) Philanthropic strategy to go 'mainstream': Philanthropy now is much more than just a monetary transation. It is considered as a strategic and intentional investment that can be transformational - for both society and the donor. Read on...
The Denver Post:
On Philanthropy - Six trends to affect philanthropic landscape in 2018
Author: Bruce DeBoskey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2017
Corporations and businesses are actively involving themselves in social and community development through corporate social responsibility (CSR), philanthropy, nonprofit partnerships, volunteering etc, to create social impact and a better world. Volunteering can play an important role in providing skills that help in building a solid foundation for a successful career. Ebony Frelix, SVP of philanthropy and engagement at Salesforce, says, 'Some of my most memorable character building experiences and important learning moments have come from volunteering. I really do feel that giving back deepens our connections, bringing companies, people and communities together.' During her early career at Salesforce she managed interns from a nonprofit and later on joined Salesforce.org to lead the company's volunteer programs in Americas. She adds, 'The role opened my eyes to the possibility that I could merge my passion for volunteering with my professional career.' Salesforce applies 1-1-1 model for CSR and philanthropic activities. Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce, at the time of founding of the company in 1999, set aside 1% of employee time for volunteering, 1% of equity for philanthropic donations, and 1% of products or services to give away to nonprofits. As a result of applying this model, Salesforce has given more than US$ 184 million in grants, 2.5 million hours of community service and provided product donations for more than 33000 nonprofits and higher education institutions. Business, technology and social impact are interconnected. Businesses realize that to do well, they have to participate in doing good. Consumers are now sensitive to ethical aspects of businesses and expect them to align with their values. Cone reports that 87% of Americans will purchase a product because a company advocates for an issue they care about and 76% refuse to purchase a company's products upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs. Ms. Frelix says, 'I'm excited about the intersection of the nonprofit and technology industries, and seeing innovative systems and products now accessible to nonprofits after traditionally only being available to large corporations.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2017
EDIT (The Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology), the 10 day event held in Toronto (Canada) showcased art, installations and projects, focused on innovation and design to build a sustainable future for the world. It included talks from David Suzuki, Ian Campeau (A Tribe Called Red), among others. Here are 5 selected ideas and innovations - (1) Prosperity For All: Curated by Canadian designer Bruce Mau, the main exhibit juxtaposed Paolo Pellegrin's photos of devastation throughout world, with people and inventions that are helping to combat issues such as famine, refugee crisis, smog and more. It highlighted Smog Free Project (Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde's smog free bike that works to purify the air around you while you ride), The Ocean Cleanup (Boyan Slat's creation that intend to remove 50% of the trash found in Great Pacific Garbage patch in just 5 years) and many more. (2) Art With Purpose: Dennis Kavelman, an artist and tech investor, collaborated with the Digital Futures team at OCAD University (Canada) to create a piece of work inspired by Andy Warhol. Expiry Dates works in two phases - It compiles answers from an online questionnaire, measuring your life expectancy against a myriad of points such as your fitness level, whether you smoke, if you're married and more. Then you sit for a self-portrait, which you attach to a QR Code with all your data. In a few minutes your heartbeat appears on the big screen, taken from a reading from your eye, and then your portrait appears along with your predicted date of expiry. Another piece of the installation, titled That's Not Very Many, uses a magnetized digital board to break down those days in months. (3) The New Housing: Living sustainably means looking at where we live and providing affordable housing for all. Exhibit included Mickey Mouse's Home of the Future that was a fully functional shipping container created by students at OCAD. The One House Many Nations home was created by grassroots organization Idle No More, that seeks to provide affordable housing based on traditional indigenous ideas, and consists of two modules that link together, one dubbed shelter and the other service, that can be pieced together based on the family or individual's needs as well as the landscape in which they live. (4) The Future Of Fashion: Fashion Takes Action's Design Forward award was given to a sustainable fashion label Peggy Sue Collection (founded by Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks), a line of eco-friendly cotton and denim. (5) Waste No More: Keeping in mind the concept of feeding many with minimal impact, Waterfarmers created an on-site aquaponics exhibit to show how fish waste can be used to fertilizer food. The idea is to utilize water that is housing fish to then fertilize plants, providing protein and vegetables in a sustainable manner. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 nov 2017
Nonprofits have big ideas for social good but limited resources to accomplish them. Nonprofit-corporate partnerships can be a solution to match the vision and commitment of nonprofits with the resources and practices of corporates for making a better world. According to Danielle Silber, director of strategic partnerships at American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 'Whether it's tackling the Muslim ban or protecting green spaces, nonprofits have products and services that many companies realize they need to create a healthy business environment, and to contribute to a world their stakeholders - employees, investors and customers - want to live in.' Jessica Scadron, founder of Social Harmony, explains ways to make nonprofit-corporate partnerships successful - (1) A Shared Vision: Although companies and nonprofits have different reasons for partnering, both should agree on the partnership's purpose and outcomes. (2) Define the Partnership: Make sure each organization knows who is responsible for what, how decisions will be made, and which organization will lead the project; Appoint individuals to fulfil commitments; Cheryl Damian, SVP of Ketchum Social Purpose, says, 'Partnership terms are negotiated like any other contract. Not only does it drive accountability, it provides a clear understanding of roles and expectations...' (3) Monitor and Evaluate: Measure progress and figure out how to align metrics with disparate entities; Measurement is critical to the success of the project in order to quickly build on what works, learn from what doesn't, and keep momentum. (4) Communicate: Open dialogue will strengthen your collaboration and lead to better outcomes; Establish processes for communicating with your partner, and your internal team; Create a project work plan, schedule weekly check-in calls, and use technology to communicate. (5) Flexibility: Organizations have their own culture and they evolve and grow, and so do partnerships. Be flexibile and accomodating in approach and resolve conflicts with patience and understanding. Read on...
5 Ingredients to Make Your Nonprofit-Corporate Partnership Succeed
Author: Jessica Scadron
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 oct 2017
Social enterprises are businesses driven by the purpose to do social good and work for the uplifment and betterment of society. Business corporations too are creating similar impact through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and often partner with social enterprises. The concept of doing good while making money is becoming mainstream. According to a survey by Rappler, '90% of millennials today value purpose as highly as salary and career progression in choosing their place of work. They prioritize impactful businesses that are sustainable and responsible in conducting their operations.' Thomas Graham, founder of MAD (Make A Difference) Travel and author of 'The Genius of the Poor', explains how a community of social entrepreneurs, 'Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm' in Bulacan (Near Manila, Philippines), is making a difference in the local community and market, what for-profit businesses can learn from their way of working, and provides an example of a growing social enterprise that is part of the system. Even Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, visited the GK Enchanted Farm, a 42-hectare farm-village-university, not only to give back but also to meet the entrepreneurs there and learn more about how their values-driven approach has been able to make an impression in the market. Mr. Graham says, 'The greater goal of the farm, however, is not to convince everyone to become a social entrepreneur, but to demonstrate that doing business in the spirit of 'walang iwanan' (no one gets left behind) can be beneficial to everyone, no matter how big or small a business is.' Explaining the working model of a social enterprise in the GK farm, 'Plush and Play' (founded by a Frenchman Fabien Courteille), Mr. Graham says, 'Instead of conducting a more conventional business approach, which might involve extensive market research and a strict business model, followed by the importing of skills from elsewhere, Courteille instead spent his time living in the GK village, discovering the aspirations and talents of the community - in this case, sewing - and building a business plan out through unleashing the potential he saw before him.' Mr. Courteille comments, 'I did not choose an industry, but a beneficiary.' There are lessons that are to be learned from the working and progress of social enterprises. Mr. Graham says, 'Of course, 'Plush and Play' still has a long way to go before its volume of sales can compete with other mainstream brands in the Philippines, but there are lessons we can take from Courteille progress thus far. As consumers become increasingly patriotic and socially/environmentally conscious, having a great and authentic story to tell can set you apart, even in the most congested of markets. In this sense, doing good really does make good business sense.' He further explains, 'There are over 40 different social enterprises all at varying stages of growth and development, but what is to learn from them is valuable to any business: hard work, resilience, ingenuity, creativity, innovation, sustainability and taking care of one's employees and environment.' Read on...
Big businesses could learn from social enterprises
Author: Thomas Graham
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 oct 2017
Handling failures effectively is an important aspect of learning from the process of doing. When it comes to social entrepreneurship, understanding the dynamics of failure may be more complex then for-profit entrepreneruship. While pursuing social goals for the betterment of the world, it might be harder to reconcile and recuperate when one fails. Keep the following things in mind when one recovers from failure in the social sector - (1) You raised awareness: Understand the value of spreading a good idea and message. It can be a satisfaction in itself. (2) You learned what not to do: Lessons learned from the failed project can lay the foundation for success in future projects. (3) Your leadership will be refined: Leading a social impact organization is very challenging. Skills get honed and further developed during the process. Failure can bring humility, ownership, accountability and resiliency - the traits of an influential leader that can embark on the tough journey of bringing social change and serving others. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2017
Data can be gold for those who can mine and transform it into a valuable form. Mastercard is giving a new meaning to it and evolving a concept of 'data philanthropy.' Shamina Singh, president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, explains the idea of data philanthropy and how data can be utilized for social good and social impact. She says, 'The initiative first came up through a partnership with DataKind in the United States. They were set up to galvanize data scientists from around the world and plug them into social impact work. And so a number of our Mastercard data scientists signed up to DataKind programs, and this gave us the opportunity to form a much more lasting and strategic partnership between the organizations. It opened a new conversation about data for good, what it could look like, and who was doing what in this space. It was also around this time that we had the United Nations opening up to data and data initiatives, and companies like Microsoft thinking about data for good.' Explaining some of the elements of data philanthropy Mastercard is focused on, she says, 'One is working with actual Mastercard data and trying to figure out if there are uses with anonymized and aggregated data that will not only respect the rules of the road around privacy, but can be used for research. We first opened our data for use by Harvard University, who approached us with a proposal to use the data to understand how economies grow, with a specific focus on tourism data and understanding how tourism dollars move in a country. Using Mastercard transaction data, we were able to provide new insights into this area...The other area of data philanthropy is around data analytics. What we have found is that many social impact organizations or NGOs do not need Mastercard data at all. Instead, they need to understand their own data, but often don't have the capacity or resources to help themselves. In those instances, we provide either a grant to hire a data scientist, fund an expert consultant, or provide our own data scientists to build their capacity and ability to learn. The inspiration for this element of data philanthropy came from our work with an organization called DoSomething...' Providing information on how Mastercard data scientists are internally looking for insights, she says, 'We started something called the charitable donations insight, and that is something that one of our colleagues is doing where she is using Mastercard data and drawing insights to help nonprofits understand charitable giving. We asked what a spending poll would look like for not-for-profits and social impact organizations, and insights is the first attempt at that...What she realized is that a lot of the not-for-profits have to raise their own funds, but there is not a lot of science behind potentially where and how they should be doing this. So she thought if she could unlock some of the data around the charitable contributions that we know of, she could offer insights to assist them. The other thing we did, which was very interesting, was we created a dataset that organizations could pull down if they want to, and mix it with your own data to self-regulate your own work.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 sep 2017
According to various studies corporate ethics and social responsibility (CSR) are becoming integral to the realm of businesses and corporations. Ethisphere Institute has been compiling list of 'World's Most Ethical Companies' since 2007. Robert Reiss, host of CEO TV Show and co-author of 'The Transformative CEO', interacted with business leaders to discuss the state of business ethics and CSR, particularly emphasizing on the concepts and their meaning, relationship between ethics and responsibility, best practices in building an ethical culture, and insights on measuring ethics. Here are their summarized responses - (1) Dan Amos (Chairman and CEO of Aflac): 'Ethics is a mindset, not an option.' Consumers respond to it in positive way; Ethics is a subset of CSR. Ethical companies will always display strong governance and compliance. Socially responsible companies are ethical but also understand their overall obligation to make the world a better place; Culture begins at the top. Communicate and celebrate responsibility regularly. Don't be partially ethical; Annual scientific CSR survey, work with Ethisphere and Reputation Institute to validate the direction of ethics and CSR programs. (2) Timothy Erblich (CEO of Ethisphere Institute): 'Good Ethics is Good Business.' Financial return of ethics is significant; CSR is a critical component of overall ethics quotient just like governance culture, transparency, customers, gender equality, philanthropy etc. Its all combined to build trust; Empower managers at the local level. Top leadership must be all in. Be committed and focus on integrity. Measure and communicate results. Incorporate culture at all levels and in all activites; Measure through peer-to-peer analysis and networking. Directly engage with employees. Routinely survey employees, customers and stakeholders. Join exclusive networks like the Ethisphere's Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA). (3) Rodney Martin (CEO of Voya Financial): 'Ethics is a reflection of our commitment to doing business the right way. We emphasize trust and transparency.'; CSR includes key aspects of company culture like ethics and transparency, diversity, inclusion and equality, environmental sustainability, governance, and volunteerism and philanthropy; Exemplary leadership is essential. It should be part of the core values. Building ethical culture must be centered on doing the right thing in a safe and open environment; Participate in Ethisphere Institute's annual World's Most Ethical Companies. It enables to benchmark the company with other industry leaders. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2017
Executive pay is always a topic of debate and more so when it is a case of nonprofits. Moreover, when nonprofit healthcare executives are in focus, the dynamics of the issue become even more complex. As healthcare is an essential aspect of everybody's life, rich or poor, and has a humanitarian dimension, the issue is an everyone's concern. In healthcare, just like in education, for-profit and nonprofit delivery models co-exist, but general population treats these sectors as noble and a large number despises the business-like profit-making approach. A debate is brewing up at the University of Vermont Medical Center (USA), a nonprofit healthcare provider, where CEO's salary is more than US$ 2 million. To justify the compensation, hospital board members say that their executive pay is in line with competitors and makes up a small portion of their budget. But there are other differing views. Sen. Chris Pearson (P/D-Chittenden) says, 'To see that the CEO of our hospital is getting US$ 2 million...it's just way out of whack with the Vermont economy.' State of Vermont has 14 hospitals, all of them nonprofits. Kevin Mullin, the state's chief health care regulator, decided to highlight the salaries of top officials in these hospitals. He says, 'I think it might be illuminating to the public.' Scottie Emery-Ginn, UVM's board chair, justifying executive compensation, says, 'Our health care professionals come from a national market...In order for us to get the best people and keep the best people, we need to pay competitively.' There are no clear rules on salaries of nonprofit employees. The IRS requires only that compensation be 'reasonable', which has been interpreted to mean comparable to similar organizations. A Wall Street Journal analysis of Form 990s found that, in 2014, 2700 nonprofits provided seven-figure compensation packages, and 3/4th of those organizations worked in the health care sector. Executive pay is a concern during the debates on cost of medical care. The US spends US$ 3 trillion annually on health care - more than any other country - and administrative costs are 20-30% of that sum. Sen. Pearson says, 'It obviously inflates our health care costs...When you have public-relations people at the state's largest nonprofit hospital making half a million a year, it undermines confidence in the entire system.' Views of other employees are important in this regard. Maggie Belensz, a nurse at UVM's neurological unit, says, 'It's difficult to hear those numbers as a nurse.' Laurie Aunchman, a UVM nurse and president of Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals, acknowledged the need to pay competitively but said the hospital should balance 'offering someone a million dollars or 2 million dollars' with investing money in 'taking care of the patient.' Mari Cordes, a UVM nurse and health care activist, says, 'We think it's an ethical issue. That excess money could be used to improve access to health care for everyone in Vermont...It could be used to provide support for people actually providing the frontline high-quality care.' Dr. Deb Richter, a universal health care proponent, described executive pay at Vermont hospitals as 'obscene.' Read on...
Seven Days VT:
Million-Dollar Question - How Much Should Nonprofit Hospital CEOs Earn?
Author: Alicia Freese
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 aug 2017
Rapid pace of innovation is the defining feature of the current era. According to the World Economic Forum, 'The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent.' Financing industry now have innovative lending platforms, both for-profit and nonprofit, for small businesses. But there are concerns regarding many products as they may trap small businesses in a cycle of debt. Gina Harman, CEO (U.S. Network, Accion), explains the challenges that nonprofit lenders face due to rapid innovation happening in the industry and shares insights from the conversation between industry experts - Kate Mirkin (Salesforce.org, Salesforce's nonprofit social enterprise); Prashant Reddy (DemystData); Patrick Davis (CRF, Community Reinvestment Fund); Shaolee Sen (Accion). Myth 1 - The only barrier to scale is the absence of technology: Technology investments get wasted if there are no capable people to deploy it internally and manage the necessary changes in business processes. Challenges are even more when multiple organizations are involved in the project. Establishing and maintaining discipline is essential. Right technology with right data is required to maximize its utility. Myth 2 - For nonprofit organizations, passion to serve more people outweighs fear of change: Nonprofits must overcome lack of investment in talent, knowledge and resources required to drive technological innovation. Nonprofit organizations in business lending industry must consider change necessary to better serve their stakeholders. Collaborative approach to manage technological change must be adopted between the organization and the key stakeholders. Myth 3 - Only organizations with large technology budgets can innovate: Small investments in incremental improvements can add real value to organizations. Even effective data utilization can bring transformative changes at low cost. Within the social impact and mission-driven space, an approach with shared purpose and collective interests can help organizations collaborate and pool resources to implement and utilize costly technological innovations to provide value to the group. Read on...
3 Innovation Myths that Nonprofit Lenders Should Abandon
Author: Gina Harman
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2017
2017 'Consumer Email Habits Report: What Do Your Customers Really Want', a study of 1003 online respondents commissioned by Campaign Monitor and conducted by Market Cube, finds that nonprofit email marketers are lagging behind peers, and the preferences of constituencies, in their ability to provide personalized, relevant messaging. 81% of consumers in the report want touches of personalization in emails they receive from nonprofits. In terms of relevancy of emails to supporters and potential supporters, nonprofits lag behind substantially with only 42% respondents stating that they regularly receive relevant emails. Andrea Wildt, chief marketing officer for Campaign Monitor, says, 'Email personalization can be based on either personal demographics or behavior - how an individual is interacting with an organization...personally relevant emails resonate better with recipients - building a trust that is sometimes hard to foster when recipients are bombarded with so many contacts from so many senders.' According to Ms. Wildt, 'Nonprofits struggle to provide personally relevant emails due to overall lack of ability to capture data and use that data to segment. Resources available to nonprofits are often far more modest than those of retailers.' Further complicating matters for nonprofits is the disparate ways various age groups interact with emailed material. Ms. Wildt suggests, 'Nonprofits must take a multi-pronged approach to marketing (using different tactics/strategies/technologies to target specific age groups)...They are just not quite as mature at leveraging some of the technology. There is so much noise that nonprofits really need help cutting through. The competition for donors' wallets is still fierce.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2017
Richard J. Weller, professor of landscape architecture at University of Pennsylvania, and team of academics have created an online project called 'Atlas for the End of the World', a collection of maps and graphics to help viewers see where and how urbanization is in conflict with biodiversity. According to Prof. Weller, 'We mapped that interface between urban growth and the world's most valuable diversity...That conflict is bloody, it's disastrous, it's happening all over the world.' The project is an answer to Ortelius's 'Theatrum Orbis Terrarum' (Theatre of the World), printed in 1570 and thought to be the first modern atlas. Prof. Weller hopes that by 'mapping the intricacies of ecological conflict...architects, designers, and others can help create more ecologically sustainable relations between people and the planet.' Read on...
Data Activists Map the World's Ecological Conflict
Author: Cyndi Suarez
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jun 2017
Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) by American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is a hardware competition for socially minded projects. The purpose is to create awareness that hardware engineers too play a role in social innovation. K. Keith Roe, President of ASME, says, 'Our research showed a tremendous lack of support for hardware innovators seeking to enter global markets and make a societal impact.' Paul Scott, ASME ISHOW Director, says, 'From South America to West Africa to Southeast Asia, there are many talented folks that are changing paradigms with their work.' Currently, ASME ISHOW is held in US, Kenya and India. This year's American competition will be held on 22 June 2017. According to ISHOW website (thisishardware.org), 10 American finalists alongwith their projects are - (1) Hahna Alexander (SmartBoots: Self-charging work boots that collect status and location data and provide workforces in hazardous environments with actionable insights); (2) Jonathan Cedar (BioLite HomeStove: An ultra-clean cookstove that reduces smoke emissions by 90% and biomass fuel consumption by 50% compared to traditional open fire cooking, while also co-generating electricity from the flame to charge mobile phones and lights); (3) Matthew Chun (RevX: A transfemoral rotator that restores dignity to low-income amputees by enabling them to sit cross legged, dress themselves, get back to work, and more); (4) Shivang Dave (QuickSee: PlenOptika developed the QuickSee to disrupt the barriers to eyeglass prescriptions for billions of people worldwide so that they can get the eyeglasses they need); (5) Alexandra Grigore (Simprints: With a novel fingerprinting system, Simprints aims to create a world where lack of identity is never the reason why anyone is denied basic services in healthcare, education and finance); (6) Mary McCulloch (Voz Box: Millions of people, right now, are nonverbal. Current devices are too expensive and uncustomizable. The Voz Box is an innovative speech generation device that has customizable sensors and is affordable); (7) Erica Schwarz (Kaleyedos Imaging Device (KID): A revolutionary infant retinal imager that will empower neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) worldwide to decrease the incidence of visual impairment and blindness due to infant retinal disease); (8) Kenji Tabery (VeggieNest: Smart home gardening systems, and aims to address the growing market need for access to organic, affordable, and nutritious produce that enable global consumers to be food secure); (9) Team Sixth Sense (Team Sixth Sense: We have designed a system of sensor to attach to lower-limb prosthetics that works with NeoSensory's current technology to provide realtime vibrotactile feedback); (10) Quang Truong (EV 8 Cooler: Evaptainers creates low-cost mobile refrigerators that run on water. These are perfect for low income families who live off grid or cannot afford a conventional refrigerator). Read on...
10 engineers will showcase hardware's role in social innovation
Author: Nia Dickens
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 may 2017
Volunteering for a charitable cause is not only a popular way to give back to society, but it also helps individuals to hone their skills and add to their experiences. There are number of platforms, both online and offline, like United Way, Points of Light, VolunteerMatch etc, that can assist in finding the right cause to volunteer. According to Basil Sadiq, marketing associate at VolunteerMatch, 'Our platform gives volunteers the ability to search for opportunities that adhere to their skill level or learning outcomes.' Following are some innovative ways to volunteer - (1) Strut your stuff: Volunteer for a community theater production; Share music with hospital patients; Share your voice with the community by giving tours; Interpreting exhibits at a local museum or zoo; Share your voice that can help people who use assistive communication technology. (2) Plan a party: Help in birthday celebrations to homeless kids and families; Contribute for hospice agencies and senior centers that plan events. (3) Get crafty: Knit and sew for those in need. (4) Make very special deliveries: Bikers can participate in logistics service for a charity. (5) Build and rebuild: Help veterans to build and maintain homes; Build and improve parks and playgrounds for kids. (6) Create Code: Address community problems with technological solutions; Write code and develop website for a cause; Help raise money for charitable causes by participating in computer games events. (7) Volunteer virtually: Blogging; Language translation; Virtual interaction with people in trauma and offer relief. (8) Hike or climb for a higher cause: Keeping and maintaining trails; Add service to a hiking vacation; Helping with outdoor adventures. (9) Help a pet get to a new home: Transport a rescued pet. Read on...
9 Creative Ways to Volunteer and Really Make a Difference
Author: Catherine Holecko
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2017
Nonprofit boards can be critical resource for the organizations if utilized effectively. Board members bring diverse set of skills, experiences, networks etc. But above all, the passion to do good for the society by supporting the causes of the nonprofits is one of their main driving force. Organizations have to devise mechanisms and methods to effectively use board's time to avail full benefits of the skills and passions. Members of the Forbes Nonprofit Council share the following advice - (1) Pamela Hawley, UniversalGiving: Cultivate a real relationship; Understand board members and their interests; Find out what they care about. (2) Elizabeth Cromwell, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce: Use a consent agenda; Board members are fully prepared and know the deliverables; Productivity is enhanced. (3) Gloria Horsley, Open to Hope: Hold smaller discussions online; Helps to timely address issues; Improves working partnership. (4) Eleanor Allen, Water For People: Engage board members through individual action plans; Customized to each member's strengths; Improves engagement and commitment. (5) Daniel Speckhard, Lutheran World Relief: Seek the board's help with strategy; Engage the board on broad, macro and strategic issues to set the strategic direction of the organization. (6) Peggy Smith, Worldwide ERC: Focus on transparency and efficiency; Stay in frequent contact with board members and perform due diligence on all information - financial, strategic and operational - before it's shared with the entire board. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 apr 2017
Sometimes a simple idea or a message can provide a direction and approach that leads to great long-lasting results. Same happened with Alan McCormick, a partner with a Dubai-based investment firm Legatum, when he was seeking investment ideas for philanthropic funding. He came across a simple message from Alan Fenwick, professor of tropical parasitology at Imperial College London - 'For a fraction of the amount being donated to treat HIV and other potentially fatal infectious diseases, the annual distribution of basic existing drugs to schoolchildren could help prevent widespread infection by a parasite that causes stunting of growth and malnourishment, and limits access to education - with life-long consequences.' The quote inspired Mr. McCormick and his firm to fund pilot programs in Africa to tackle neglected tropical diseases and finally create their own health-focused funding vehicle, The End Fund, with a small staff to co-ordinate and support programs. The programs have provided impressive return on investment and inspired others searching for ways to donate for maximum impact. According to Mr. McCormick, 'It's relatively tough giving away money and doing it well...Ideas need champions, so you need to create an organization...The End Fund model is about the ability to have people come together and collaborate, and bring their expertise.' Read on...
The Financial Times:
Philanthropy - The search for the best way to give
Author: Andrew Jack
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2017
In recent years, more than 50 countries have increased their restrictions on foreign aid to non-government organizations (NGOs). One of the concerning aspects of the trend is that it's happening not only in authoritarian regimes but also in democracies. The research paper, 'Globalization Without a Safety Net: The Challenge of Protecting Cross-Border Funding of NGOs', by Prof. Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer of University of Notre Dame Law School, identifies this problem faced by NGOs and explores options for countering the restrictions. Some of the new restrictions are - additional registration and reporting obligations, requirements to obtain government approval before seeking or accepting funding and mandates that funding be routed through government agencies or used only for specific activities. Prof. Mayer cites three factors that led to crackdown on cross-border funding - (1) A steady rise over the years in the amount of money flowing from Western donors to NGOs in other countries. (2) An increase in funding designated for human-rights protections and pro-democracy efforts. (3) An overall swelling of nationalist feelings in many countries. Prof. Mayer says, 'I think it's part of the larger trend we see globally of countries becoming more suspicious of foreign influences and the influences of outsiders, and more suspicious of attempts to empower and encourage minorities within countries. They are concerned about the importation of foreign values and views.' The challenges created by restrictions may require alternate strategies. According to Prof. Mayers, 'It creates a huge burden on both the funders and domestic NGOs that seek to challenge these restrictions, because the landscape is constantly changing, and they have to customize their response to every country where they're involved.' Read on...
Notre Dame News:
Professor offers options to counter escalating crackdowns on NGOs
Author: Kevin Allen
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2017
As crowdfunding becomes a mainstream strategy for individual fundraisers and nonprofit organizations, it becomes imperative to understand the industry trends that provide best fundraising results, and have potential to continue into the future. Christopher Moore, Marketing Mixologist at Floship, shares important trends shaping the industry and shows how to incorporate these ideas in crowdfunding campaigns - (1) Diverse Crowdfunding Platforms: Assess crowdfunding needs. Select the right platform to get specific target audience. Niche platforms are now available. (2) Nonprofit Crowdfunding Campaigns: Many crowdfunding websites are specific to nonprofits. It's easier for nonprofits and charitable organizations to meet their fundraising goals through crowdfunding. The benefits include - Expanded social reach; High speed fundraising; Low-risk giving. (3) Fully Customizable Fundraising Experiences: Fundraising process is becoming more customizable. Campaigns could be specifically designed and promoted. Ways it is happening is - Brandable campaign pages; Fundraising model flexiblitiy; Variety of sharign options. (4) Crowdfunding Campaigns Paired with Events: Events add a real-world component to the online campaign. It boosts the fundraising potential. Following ideas can be used - Pick the perfect theme; Include a variety of fundraising activities; Simlify event registration. (5) Highly Visual Campaigns: To make an impact on online donors include videos, photos, graphics and to-the-point campaign story. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 mar 2017
According to the NASSCOM Foundation report, 'Catalysing Change Through CSR', about half of the IT and financial services companies (70) interviewed have spent more than 70% of their CSR in education and employable skills initiatives. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of NASSCOM Foundation, says, 'Education and employable skills are the key to most of India's social problems. An industry, which has grown solely by investing into knowledge and key skills, realises the difference a skilled knowledge society can make and therefore, a major chunk of the CSR funds has been dedicated to education and employable skills.' The report finds that companies are placing greater importance on monitoring outcomes by integrating technology. Among the roadblocks cited by most companies was identification, selection and due diligence on NGOs and the absence of robust tracking process. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2017
'healthymagination Mother and Child Program', a collaborative effort of GE and Santa Clara University's Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, provides mentorship and training aimed at improving and accelerating maternal and/or child health outcomes in Africa. The program was designed to help the social entrepreneurs acquire business fundamentals, improve their strategic thought processes and articulate a business plan that demonstrates impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability. According to Robert Wells, Executive Director of healthymagination, 'GE believes there is much for social enterprises and large businesses to learn from each other. As the center of the ecosystem, social entrepreneurs are key to building Africa's sustainable future.' First cohort of 14 social entrepreneurs that have completed the program are ready to present their social enterprises to a group of potential investors and supporters. Jay Ireland, President & CEO of GE Africa, says, 'This group of people are helping solve some of Africa's biggest health challenges through their initiatives aimed at improving mother and child care. This is another great example of the strong entrepreneurial spirit in Africa.' According to Thane Kreiner, ED of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, 'Addressing the global health challenges of women and children living in sub-standard conditions or facing high-risk pregnancies demands all the determination, diligence and creative solutions we can muster.' Following are the social entrepreneurs and their respective social enterprises - Daphne Ngunjiri, Kenya (AccessAfya.com); Habib Anwar and Zubaida Bai, Kenya (ayzh.com); Tyler Nelson, Rwanda (HealthBuilders.org); Pratap Kumar, Kenya (Health-E-Net.org); Steve Alred Adudans, Kenya (HewaTele.org); Stefanie Weiland, Uganda, Burundi and DRC (LNInternational.org); Julius Mbeya and Ash Lauren Rogers, Kenya (LwalaCommunityAlliance.org); Brian Iredale, Uganda (NurtureAfrica.ie); Segun Ebitanmi, Nigeria (Outreach Medical Services); Cobby Amoah, Ghana (Peach Health); Olufemi Sunmonu, Nigeria (ThePurpleSource.com); Yohans Emiru, Ethiopia (HelloDoctorEthiopia.com); Natalie Angell-Besseling, Uganda (ShantiUganda.org); Anne Gildea, Kenya (VillageHopeCore.org). Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jan 2017
Creating long-term and sustainable partnerships between businesses and nonprofits, can play a valuable role in tackling social challenges facing communities. Hussein Farah, founder and executive director of New Vision Foundation, explains how nonprofits can build partnerships with corporations and derive benefits from these meaningful relationships for the communities they serve - (1) Have a strong and relevant mission that provides distinctive value to the community and relates to the values of a corporate partner and identifies it as a significant contributor. (2) Leadership of nonprofits should effectively and compellingly communicate the mission to the corporate partner. Strong marketing effort is required that embodies the mission and displays business sense. (3) Nonprofits should create a solid board that assists in dissemination of its value proposition on a peer-to-peer basis. Boards that include corporate members would be more effective in negotiating the terms of partnerships. Moreover, nonprofits must be clear in their expectations from corporate partners, who should beforehand know their resource commitments. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 jan 2017
Building a successful CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program requires commitment, consistency, continuity and culture within an organization. Claudia Schiepers, Chief Marketing Officer of Greystone and winner of The CMO Club's CSR Award'2016, helped promote a culture-centric curriculum for CSR and shares valuable insights to inspire marketing leaders to develop a successful CSR program in their organizations - (1) Start from the ground up: 'We try to engrain it in everything that we do. I would say start small, test and grow it from within the company...It's all about making suggestions, trying things out and then rolling them out across the organization.' (2) Assemble a top-notch toolbox: 'We gave them a lot of tools. We have employee engagement data that we share with managers, (teaching) them how to have difficult conversations and great conversations. So, it's all about empowering the managers in your company to use the system, having your employees feel like they are involved in it.' (3) Give instruction: Developed a culture book that outlines standards of behavior when it comes to being charitable. 'We say, at Greystone, (caring) means being interested in or concerned about the wellbeing of others. It means that you actively listen, keep an open mind, seek to understand, treat people with respect and kindness. We don't allow yelling. Mentor others, foster other's development, lead by example.' (4) Know that if you build it, they will come: Strikes a balance between good PR and sincerity by publicly commending their local offices' good deeds on social media platforms. 'I think that makes the story more powerful because it is not a corporate driven initiative. We don't do it to get a pat on the back afterwards. I think that's the key for our social responsibility. That is the biggest return on the investment, that we get people that care about other people to join our company.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2016
According to the recent report by Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), 'Impact Investing Trends: Evidence of a Growing Industry' (Authors: Abhilash Mudaliar, Aliana Pineiro, Rachel Bass), impact investors have demonstrated strong growth, collectively increasing their assets under management (AUM) from US$ 25.4 billion in 2013 to US$ 35.5 billion in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 18%. The report provides compelling evidence that impact investing industry is growing, both in terms of size and maturation. More than 60% of AUM was allocated to emerging markets each year, and the top three sectors receiving the highest proportions of AUM were microfinance, other financial services and energy, respectively. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2016
Philanthropic giving continued to thrive in US and exceeded US$ 373 billion in 2015. Educational institutions got 12.86% (US$ 48 billion) of the total. As public funding to education gets reduced, colleges and universities are realigning strategic objectives and development goals to suit the funding priorities for donors and organizations. Donors have their own criteria to determine the funding goals that make an impact. According to Charles Koch, businessman and philanthropist, 'It is simply identifying organizations which want to make life better by empowering free will and enterprise. I decided that I wanted to give as many people as possible ideas so that they could transform their lives. That's been my motivation.' Michael Lomax, President and CEO of UNCF.org, recently shared his views on the potential for social modeling between UNCF and Charles Koch Foundation, and their US$ 29 million partnership for tuition assistance and career development. He says, 'The success of this program lies in our shared vision that a mind - and a life - is a terrible thing to waste. It is why our partnership's ultimate goal is to give students the opportunity to explore the values and skills of an entrepreneur, and better understand how an entrepreneurial mindset will benefit both them and their communities.' Nicholas Perkins, Founder and CEO of Perkins Management Services Inc, explains about his support to Howard University, 'Anytime that a minority company has an opportunity to partner with an historically black institution, that partnership should be the base from which growth and progress for that particular campus comes. So we always try to fit ourselves into that puzzle.' Educational institutions often find funding success by proactively tapping into the goodwill of graduates and stakeholders. Miami University of Ohio invested a substantial amount from its fundraising campaign towards enhancing academic programming in media studies, writing and gerontology. It launched 'Miami Plan', a 36-credit hour course mandate for all students to be immersed in and appreciative of the impact of liberal arts across all career paths. Gregory Crawford, President of Miami University of Ohio, says, 'For me, people don't expect a physicist to have such a passion for the liberal arts, but it had such a big impact on my life, my leadership style and my interests. I couldn't be more enthusiastic in sharing how it helped me to learn about human flourishing and in thinking more holistically, which was super important to me in the physics world.' He adds, 'Many of our own alums and donors understand the value of the education provided to them, and they love what we're doing with the Miami plan, so they freely invest in that vision.' Read on...
What inspires people, corporations to give to higher education?
Author: Jarrett Carter
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 nov 2016
One of the ways in which health systems, particularly in the resource-starved developing countries, can improve is by applying concepts that make social enterprises successful. Health systems serving the most vulnerable, bottom of the pyramid market, can learn from social enterprises that make challenging markets work better. Yasmin Madan, global marketing director at Population Services International (PSI), explains in an interview with Lizzie Cohen, that adapting the model of a social enterprise can ensure a more sustainable health system that continues beyond donor funding. She says, 'Any successful business has the consumer right at the center as its main audience and it generates value for the consumer as well as the market.' According to Ms. Madan, 'Social enterprises by addressing failures, by putting consumers at the center, by generating value, are strengthening health systems, or put simply - making markets work better.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2016
Conflicts and wars, apart from taking human lives, causing destruction and displacing ordinary people, also disturbs affected children's educational future and creates regional human resources imbalances. The ongoing Syrian Civil War has led to an estimated quarter-million young people getting deprived of college education. Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of UK and currently UN Special Envoy for Global Education, explains collaborative role of charities, philanthropists and nonprofit foundations to overcome educational deprivation of displaced students. He advocates the need of realizing the potential of social enterprises to fill the gaps in global education. He says, 'With 260 million children not in school worldwide, education needs more champions to match the enthusiasm of advocates in, say, the global-health and environmental movements. There is more room for innovation in education than in any other international-development sector, especially as digital technologies and the Internet become more accessible even in the world's poorest regions.' He shares how Catalyst Trust for Universal Education, an education focused social entperise founded by former New York University President John Sexton, is helping out in global education efforts. Catalyst Trust participates in PEER (Platform for Education in Emergencies Response) project intended to connect college-ready Syrian refugees with refugee-ready colleges. Explaining the future of PEER project, he comments, 'In time, PEER will serve as a conduit to higher education for displaced students worldwide, and it will cater to all education levels, by providing web-based information, points of contact, and much-needed counseling and support.' He advocates support to social startups like Catalyst Trust, that are working on various aspects of education globally. He encourages education reformers to learn from pioneering work of Sir Ronald Cohen on social-impact investing. He cites some specific pilot projects that individuals and organizations can support to make a difference in education - help refugee students in their education; human-rights education to determine how school curricula can best cultivate inter-faith understanding; help the two million students who are blind or visually impaired, and whose educational needs have long been neglected. With new technology, we can now leapfrog the 150-year-old braille system and instantly render text into audio recordings, making all types of learning materials accessible to the visually impaired. Mr. Brown concludes, 'For anyone who cares about education, our task is clear: to furnish millions of poor people, especially in the remotest parts of the world, with the innovations they need to transform and improve their lives through learning. As the Catalyst Trust intends to show, a little social enterprise goes a long way.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 oct 2016
In the world of charitable giving, generally 20% givers use techniques and expert knowledge to maximize their effectiveness, while the remaining 80% are unaware and together pay millions in taxes that would otherwise be used for charitable work. Robert G. Collins, Tampa Bay President of NCF (9th largest US charity), provides specialist philanthropic advice and shares some valuable tools and techniques to enhance value of giving - (1) Use a donor-advised fund (DAF): DAF works like charitable account where the giver gets a charitable deduction when assets are contributed. It is also similar to private grantmaking family foundations without the work and expenses of running a corporation. DAF enables the giver to give when it's convenient for them and decide the amount, timing and recipient of the gift at a later date. (2) Stop writing checks: Giving with cash are after-tax dollars exchanged for a charitable giving. Gift appreciated assets to gain a fair market value deduction, but avoid the capital gains taxes embedded in the asset. This way you get a double benefit i.e. giving pre-tax dollars and still getting the charitable deduction. (3) Plan ahead for tax events: Capital gains taxes are optional taxes - you don't have to pay them if you don't want to. If you are charitable and you have a taxable event expected in future, explore your charitable options today. (4) Have a charitable shareholder: Consider gifting a partial interest in your business or income-producing real estate to your DAF. It is critical that the DAF or charity you are giving to has expertise in taking in business interests. (5) Give generously through your estate: Check out givingpledge.org to find out reasons why many respected business leaders are leaving a charitable legacy. A DAF is a simple, easy solution for a family foundation legacy, but ask the fund sponsor whether they have rules about appointing successors. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2016
According to the first experts' poll conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation (poll2016.trust.org), in partnership with Deutsche Bank, the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN) and UnLtd, the top nations for social entrepreneurs are - (1) United States (2) Canada (3) United Kingdom (4) Singapore (5) Israel (6) Chile (7) South Korea (8) Hong Kong (9) Malaysia (10) France. The poll included survey of about 900 social enterprise experts (social entrepreneurs, academics, investors, policy-makers and support networks) in the world's 45 biggest economies. 85% of the experts said the number of social entrepreneurs finding ways of combining business with social purpose was growing although there is little data tracking the sector. According to Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder of Pipeline Angels (US), 'If someone's interested in financial return on investment, that's not a good fit. We're about so much more. We're about doing good, we're about doing well.' Nearly 60% of the experts surveyed cited three major challenges in the growing sector - people do not know what social entrepreneurs do, which makes raising funds difficult and selling to governments is an uphill struggle. Anne Katrine Heje Larsen, founder and CEO of KPH (Denmark), says, 'There are still too many people who view social entrepreneurs as a bunch of hash-fuming utopian people in knitted sweaters. They couldn't be more wrong.' According to Ayşe Sabuncu, co-founder of Impact Hub Istanbulin (Turkey), 'People do not understand social entrepreneurs create money making businesses like any other business, and they question the philosophy of it if the entrepreneur ends up making profit.' Andy Carnahan, a Swedish social entrepreneur, says, 'A greater understanding of how for-profit businesses can be a driving force for social good would help. We need this (awareness)...among the public who don't realize how much good can be done by a for-profit business that has a social good built into its business model.' Poll found that India, Philippines and South Korea are among those where social entrepreneurs were finding it easiest to access investment. According to Prashanth Venkataramana of Essmart Global, 'A lot of people see India as an opportunity overseas, especially in America.' Bank of America's 2016 survey found that 85% of millennials were interested in having a social impact through investment. It also found that women were more interested in impact investing than men. Peetachai 'Neil' Dejkraisak of Siam Organic (Thailand) says, 'World-class social enterprises are run by women in Asia. They do a really good job balancing the social and financial objectives.' Rosemary Addis, chair of Impact Investing Australia, says, 'Individual enterprises are finding a niche and finding they can engage the market and sell their products or services. But as a sector, the concept of social enterprise and purpose-driven business has not yet got mainstream awareness. That's a job ahead to educate the public.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 sep 2016
According to the conditions set forth in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Law in India, all companies with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or revenue of Rs 1000 cr or net profit of Rs 5 cr should spend 2% of last 3 years average profit on charity work. CSR management firm, NextGen, studied the annual reports of the top 100 firms by market capitalizations on NSE (National Stock Exchange) for 2014-15 & 91 firms for 2015-16. The total spend on CSR activities for 91 firms is Rs 6033 cr for FY16, while it was Rs 4760 cr by 100 companies in FY15. According to Abhishek Humbad, co-founder of NextGen, 'More and more companies are realizing that not meeting 2% makes them look bad, and for large companies, it can turn out be a reputational risk.' The energy sector accounted for nearly 26% of the total CSR spending. Reliance was the largest spender in FY16, using 2.3% of its profit (Rs 652 cr) on education, health and other social activities. Jagannatha Kumar at chairman's office of RIL says, 'The amount spent on each of the focus areas varies on an annual basis depending on the scope of work for the year.' In FY16 RIL spend on healthcare halved to Rs 314 cr while on education it increased to Rs 215 cr from Rs 18 cr in FY15. According to Parul Soni of Thinkthrough Consulting, a CSR consultancy, 'Manufacturing companies like automotive have been well poised to do CSR because they focus on communities around their plants and it helps build engagement with local communities. Also, many of them are working in skill development.' Some of the top causes that corporates spend on are healthcare, poverty eradication, education, skill development, rural development, and environment. Noshir Dadrawala, CEO of Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, says, 'Skills have been trendy. These causes have seen an increase because many of the skilling initiatives instead of being classified as an education initiative is being put under providing employment and reducing poverty. Also when it comes to healthcare, conducting blood donation camps is a popular way of doing CSR as it is easy and effective.' Ravi Chellam, ED of Greenpeace, points out that environment is not a priority issue for most Indian corporates. He says, 'On environmental issues, companies seem to prefer to focus on either their own campuses or areas immediately surrounding their locations.' According to Loveleen Kacker, CEO of Tech Mahindra Foundation, '50% of all our CSR capital goes into empowering women and another 10% for the disabled. We believe that any development can happen in any of the areas - from nutrition to sanitation, only when women are empowered. And we feel only economic empowerment of women can bring about social empowerment.' The top geographical regions that were beneficiary of CSR funds for FY16 are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Vinod Kulkarni, head of CSR at Tata Motors Ltd, says, 'It is part of our policy to invest CSR funds in geographies in close proximity to our area of operation. It amplifies the outcomes and impact.' Arun Nagpal, co-founder of Mrida Group, comments, 'The reasons for firms to select geographies close to manufacturing plants or areas of work are valid but this leads to an imbalance in the division of CSR funding.' Read on...
Firms ramp up CSR focus on healthcare, poverty, hunger
Authors: Arundhati Ramanathan, Moyna Manku
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 aug 2016
Social media provides ease of connecting and sharing information with ones network and communities. Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising works towards bringing the supporters and their networks together for financial contributions. Social media can be an effective tool to reach donors and networks to fulfil nonprofit's fundraising goals. Following 8 strategies can be utilized to successfully implement social media into P2P fundraising campaign - (1) Optimize online components - Ensure that all fundraising pages are functional, user-friendly and mobile responsive; WHY: Strong online fundraising gives a positive signal to supporters. Social media is an extension of online fundraising. Having a strong online background is needed to support individual fundraisers that may lack technological expertise; WHAT: A clear, straightforward, and simple fundraising page. A platform that allows individual fundraisers to create their own giving pages. Active social media accounts. (2) Tell a cohesive, simple story - Telling a story about the recipients of your aid is the perfect way to engage with social media while reaching your donors; WHY: Compelling stories add value to your nonprofit. They connect people to people, generating an emotional response that can lead to action; WHAT: An individual or a community to focus your story. An interview with your chosen subject. An accompanying photo. A short, postable format. (3) Use a multimedia approach - Pictures, videos and sound, capture our attention. They offer the user a diverse, vivid experience, one that can connect supporters more directly to the cause; WHAT: High-quality content. A posting schedule. (4) Strategize for each platform - Nonprofits often post the same content to each site with little adjustment. For maximum effectiveness the approach should differ for each platform; WHY: Different social media platforms offer different opportunities for engagement, and likewise, different opportunities to reach your donors in meaningful ways; WHAT: Hashtags. Character-limit copy. The right language. Specific calls to action. (5) Post, share, tag, and like - Active social media presence gives positive signals. It also helps in tracking the online conversations regarding the campaign; WHY: Liking and sharing supporters' fundraising milestones and accomplishments shows supporters that you're engaged with their work and appreciate what they've done for your mission. Posting the campaign's success at regular intervals inspires individual fundraisers to keep working toward long-term goals; WHAT: A social media coordinator. Tracking tools. The rules of operation. (6) Set goals for your fundraisers - Set goals in a way inspires your supporters and anyone who stumbles upon your campaign; WHY: Clearly displayed goal will show the supporters the level of progress they have made and how much more is needed. Similarly, an individual goal establishes each individual fundraiser's role in the campaign. Setting clear goals is the only way for your supporters to meet your expectations; WHAT: Fundraising metrics. Fundraising thermometers. Integrate fundraising goals into user-friendly pages for clear communication at different stages. (7) Provide toolkits to supporters - Right materials and tools helps to keep message consistent and clear for supporters and their networks; WHY: Providing toolkits helps supporters create the most effective tasks. Provide templates to easily relay the message; WHAT: Suggested copy. Images. Suggested posting schedule. Background information. (8) Generate friendly competition - Needed to push the campaign reach its goal within time and even go beyond its goal; WHY: Competition inspires to work effectively with vigour. It's easy for family and friends to get caught up in the fun and donate more to see their own reach the goal and get on top; WHAT: Leaderboards. Badges. Recognition. Read on...
8 Social Media Strategies for Nonprofit Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Author: Abby Jarvis
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 aug 2016
According to Wikipedia, 'Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) became popular in 1960s and is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and national and international norms.' While BusinessDictionary.com defines CSR as 'A company's sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship - (1) Through their waste and pollution reduction processes. (2) By contributing educational and social programs. (3) By earning adequate returns on the employed resources.' According to a Global CSR Study conducted by Cone Communications/Ebiquity, 91% of global consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues. From integrating a social mission into cross-departmental activities to engaging in sustainability practices, there are myriad ways in which organizations can adopt both a good business and commerce-driven model. A new report from PSFK Labs, 'Impact Debrief', explores how brands can innovate around this decades-old concept of CSR to elevate their social impact and influence. The study provides 5 key ingredients for creating social innovation - (1) Identify And Unite Around A Relevant Social Problem. (2) Promote Cross-Functional Integration. (3) Incentivize And Empower Employees. (4) Create Value By Maximizing Sustainability Efforts. (5) Deliver Transparency. Read on...
The 5 Fundamentals For Corporate Social Innovation
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2016
Packaging is an important component of product handling, logistics, advertising, marketing and selling. There are variety of materials that are currently in use for packaging. Environmental challenges arise due to the waste generated through discarded packagings. The packaging industry is exploring better materials that can reduce environmental footprint. In spite of scientific breakthroughs in developing new packaging materials, there are issues related to their performance and price, inhibiting their mass adoption and usage. Bryan Shova, packaging designer and industrial design director at Kaleidoscope, explains sustainability aspects of packaging. He says, 'I dream of the day when material science and manufacturing can deliver on the promise of zero environmental impact, high performance, premium finish and low costs.' He explains, 'The viability of true sustainability is a complex economic challenge, and the ugly truth is that few consumers, brand owners or municipalities are willing to pay the premium price for cutting-edge sustainable packaging solutions. True solutions will come through "systems thinking" that requires the material supplier, manufacturer, retailer, consumer and the municipality to share in the premium costs and labor required to design, collect and recycle packaged materials.' He provides 10 principles for designing sustainable packaging - (1) Start with commodity materials that are commonly recycled. (2) Design the package from a single material. (3) Focus on the product-to-package ratio. (4) Design for assembly at the point of manufacture. (5) Avoid gluing and laminations. (6) Design for distribution. (7) Eliminate secondary and tertiary packaging when possible. (8) Design for disassembly. (9) Clearly mark the materials on the packaging components. (10) Use Lifecycle Assessment. Read on...
10 ways to design sustainable packaging with intent
Author: Bryan Shova
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 jul 2016
Local communities require participation from its members for their better development. Individuals have to be proactive and should make valuable contribution, and work as a team to make a difference. Pawel Alva Nazaruk, social entrepreneur and owner of Better World International, suggest 7 ways to support communities and change neighbourhood - (1) Support Children - They Are Our Future: Support a child or team for a community activity. (2) Build A House - Sweat And Get Dirty: Find opportunities to help build homes for the disadvantaged. (3) Shop In Your Community - Keep Your Money In Your Local Area: According to American Independent Business Association, 48% of each purchase made in your local independent businesses stays in your community. Also helps create more local jobs. (4) Clean Up Your Neighborhood: Start from the area around your home and then organize a community cleaning event. (5) Take Part In Your Local Political Process: Vote for local representatives. Organize around issues of community development and support the best candidate. (6) Support Community Events: Support activities like farmers market and community gardens. Engage in events that create fun and build a healthy environment in community. (7) Be Friendly: Develop better relations with neighbors and other members of the community. Introduce yourself to the new member who joins the community. Be helpful, caring and supportive to members who are in need. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jun 2016
There are almost 50 million people living in poverty in the United States, almost 15 percent of the population. Although there are continuous efforts by governments, organizations and individuals to eradicate poverty, but the challenge is huge and at times results are not what are expected. Sometimes there is also lack of coordination between nonprofit agencies and difference in approaches to tackle poverty, even in same locations and dealing with same people. Kavitha Cardoza of WAMU shares her views on poverty with Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey. She says, 'As someone who grew up in India, where you interact with tons of poor people every day. But here (US), poverty is so hidden. Think of people who work minimum wage jobs - office cleaners come in overnight; if you have a maid at home, she comes in when you're at work. And if you think of say, a McDonald's, everyone is wearing a uniform and looks the same. We have sanitized poverty.' She explains, 'We tend to see poverty as fixed when it's really fluid. Of course it's about not having enough money, but we tend to forget all the challenges that go along with that. It becomes about food and housing and transportation and healthcare. And each of those problems leads to more problems.' Moreover, owning a cell phone, a TV or a kid having fancy sneakers, shouldn't be questionable in a poor situation, as they may serve a purpose contrary to typical perceptions. She quotes Greg Kaufmann, Editor of Talk Poverty, who says, 'Put yourself in a poor parent's place. People don't want their children to seem poor, they don't want to seem poor. Clearly, we have so much stigma attached to poverty. Kids get teased. Again as a parent, you can't get what middle class kids get - the sports camp or the music class, and so wouldn't you want to try to do something for your kid? And maybe actually that pair of sneakers is the cheapest thing you could do.' Speaking on lack of coordination and cooperation among charities that are helping poors, she says, 'There isn't a lot of incentive to collaborate...Part of it is each has different ideas about tackling the same problem, they want to do it their way and they all have different governance structures. And different ways of measuring success.' She quotes Bruce McNamer, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, which works with lots of human services organizations throughout the area, who says, 'The biggest challenge is charities compete with each other for funds. And that does sometimes create incentives for people not to work as closely or to be jockeying among themselves for the attention of funders...And the funding models that are in place to fund nonprofits in some sense encourage that inefficiency.' She quotes Katherine Boo, author of 'Behind the Beautiful Forevers', a book about poverty in Mumbai, who says, 'Journalists often cover poverty by going to a nonprofit and doing a story on someone who is doing well, they've had challenges, now they're fine. The story ends with everything tied up in a neat little bow. That's doing listeners a disservice because then they think that's how it is. There are no relapses, no challenges, no one who doesn't make it. And that's just not true.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2016
According to the survey by U.S. Trust (a subsidiary of Bank of America), of 684 high net worth (HNW) individuals, all with investable assets of US$ 3 million or more, there is increasing interest and activity in social impact investing, particularly among women, Millennials and Gen Xers. The survey also found the 7 out of 10 HNW Americans have more confidence in the private sector to solve social and environmental problems than the public or nonprofit sector. Moreover, another 6 in 10 believe that private capital invested in social and public programs can produce superior outcomes, all while ownership and interest in impact investing climb. Jackie VanderBrug, Managing Director of U.S. Trust, says, 'Understanding how and why individuals make impact investments is an increasingly important component of nonprofit management. I think that nonprofit executives that look at impact investing as a trend to be welcomed and embraced are going to be the ones ahead of the curve. Impact investing is not going away. It's fundamentally changing how investments are being made by individuals and fund managers. Understanding that and what it means to your donor base, constituency and board members is an important part of a nonprofit executive's job.' The survey report also finds that, environmental protection and sustainability is the issue that matters most to HNW investors, followed by healthcare equality and access; disease prevention, treatment and cure; access to education; and assistance for veterans. Ms. VanderBrug further adds, 'This is not about confusing philanthropy. Our clients are extremely philanthropic and we don't think that that should stop. My experience is that most individuals who are interested in impact investing are also very philanthropic. They understand that all sectors of the economy need to work.' Read on...
The NonProfit Times:
Big Donors Losing Faith In Charity To Solve Problems
Author: Andy Segedin
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 may 2016
A number of studies have strengthened the common belief that being around trees and close to nature improves one's mental and physical well-being. Research by Prof. Bin Jiang of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (now at University of Hong Kong) and his team, further emboldens the belief regarding the soothing aspects of green environment on stress levels and blood pressure. The study was undertaken to determine the dose-response curve between tree cover density and stress recovery. It included 158 volunteers in mildly stressful situations. The experiment utilized virtual reality headset to view 360-degree videos of an urban space with varying amounts of tree canopy visible. Results obtained from the tests showed a positive linear association between the density of trees and the self reported recovery from stress. Prof. Jiang comments, 'These finding suggest that viewing a tree canopy in communities can aid stress recovery and that every tree matters.' Researchers found that regardless of age, gender, and baseline stress levels the greater the exposure to trees, the less stress the subject felt. Read on...
Total Landscape Care:
University study - Stress falls as exposure to trees increases
Author: Jill Odom
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2016
According to the latest report by PwC, 'Connecting the World: Ten Mechanisms for Global Inclusion', providing internet connectivity to the remaining 4.1 billion people and bringing them online would increase global economic output by US$ 6.7 trillion. It will lift 500 million people out of poverty over five years. The report says that affordability, rather than infrastructure and availability, is the main barrier to internet adoption in most areas. Therefore, the report suggests that improvement of existing technology or even simply installing existing technology in developing nations, will be sufficient to achieve the essential cost reduction. The report was prepared for Facebook, that itself advocates cost reduction through Internet.org project. Facebook's approach of limiting the low-cost access to a subsection of the web, giving access to select sites like Wikipedia and Facebook, termed as 'zero rating', has critics in 'net neutrality' advocates like Tim Berners-Lee, who says, 'I tend to say 'Just say no.' In the particular case of somebody who's offering...something which is branded internet, it's not internet, then you just say no.' On the other hand, Jonathan Tate of PwC argues, 'Facebook's approach is worth it in the long term. While zero rating provides access to a slimmer version of the internet than the full web, it's a crucial stepping stone to full access. The important thing here is to get things moving.' Efforts like Google's Project Loon and Facebook's Aquila, are geared to achieve total connectivity by creating 'disruptive technologies'. Read on...
Connecting everyone to internet 'would add $6.7tn to global economy'
Author: Alex Hern
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 may 2016
UK-India Social Enterprise Education Network (UKISEEN), a collaborative project between IIT Madras (India) and University of Southampton (UK), funded by British Council, was recently launched in India. Prof. Pathik Pathak, Director of Social Enterprise and founding director of Social Impact Lab at University of Southampton, explains his views on social entrepreneurship education and employment, aims and objectives of UKISEEN and how India is embracing social entrepreneurship. ON SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: 'Fundamentally, it's about using entrepreneurship and innovation to drive social change. Social entrepreneurship is important because it gives students a unique skill-set...We think that social entrepreneurship is a catalyst for producing the graduates that the world needs. This is why so many universities in India have embraced social entrepreneurship.' ON UKISEEN: 'It involves universities collaborating to understand the best practices in social entrepreneurship education and exchanging ideas. There are two levels to the collaboration - at the faculty level and student level.' ON ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES: 'Employability is all about leadership now...universities' role includes more than merely educating students. Social entrepreneurship helps students inculcate innovation and creative skills. Fundamentally, it is about problem-solving, which is what leadership is all about as well. Besides, regardless of the profession you enter, you need to be entrepreneurial.' ON EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: 'One can go and work in the social investment space...Another indirect way is that it gives them the skills to go into the workforce and become leaders.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 may 2016
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and founder of the Web Foundation, is concerned about governments not providing open access to their data online. He says, 'The lack of free access to government data - or 'data poverty' - is contributing to widening inequality around the world...Inequality and poverty are about more than income. They are also about information.' Openly published data can help fight corruption and improve services for citizens. It can also be of value in understanding and fighting global warming and related issues like deforestation, floods, fall in crop yields etc. The study by the Web Foundation found that that more than half of the 92 countries it studies now have open data initiatives in place. Moreover, fewer than 10% of the datasets surveyed were open, and most of these are in the rich world, and almost non in African countries. Anne Jellema, CEO of the Web Foundation, says, 'Trying to use traditional data sources to tackle complex development challenges like climate change and hunger is like tunnelling through rock in the dark with a teaspoon. It takes ages and you may come out in the wrong place. Making development data open is vital for fast and accurate collaboration on the SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals), and the urgency now is to move from promises to implementation.' Read on...
Sir Tim Berners-Lee - Data poverty is the next frontier of inequality
Author: Ben Rossi
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 apr 2016
This year's World Health Day, that falls today (07 April 2016), has the theme 'Beat Diabetes!'. The World Health Organization has singled out tackling diabetes as one of the most critical healthcare challenge but at the same time tried to give a strong message that it is not too hard to manage if people can put their thoughts and actions in the right direction. Alex Jones, health economist at the social enterprise Oxford Policy Management and researcher at University of the West Indies, provides historial perspective on how international health organizations and governments over time have developed and implemented different types of policies in tackling global health issues. Sometimes they have utilized a single disease approach and at others they have been more holistic and tried to improve health systems around the world. He further explores two approaches and provides opinion on their long-term benefits. According to him, 'A quick look back through history reveals a disturbingly cyclical pattern: As an international community we've been flip-flopping between the two approaches - vertical and horizontal - for at least the last century.' He explains, 'As far back as the 1920s, the sector saw the growth of what was known as the 'Social Medicine Movement' - based on the consideration that ill health could actually be a consequence of poor social conditions...Throughout the first half of the 20th century the Rockefeller Foundation became one of the most influential organisations in global health, implementing programmes in over 80 countries...it always kept the aim of combating specific diseases through targeted campaigns. Post-war politics saw the creation of a number of international agencies that pursued similar vertical programmes...The failure of the GMEP (WHO's Global Malaria Eradication Project) and the relative success of Mao Zedong's community-led 'Barefoot Doctors' programme in China both helped to swing the global health pendulum towards a more horizontal 'systems' approach. In 1975, the WHO launched its Primary Health Care strategy and in 1978 (after sustained advocacy from the Soviet Union) the famous Alma-Ata conference was held...this was a pledge to build up basic health systems around the world...and heralded the birth of the 'Health for All'...The beginning of the 80's, however, saw the pendulum swing firmly back towards vertical interventions...the last ten years have seen a swing back to the ideals of Alma-Ata and the mantra of putting people - rather than pathogens - front and centre of health initiatives...In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly formally recognised and unanimously endorsed the idea of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).' While explaining the current state of health policy focus and interventions, he comments, 'Given the benefit of hindsight, there's a strong risk that today's current focus on UHC might not survive the constant push towards seemingly more feasible, targeted interventions. This apparently inevitable swing to the vertical, however, misses the point on two key fronts: First, history shows us that morbidities are integrated, both with each other and with our ways of life. Second, when something new comes along, a health sector built around a few target pathogens simply cannot deal with it.' Finally, he suggests, 'Let's continue to focus resources where significant advances in disease eradication are possible, partnering with those who can make this happen - but let's take care not to do this at the expense of overall systems strengthening.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 mar 2016
Food wastage is becoming a substantial cause of concern around the world. France recently passed laws to restrict throwing away or destroying food and UK's biggest retailer, Tesco, pledging to give all leftover food to charities. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations website (fao.org) - Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, gets lost or wasted; Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries. Governments, food chains and retailers, charitable organizations and social enterprises, need to come together to find ways to restrict and minimize food waste and make substantial part of it available to where it is required most. Following are some valuable suggestions - (1) Logistics: Efficient coordination between supermarkets and charities is essential. Supermarkets shouldn't just dump food at charities. Elaine Montegriffo, CEO of SecondBite, says, 'It is not just having enough trucks and storerooms...Some organisation has to take responsibility for coordinating donations so the right food reaches people in useable condition.' (2) Education: Create awareness about food labels and other specifications among consumers. Ronni Kahn, CEO of OzHarvest, says, 'Consumers need to understand what date marks mean.' (3) Food consumed at home should have minimal losses and consumer buying and eating behaviors need to be transformed. (4) Growing less food: Ms. Montegriffo says it's counterintuitive but if producers and retailers were not throwing away 1/3 of the food produced, the cost of producing it would drop. If supermarkets did not over-order food, their costs would reduce. (5) UK's model of collaborative understanding and commitment, between environment ministry, sumpermarkets, manufacturers and packaging companies has been effective and can be emulated. (6) Denmark's model with an organization buying surplus food from other supermarkets and selling at discount can also be helpful to reduce food waste. (7) Legislative measures can be considered and that should evolve with deliberations among various stakeholders. A number of organizations in Australia, for example retailers like Woolworths and Coles, and charities like OzHarvest, SecondBite and Foodbank, are currently working towards achieving minimal food wastes through the following 6 methods - (1) Reasonable and achievable long-term targets through diverse strategies like food donations, commercial composting, fertiliser, electricity production and animal feed. (2) Using food charities. (3) Buying ugly fruit and selling at cheaper rates. (4) Supermarkets are ordering less by using supply chain technologies and ordering systems. (5) Good incentives: Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt introduced an incentive for businesses to reduce food or garden waste in landfill. (6) Talking about food waste and seeking collaborative solutions through participation from wide array of public and private organizations. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 mar 2016
Gender equity and women empowerment are issues that are often discussed at various forums. Women are trying and working hard to make their mark in different fields and professions. Philanthropy and nonprofits are getting women in leadership roles. 'Inside Philanthropy' has created a separate section on their website where it exclusively covers developments related to women and girls. Recently the website listed influential women in U.S. that are making an impact by participating in various different capacities in the field of philanthropy, charity and nonprofit sector. The categorised list currently includes the following women - MEGA-DONORS: (1) Karen Ackman, Co-founder, Pershing Square Foundation; (2) Jody Allen, Co-founder, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; (3) Laura Arnold, Co-chair, Laura and John Arnold Foundation; (4) Connie Ballmer, Chair of Philanthropy, Ballmer Group; (5) Jennifer Buffett, Co-president, NoVo Foundation; (6) Susan Buffett, Chair, Sherwood Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and Buffett Early Childhood Fund; (7) Priscilla Chan, Co-founder, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; (8) Alexandra Cohen, Co-founder, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation; (9) Barbara Dalio, Co-founder, Dalio Foundation; (10) Susan Dell, Co-founder and Board Chair, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation; (11) Melinda Gates, Co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; (12) Lyda Hill, Founder, Lyda Hill Foundation; Laurene Powell Jobs, President, Emerson Collective; (13) Laurene Powell Jobs, President, Emerson Collective; (14) Pam Omidyar, Co-founder, Omidyar Group; (15) Barbara Picower, President and Chair, JPB Foundation; (16) Lynn Schusterman, Chair, Schusterman Family Foundation; (17) Marilyn Simons, President, Simons Foundation; (18) Cari Tuna, Co-founder and President, Good Ventures; (19) Diane von Furstenberg, Director, Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation; (20) Alice Walton, Walton Family Foundation and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; (21) Shelby White, Founder and Trustee, Leon Levy Foundation. FOUNDATION LEADERS: (22) Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; (23) Patricia Harris, CEO, Bloomberg Philanthropies; (24) Carol Larson, President and CEO, Packard Foundation; (25) Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; (26) Clara Miller, Director and President, F.B. Heron Foundation; (27) LaJune Montgomery Tabron, President and CEO, W. K. Kellogg Foundation; (28) Sally Osberg, President and CEO, Skoll Foundation; (29) Judith Rodin, President, Rockefeller Foundation; (30) Julia Stasch, President, MacArthur Foundation; CORPORATE FUNDERS: (31) Suzanne DiBianca, President, Salesforce Foundation; (32) Deb Elam, President, GE Foundation; (33) Sally McCrady, President, PNC Foundation; (34) Kathleen McLaughlin, President, Walmart Foundation; (35) Kerry Sullivan, President, Bank of America Charitable Foundation; (36) Michele Sullivan, President, Caterpillar Foundation; THE CATALYSTS: (37) Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Founder and President, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen Foundation; (38) Melissa Berman, President and CEO, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; (39) Jean Case, CEO, Case Foundation; (40) Hillary Clinton, Former Secretary of State and Candidate for U.S. President; (41) Amy Danforth, President, Fidelity Charitable; (42) Kriss Deiglmeier, CEO, Tides; (43) Kim Dennis, President and CEO, Searle Freedom Trust; (44) Jane Greenfield, President, Vanguard Charitable; (45) Donna P. Hall, President and CEO, Women Donors Network; (46) Ruth Ann Harnisch, Founder, Harnisch Foundation; (47) Vanessa Kirsch, Founder and CEO, New Profit; (48) Kim Laughton, President, Schwab Charitable; (49) Michele Lord, President, NEO Philanthropy; (50) Teresa Younger, President and CEO, Ms. Foundation; (51) Jacki Zehner, President and Chief Engagement Officer, Women Moving Millions. Read on...
Meet the 50 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Philanthropy
Authors: David Callahan, Kiersten Marek
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 mar 2016
In most organizations, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is not a clearly defined strategic activity at the senior executive and top internal stakeholder level, even though a number of them have CSR and sustainability departments. According to a research study by London-based economic and strategy consulting firm, Economic Policy Group (EPG), 71% of companies in the U.S define their CSR spending as in-kind donations and free product giveaways. Another 16% define it as cash donations, and the remaining 13% as employee volunteering and giving. Large organizations often consider investments in social programs as not providing direct returns. One of the most difficult challenge for sustainability teams is to sell embedded CSR and sustainability programs internally to the top executives and senior managers and advocating that isolated initiatives like philanthropy and volunteering are not enough for corporations to be socially responsible. Organizations have to effectively integrate CSR and sustainability into the overall strategy to drive long-term growth and success. Sustainable thinking should be imbibed into corporate culture and strategic thought processes. Jeff Sutton, Vice President of thinkPARALLAX, provides 7 benefits of integrating sustainability into overall business strategy - (1) Increase in sales. (2) Innovate and differentiate. (3) Enhance and build reputation. (4) Future-proofing. (5) Recruit and retain. (6) Cut costs. (7) Unify teams and align decision making. Read on...
Securing Buy-in From the Top - 7 Benefits of Integrated Thinking
Author: Jeff Sutton
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 mar 2016
Harvard University academics, Prof. Mark R. Kramer and Prof. Michael E. Porter, introduced the concept of 'Creating Shared Value (CSV)' in HBR (2011), as an approach that takes into account social problems which intersect with businesses and makes it a major part of the core business strategy of a company. In the context of India the approach is much more relevant as it is still struggling with numerous social issues like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, health etc. The academics feel that Indian businesses are still missing something in their view of long-term sustainabile business models. While speaking at 'Shared Value Summit 2015' in India, Prof. Kramer said, 'You cannot have a successful business in a failing society...for the CSV model to become a part of corporate hygiene anywhere needs major mindset change where we embrace a problem solving approach that goes beyond thinking what we can do in our company alone to also what we can do for society that we operate in.' He further explains that, 'CSV doesn't replace CSR and philanthropy, but can be in addition to them, such that businesses can find new opportunities for competitive advantage by beginning to think about these social issues as part of their overall corporate strategy.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2016
According to World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution has become the world's biggest environmental risk, linked to over 7 million deaths a year. A global team of scientists (Farid Touati, Claudio Legena, Alessio Galli, Damiano Crescini, Paolo Crescini, Adel Ben Mnaouer) from Canadian University Dubai, Qatar University, and the University of Brescia (Italy), have developed a technology, known as SENNO (Sensor Node), that enables high-efficiency air quality monitoring, to help promote a cleaner environment and reduce the health risks associated with poor atmospheric quality. The technology promises to make air quality monitoring cost-effective. The research paper, 'Environmentally Powered Multiparametric Wireless Sensor Node for Air Quality Diagnostic', was published in Sensors and Materials journal. Prof. Adel Ben Mnaouer of Canadian University Dubai (CUD), says, 'Sensor networks dedicated to atmospheric monitoring can provide an early warning of environmental hazards. However, remote systems need robust and reliable sensor nodes, which require high levels of power efficiency for autonomous, continuous and long-term use...Our technology harvests environmental energy...it optimises energy use by the sensory equipment, so as to function only for the time needed to achieve the operations of sensor warm-up, sampling, data processing and wireless data transmission, thereby creating an air quality monitoring system that measures pollutants in a sustainable and efficient way.' Read on...
The Gulf Today:
Dubai professor develops innovation to combat increasing air pollution
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 feb 2016
According to a study by Prof. Sachin Modi of Iowa State University (USA) and Saurabh Mishra of McGill University (Canada), a strong marketing department is crucial to helping a firm leverage its efforts to be socially responsible. Study results show the combination of marketing and CSR can provide shareholders with a 3.5 percent gain in stock returns. Researchers defined CSR as discretionary firm activities aimed at enhancing societal well-being and analyzed six different types of CSR activities - environment, products, diversity, corporate governance, employees and community - to determine whether marketing of these efforts increased long-term firm value and stock price. Firms often consider CSR as a cost and have to make an investment and may not always see the benefits. Prof. Modi says, 'What we want to show is that if a firm is good and has some complimentary capabilities, it can gain a lot from CSR activities...The return is dependent upon the type of activity. Firms benefited from five of the six types of CSR efforts studied, with the exception of charitable giving and philanthropy...We're not saying firms shouldn't give to charity, because it is a very important component, all we're saying is we don't see a financial return.' Prof. Modi further suggests, 'Our hope is that firms see it is important to be socially responsible. It's not a choice of one versus the other. Firms have to do multiple aspects of being socially responsible.' Read on...
ISU News Service:
Marketing key to return on corporate social responsibility investment, ISU study shows
Author: Angie Hunt
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 feb 2016
Collaborative multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches are needed to tackle complex real world problems that require large amount of resources, diverse set of perspectives, and extensive expertise and skills. A similar joint effort is being utilized to create 'Human Rights Methodology Lab' by Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGC) at NYU Law School, Human Rights Institute (HRI) at Columbia University Law School and Human Rights Watch (HRW). The lab will bring together leading human rights investigators, advocates, and scholars with experts across disciplines to develop new approaches to the investigation of human rights abuses and to propose concrete improvements in advocacy-oriented human rights research. According to Prof. Margaret Satterthwaite, co-chair and faculty director at the CHRGC, 'Rigorous, interdisciplinary methods are essential to making human rights advocacy more effective. Improving methods helps us solidify the evidence base for our advocacy, and gives us tools to help understand the dynamics behind violations, their scope and intensity, and ultimately, their causes.' Prof. Sarah Knuckey, co-director at HRI, says 'The lab will bring together small, carefully curated groups to develop methods for human rights projects during their early stages of development. There are currently too few formal spaces for human rights advocates to critique and experiment, and the lab responds to the needs of researchers to innovate, test and share new research tools and techniques.' According to Amanda Klasing, senior women's rights researcher at HRW, 'The chance to discuss methods with experts in other disciplines is an invaluable resource. It allows researchers to develop innovative projects with data and approaches that can help us improve our advocacy for ending abuses.' In addition to above persons, the other convener of the lab is Brian Root, quantitative analyst at HRW. The lab will also have participation and assistance of Holly Stubbs, a researcher at Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR). Read on...
Human Rights Watch:
Innovative Lab Launched to Strengthen Human Rights Work
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jan 2016
Social entrepreneurship takes initiatives to solve world's complex social problems through creativity, innovation and passion. Education and healthcare are two areas that require huge amount of resources and efforts to improve quality and access. In a number of cases various government, non-government and private organizations have to pool their resources and efforts for better outcomes in education and healthcare. Richard Barth, CEO of KIPP Foundation (US-based Education Social Enterprise), and Jonathan Jackson, Co-founder and CEO of Dimagi (Technology and Healthcare Social Enterprise that operates globally), explain how their two organizations are finding common ground, pooling their expertise and resources, utilizing technology and collaborating to find solutions to uplift their communities. Through their experience the organizations have observed that education and healthcare are substantially connected to each other. They explain, 'Dimagi and KIPP learned that the same child struggling with poor health is often unable to access a good education. There's no single solution that will improve their quality of life, and we can't fully address one challenge at the expense of the other.' This prompted the organizations to invest in each other's areas of expertise. Dimagi is branching out into education, and KIPP is incorporating healthcare into its approach. Since their interactions and relationships with communities in which they operate are central to their work, therefore, their collaboration will play an important role in effective application of solutions. The collaborative and partnership model can be applied by social enterprises working in different areas to maximize their impact and save efforts and resources. Read on...
The Seventy Four:
Social Entrepreneurship - Connecting the Worlds of Education and Health Care
Authors: Richard Barth, Jonathan Jackson
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jan 2016
Concerned authorities try to provide affordable housing to their marginalized communities. In regions with extreme climate conditions it becomes even more challenging to manage costs related to energy consumption. Nanaimo Aboriginal Center (British Columbia, Canada) in partnership with the city administration is planning to build an affordable housing complex that will abide by the energy efficiency standards. The project will use passive housing design, that is more economical and is an alternative to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design). According to Chris Beaton, Executive Director of Nanaimo Aboriginal Center, 'You build your building so it's oriented to the sun and during the winter, you're allowing in the heat of the sun to warm the interior of the building. You put in robust insulation...then you vapour barrier it so no cold air is coming in and you're not losing heat during the winter.' Read on...
Nanaimo News Bulletin:
Affordable housing project aims to use passive house design
Author: Karl Yu
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 jan 2016
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics website (bls.gov), 1987 United Nations conference defined sustainable development as, 'Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' A report from the National Association for Environmental Management describes sustainability as, 'Company's strategies for acting as a responsible corporate citizen, ensuring its operations are financially sustainable and minimizing its environmental footprint. Sustainability initiatives may include natural resource reduction, supply chain management, worker safety and health initiatives, stakeholder engagement and external reporting.' Sustainability professionals are often employed by companies to achieve their goals by ensuring that their business practices are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. Sustainability is a diverse field and to pursue right careers requires thorough search starting from CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) or sustainability departments of corporations, nonprofit or social startups, or social impact or social consulting firms. But apart from these usual approaches, Katie Kross (Managing Director of the Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE) at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business), provides some other out of the box ideas for professionals seeking sustainability careers and want to make social impact - (1) Mission-driven brand manager (2) University sustainability director (3) ESG (Environmental-Social-Governance Investing) portfolio analyst (4) CSR account executive for a creative agency (5) Post-graduate intern at an environmental NGO (6) Foundation program officer. Read on...
6 Sustainability Careers That Haven't Occurred to You Yet
Author: Katie Kross
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 dec 2015
U.S. spends a total of US$ 2.8 trillion on healthcare and surprisingly about half of it is spent on just 5% of the general population. To expand healthcare reach the general solution is to spend more money. But Prof. David S. Buck of Baylor College of Medicine and director of the Primary Care Innovation Center (PCIC) in Houston (Texas, US), explains that spending more money, specifically in Harris County, has yielded poor outcomes, no coordination between healthcare providers and no safety net system for those most in need. According to him the healthcare system is non-existent in the region and it is merely a grouping of medical silos. The nonprofit PCIC is working towards creating a true healthcare system to reach the most vulnerable and most medically expensive residents, and provide affordable and better healthcare overall by reducing hospital costs. PCIC is first identifying 'super-utilizers', a small group of patients that are extremely sick and costly. These patients utilize most of the healthcare services and are generally treated in emergency rooms. Health staff after identifying these 'super-utilizers' will work with them individually and develop a treatment and care plan for better management of their health issues. This will finally reduce their hospital emergency visits and lower healthcare costs. Delay in treating small problems leads them to become emergencies and bring inefficiencies in the health system along with increased difficulties to patients. Prof. Buck suggests an integrated database of these patients for timely and effective treatment and care. According to him, 'Developing a safety net takes time, commitment and shared data...If hospitals share data, it won't just improve the institution's bottom line; it'll improve care for the community...We also need school systems to share data, so that we can learn how health and social factors are linked, and improve the health of students and their families.' Read on...
Medical data-sharing could curb cost of 'super-utilizers'
Author: David S. Buck
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2015
The fast-paced world of fashion and related consumption leads to generation of large amount of waste that leaves a substantial ecological footprint. According to the nonprofit GrowNYC, in the city of New York the average person throws out 46 pounds of clothings and textiles every year (totals 193000 tons for NY). While Council for Textile Recycling found that US generates 25 billion pounds of textile waste per year (82 pounds per person) and estimates that it will increase to 35.4 billion pounds by 2019. But only about 4 billion pounds (15%) gets donated and recycled and the remaining reaches landfills, contributing 5.2% to all trash generated in US. Elizabeth Cline, author of the book "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Price of Cheap Fashion", says 'There is so much waste being created and that has changed really dramatically in the last 15 years with the rise of fast fashion and disposable consumption.' Adam Baruchowitz, CEO of Wearable Collections, which coordinates textile recycling in partnership with GrowNYC, acknowledges the increasing rise in textile waste. While Nate Herman, VP of international trade at American Apparel and Footwear Association, have a contrarian view and explains 'People are actually buying less than they did 10 years. While there has been a lot of press about [wastefulness], the numbers don't bear that out.' But he acknowledges that the industry is trying to effectively handle the clothing's end-of-life issues. Some companies provide small credit to consumers who trade-in used garments, while others donate used clothings to charities. Some companies provide support and contribute to the recycle programs where used textiles end up in producing materials used in other industries like insulation in buildings. Moreover, there are a number of startups that are working to give a second life to used clothings. A small number of fashion companies are also incorporating recycled materials in their new line of clothings. Eco-friendly strategies are considered costly by the industry. According to Jill Dumain, director of environmental strategy at Patagonia, 'It's an industry-wide dilemma, for sure, on how do we do something at scale that the industry can participate in...The end result is that you have smaller-scale production that ends up to be more expensive.' She suggests that awareness about recycling is necessary and at the same time there need to be a thinking among consumers not to treat clothes like a cheap disposable item. Slow fashion might be the way forward. She further explains, 'I do think consumption is a big part. People need to learn how to buy less and companies need to learn how to be profitable in selling less.' Read on...
Is the fast fashion industry ready to change its wasteful ways?
Author: Michael Casey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2015
Nonprofit organizations intend to bring social change and serve communities by involving themselves in the areas of education, healthcare, environment, poverty alleviation etc. Large number of these organizations are professionally managed and utilize business practices for efficiency and effectiveness to make better impact in the society. Elizabeth Gore, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell and Chair of the Global Entrepreneurs Council at United Nations Foundation, explains how working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector benefits individuals and is a viable career option - (1) Since nonprofit sector is an organized industry, individuals with an undergraduate degree in fields like business, engineering etc can pursue master's in nonprofit management and pubic policy. (2) Volunteering gets your foot on the door and provides global experience in a number of areas. (3) You don't have to build your own thing and your game changing charitable idea can be developed by utilizing the infrastructure of the existing nonprofit. It has better chance of success as there are networking opportunities in such an environment. (4) Most national nonprofits and humanitarian groups have an attractive pay structure and value talent. It would be sufficient to cover ones expenses. (5) As the nonprofit industry involves working with committed individuals, it helps in building long-term relationships and lasting friendships. Read on...
5 Surprising Things to Know About Jobs That Give Back
Authors: Elizabeth Gore, Danielle Kam
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 oct 2015
To transform cities into 'HUBs' of something requires deliberate collaborative efforts and partnerships between the people and government. There are numerous examples from US and around the world where residents, local businesses, city administration, civil society and governments have come together to create ideas and concepts, developed a concrete roadmap, and carefully executed strategy, that lead to the evolution of a city or region to become great at doing something and attract other people, businesses and investments that helped develop and grow its economy. They worked relentlessly as a team towards the shared vision and goal. Kansas City in United States is one such example where the city and its citizens built upon its strength and made it into a hub of 'Social Entrepreneurship.' Josh Schukman (Founder of Social Change Nations), explains five essential elements that helped transform Kansas City and how other cities can replicate and implement this model - (1) Capitalize on the strengths of area universities. (2) Rally local foundations. (3) The effort must be driven by the social entrepreneurs themselves. (4) Embrace the startup culture. (5) Remember this is a long term play. Read on...
How to Make Your City a Hub For Social Entrepreneurship
Author: Josh Schukman
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 oct 2015
According to a recent report by Commonwealth Fund, 'U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective: Spending, Use of Services, Prices, and Health in 13 Countries', based on data by OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and other cross-national analyses, the US spent US$ 9086 per person on healthcare in 2013, which corresponds to 17.1% of GDP. This was about 50% more than the second highest spender (France-11.6% of GDP) and almost twice of what UK (8.8%) spent. In US if the patients are unable to pay their healthcare bills, it either becomes a bad debt for the patient or is written off as 'charity-care', adding up to US$ 57 billion in uncompensated care. To study and analyse this aspect of healthcare, researchers from Northwestern University - David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite, and Christopher Ody - as part of The Hamilton Project by Brookings Institution, argue that there is room for efficiency improvement in the charity-care system and the supply and demand for charity care are not geographically inclined. This means that hospitals that have more resources available for charity-care, ones mostly located in high-income areas, are not located in the places where people most need it, i.e. the low-income areas. To rectify this situation, researchers propose a 'floor-and-trade' system, in which all hospitals are required to provide some charity-care to low income patients. One of the researcher, Craig Garthwaite, comments 'As the Affordable Care Act has rearranged the flows of patients to hospitals and decreased the number of uninsured Americans, it's a good time to reconsider how hospitals commit themselves to serving their surrounding communities.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 oct 2015
According to Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), 'Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return...The growing impact investment market provides capital to address the world's most pressing challenges in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, clean technology, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education.' The recent report by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 'Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investments', based on the evaluation of financial performance of 53 impact investing equity funds that include 557 individual investments, explores the two most important aspects of impact investing - financial returns and long-term impact. The study suggests that - in certain markets segments - investors might not need to expect lower returns as a tradeoff for social impact. According to authors of the report, Wharton finance professors David Musto and Chris Geczy, certain market segments of funds in the sample yield returns close to those of public market indices. Prof. Geczy explains, 'Our research fills a near-void of rigorous analysis of private investment and social impact outcomes and most importantly the link between the ideals of doing well and doing good. The study examines the tension between profits and purpose, also bringing to bear analyses characterizing relative performance as well as statistical certainty about the result. It represents an exciting initial advancement in our ongoing social impact research agenda.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2015
Nonprofits and charitable organizations need to evolve their processes, systems and strategies alongwith the technology-driven changes that are happening in businesses, governments and the world in general. Effective, efficient and timely fundraising and financing of projects is critical for the survival and success of nonprofits. According to the report 'The Business of Nonprofits: Amplify Your Fundraising Success With New Technologies and Proven Business Practices' by 121Giving.com, based on the survey of 450 nonprofit executives and program directors in the US that was conducted in July 2014, '54% of nonprofits raised less than 25% of an intended goal during their last online fundraiser. Additionally, more than 1/3rd of those surveyed describe their adoption of technology as "struggling" and 74% state that they collected less than US$ 5000 in valued goods from a donation drive.' The survey also found that fundraising, donor solicitation and financing of daily operations are challenges for many nonprofits. Moreover, the results of the survey indicate that most nonprofits still rely on traditional processes and outdated technologies that fail to deliver fundraising outcomes required to succeed in today's competitive digital-driven environment. Other main findings of the report are - 54% of nonprofits do not ask retailers for discounts on products; Only 2% of nonprofits raise money online to buy products in stores or online; 22% ask the community to donate products; 68% of nonprofits pursue grants to cover expenses for their programs; Only 7% of nonprofits use online crowdfunding tools to raise funds. Liz Deering, co-founder of 121Giving.com, says 'Nonprofits are wasting precious time, dollars and resources to raise funds and procure the products they need to run their operations.' The report points out that nonprofits are indeed making attempts to improve their operations through proven business practices (33% of nonprofit leaders upgraded hardware or software in 2014 to improve programs). The report also highlights the opportunities for nonprofits to reach their campaign goals through - Adopting latest business practices; Focusing on project-specific funding needs while seeking grants; Ask, negotiate and bargain like a business to obtain product discounts; Using data and analytics for measurement; Utilizing social media connected individuals and communities to publicize initiatives and programs; Investing in technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce labor intensity of core operations. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2015
Timely access to funds is one of the critical component for the survival of nonprofits. Their funding sources are limited and mostly include endowments and grants. Moreover, to obtain funding from traditional sources like banks and financial institutions is difficult. They should find innovative ways to raise and create funds and achieve long-term sustainability. According to Ryan McCrary, founder of Great Outdoor Adventure Trips (GOAT), 'Most nonprofits see rapid growth right away but quickly stagnate. GOAT, a youth development organization for at-risk students, followed that format. To continue growing, nonprofits must innovate like any other company.' He suggests creating a side revenue stream, that may be in the form of a business, which can support the nonprofit. Creating a monthly donor group is another approach that he suggests. Moreover he argues that nonprofits shouldn't shy away from generating profits and should re-invest them in the company. Individuals who have ideas and solutions to do social good can also model their startups as for-profit social enterprises. Moreover, they can also join board of existing nonprofit and share their ideas and assist it to innovate and grow. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 sep 2015
The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 will be held in New York from 25 to 27 September 2015, to adopt the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development. The 2030 agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will replace the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were adopted by 193 UN member states in 2000 to root out poverty from the world. The 17 SDGs continue to build upon MDGs to end poverty alongwith fighting inequality and injustice. These goals will also include tackling the concerns of climate change, global health and hunger. Helen Clark, UNDP Adminstrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, says on the UNDP.org, 'World leaders have an unprecedented opportunity this year to shift the world onto a path of inclusive, sustainable and resilient development...If we all work together, we have a chance of meeting citizens' aspirations for peace, prosperity, and wellbeing, and to preserve our planet.' The 17 SDGs are - (1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere (2) End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture (3) Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages (4) Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (6) Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (7) Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (8) Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation (10) Reduce inequality within and among countries (11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (12) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns (13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (14) Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (15) Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss (16) Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (17) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. Read on...
UN Sustainable Development:
Transforming our world - The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 sep 2015
Social enterprises seek to develop innovative solutions to the real world problems and engage with local communities. With democratization of technology and availability of funds more entrepreneurs are able to create social enterprises and become part of the development landscape. Along their evolution to sustainability and during the process of scaling up, social enterprises face a range of challenges. Accelerator programs can play an important role in assisting them to overcome obstacles and grow. According to Anya Lim, co-founder and MD of ANTHILL Fabric Gallery, 'More than the financial resources, we need mentorship and guidance. We felt that being in an accelerator program will increase our accountability to implement changes for growth more efficiently and effectively.' Manny Alkuino, CEO and chairman of Sidlakpinoy, also acknowledges the role of accelerator in helping to reach next level in terms of both operations and social impact. Both these organizations are part of Philippine-based Impact Investment Exchange Asia's Impact Accelerator program. Following are the suggestions they share with other social entrepreneurs who are working to scale up their enterprises - (1) Do it at the right time. (2) Have a clear company ethos and a solid team. (3) Know your numbers. Know your market and details of issues you are tackling through proper research. (4) Engage your team and stakeholders in the process. Read on...
4 tips for taking your social enterprise to the next level
Author: Liana Barcia
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 sep 2015
Collaborative approaches in tackling healthcare can play an important role in reducing costs and also lessen burden on already overstretched healthcare systems. In such a collaborative setting niche and focused nonprofits can share some responsibilities of healthcare providers and lessen their loads. The disruption of healthcare and enactment of Affordable Care Act have forced hospitals and physicians to evolve new ways of imparting efficient healthcare and redirect patient care from the acute care setting to primary care 'medical homes' that focus on prevention and coordinate patient care. The New York State Medicaid reform is a step in this direction and intends to bring nonprofits and government together to address issues that influence healthcare like food, housing, finances etc. Such coordinated preventative measures are expected to reduce emergency visits to hopsitals. Medicaid funding to such programs that have been undertaken by nonprofits would enhance their capabilities and they can more holistically work towards providing solutions to residents to live healthier lives. Moreover similar partnerships will also help in tackling chronic diseases. Shoshanah Brown, executive director of a.i.r. NYC, an organization that helps asthmatic children in poor neighborhoods, says 'Community-based organizations like ours that are close to the ground and are very much in the community can keep patients healthier.' Montefiore Medical Center in collaboration with YMCA conducts a program to prevent pre-diabetic patients from full-blown diabetes with a 16-week class. Patient with mental illnesses or substance abuse issues will also benefit from this reform for collaboration as healthcare providers can work with a housing group so that they have a safe place to live and stay out of hospital. Read on...
Could Collaborations Mean Better and Less Costly Healthcare?
Author: G. Meredith Betz
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 aug 2015
According to a report, 'Resourcing Social Enterprises: Approaches and Challenges', lack of standard definition and limited knowledge and awareness about 'Social Enterprises' among financiers and general public are the key sourcing challenges. The report focused on assessing the resilience of social enterprises in Western Australia. Lead author of the report, Professor Jo Barraket of Swinburne University, says 'Social enterprises are a hybrid form of business. It's still a relatively new concept to the market, and mainstream financial providers don't necessarily understand it...We don't have any consistent standard for social-financial accounts in Australia. So the tools that social enterprises have to communicate their business operations to external financiers are still underdeveloped and that makes it challenging.' Moreover Prof. Barraket adds that most social enterprises look towards generating funding internally similar to small and medium businesses. Accessing external equity is constrained depending on their legal form thus limiting external finance opportunities. Report also identified the governance structure as a further challenge, with financial resilience not considered as a top priority particularly in case of social enterprises that work within larger not-for-profit structures. Prof. Barraket explains, 'The boards in those contexts are quite rightly having to juggle requirements of larger charitable concerns, and therefore not always able to respond in the same sorts of ways that a small business that's not governed by such a large governance structure would do.' Prof. Barraket suggests that communication has to get effective between the supply and demand, those in the business of social finance understand the needs of social enterprises, and these enterprises have right tools to explain effectively to financiers. Moreover this change will take time and requires culture change and different thinking, both within the social enterprises and organizations that intend to support their development. Read on...
Pro Bono Australia:
Social Enterprises Misunderstood - Financial Resilience Report
Author: Ellie Cooper
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 aug 2015
Wikipedia defines 'Social Enterprise' as, 'An organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being - this may include maximizing social impact rather than profits for external shareholders. Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and may take the form (depending in which country the entity exists and the legal forms available) of a co-operative, mutual organization, a disregarded entity, a social business, a benefit corporation, a community interest company or a charity organization.' Like any other organization the success of 'Social Enterprises' depends on variety of internal and external factors like leadership, teamwork, passion, infrastructural ecosystem, investor capital etc. Dick Gygi, a veteran social ventures leader & co-founder of 3 social enterprises, shares his experience and outlines factors essential for social entrepreneurs to lead their enterprises to success - (1) Get clear on the mission and stay mission-centered. (2) Test the business model for sustainability before you bet the farm. (3) Don't do it alone. Build a strong team and do your best. Then, delegate the rest. (4) Persevere. It takes more time and money than you think. (5) Measure desired outcomes - financial and mission impact. Read on...
Nashville Business Journal:
5 lessons learned in 10 years of leading Nashville social enterprises
Author: Dick Gygi
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 jul 2015
There seems to be lack of commitment by companies regarding the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rules, that came into effect from 01 April 2014, and were introduced in the new Companies Act of 2013. Only 1/3rd of the top listed companies, from the half of the BSE-30 that have disclosed their CSR spending figures for 2014-15, were able to spend the required, minimum 2% of the profits, on CSR activities in the first year. Those taking their CSR with the proactive approach include RIL, Wipro, ITC, Hindustan Unilever and Mahindra & Mahindra. And the corporates that missed the 2% spending mark include Infosys (marginally), HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, SBI, Dr. Reddy's and Bajaj Auto. The total amount spent by the 15 companies was a little more than Rs 2100 crore. The government in its efforts to improve monitoring of social welfare activities of companies under the companies law has set up a six-member panel and asked it to provide suggestions. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website, members of the panel include - Anil Baijal, Former Secretary of Govt. of India; Prof. Deepak Nayyar, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Onkar S. Kanwar, Chairman & MD of Appollo Tyres; Kiran Karnik, Former President of NASSCOM; Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises; Additional Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Read on...
The Economic Times:
CSR regime begins on disappointing note; two-third companies miss target
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 jun 2015
Diversity in nonprofit boards and leadership is an essential element of governance. It helps in bringing different perspectives and expertise in the decision-making process and affects the culture and dynamics of the nonprofit boards. Team of researchers led by Professor Garry W. Jenkins of The Ohio State University undertook the study to understand the ways in which the composition of the nonprofit boards has evolved in recent years in US. They examined the biographies of governing directors in 1989 and 2014 of three sets of nonprofit organizations: major private research universities, elite small liberal arts colleges, and prominent New York City cultural and health institutions. According to Prof. Jenkins, 'The most striking finding was the sizable presence and growth on charitable boards of those whose primary professional background and skill set were drawn from the financial services industry. The tally indicates that the percentage of people from finance on the boards virtually doubled at all three types of nonprofits between 1989 and 2014.' Another important takeaway from the study is the presence of high percentage of board leadership positions from the finance sector (Liberal Arts Colleges - 44%, New York City Nonprofits - 44%, Private Universities - 56%). Prof. Jenkins while mentioning the 2012 figures for finance sector contribution to GDP (7.9%) and employment (6% of private non-farm workforce) explains, 'If nonprofit boards were composed of a representative group of people from society, one would expect trustees with a finance background to represent roughly 6 to 8 percent of board members. Instead, according to our research, trustees with professional backgrounds and skills primarily from the financial services industry represent about four times that number.' While answering about this shift in composition of nonprofit boards, Prof. Jenkins says, 'Nonprofit organizations are simply following the money. Driven by the heightened pressure and expectations to raise ever larger sums, nonprofit boards and managers are selecting new board members with an eye toward those with the greatest capacity for making "transformative gifts."' The dominance of financiers in the nonprofit boards also influences the working dynamics of the board with inclusion of specific practices, approaches and priorities (Data-driven decision making; Emphasis on metrics; Prioritizing impact and competition; Managing with 3-5 years horizons and plans; Advocating executive-style leadership; Compensation etc). Although these practices do have benefits for nonprofits, but at the same time too much financial and business-like emphasis in the functioning of the board may have adverse impact on charitable goals and objectives. For the long-term success and effectiveness of the nonprofit boards the need would be to balance the composition of the board with inclusion of individuals that have expertise and skills in different fields alongwith consideration of racial and gender diversity, minority representation etc. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 jun 2015
The relationship between the management and the nonprofit board requires an optimum balance for better performance. Management has more information, thus giving them more power, in the functioning of the organization. However to stay relevant and effective, volunteer board members need to be proactive in seeking the information not only from the management but also from the other sources. There can be adverse consequences for the organization if the board members fail in this regard. Professor Eugene Fram of Rochester Institute of Technology, suggest steps to prevent management from overriding the board - Develop an understood difference between the policy/strategy development and managing organizational operations; Governance focus; Better collaboration and communications. Read on...
Can Nonprofit Management Usurp Board Responsibilities?
Author: Eugene Fram
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 may 2015
According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) website, 'UNDP assists partners to achieve sustainable, people-centered development through an integrated approach that links policy with planning and programming, for promoting results based management, instating quality safeguards, monitoring and evaluating impact and equally learning from failures and successes.' Innovation is an integral part of the development program and requires investments to fulfil the goals. UNDP has defined nine innovation principles - (1) Design with the User (2) Understand the Existing Ecosystem (3) Design for Scale (4) Build for Sustainability (5) Be Data Driven (6) Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation (7) Reuse and Improve (8) Do no harm (9) Be Collaborative. In the context of development, innovation means to embrace complexity and accept diversity of solutions, and it implies that breakthroughs can only be created in partnership. As Millennium Development Goals are set to run their course, the agreement is now being sought on new development priorities. The Innovation Facility's 'Year in Review' report identifies six areas where UNDP will seek to innovate in 2015 and beyond - (1) What exactly, is the problem?: Social challenges are becoming increasingly complex. Focus is on understanding the problem based on available data. Big data analysis and embracing ethnographic methods to better understand diverse perspectives of the people affected by development challenges. (2) The best ideas come from surprising people and places: Looking for models and ideas beyond UNDP. Community solutions and open innovation challenges can encourage startups, NGOs and other partners to propose concrete solutions to problems or an opportunity. (3) Test, measure, improve: Test multiple ideas and approaches and select the one that gives better results. (4) Who wants your idea?: Before making investment, seek a clear business plan to identify probable partners (government, private sector or NGO) to bring the idea to scale. (5) Can we create shared value?: For post-2015 agenda large investment by governments alongwith substantial support from private sector are required. Through building local partnerships, opportunities for shared value to be explored. (6) Forget failure - learn!: Learn by testing ideas and failures to improve performance. Innovation involves calculated risks. To get success learn and improve. Read on...
6 ways to innovate for development in 2015 and beyond
Author: Benjamin Kumpf
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 may 2015
Value of data lies with how it can be utilized for better and improved decision-making and subsequent beneficial actions. Governments collect and hold substantial amount of valuable data on variety of parameters. Open data movement intends to give wider digital access to public data to increase government transparency, efficiency and accountability. A report by McKinsey Global Institute estimates global economic value of open data at US$ 3 trillion. Open Data Research Network, funded by Canada's International Development Research Centre and led by World Wide Web Foundation, is exploring the emerging impacts of open data in developing countries and how it can help address specific challenges. In Chennai (India) researchers found that existing municipal data on the urban poor is unreliable. Lack of data on the number and location of public toilets, hinder public sanitation investments to reach vulnerable communities. Local officials with the help of researchers significantly improved their procurement processes by creating and connecting different open databases. Another case study in India focused on the extractive energy sector, where no publicly available data has hindered regulatory enforcement in the production of coal, oil and natural gas. In Phillippines, researchers looked at how business, media, civil society and other groups benefit from national open data policy introduced in 2011 that required local governments to disclose financial and procurement related data on their websites. This project identified where local governments can be more accountable. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 may 2015
Chairman of a nonprofit board has a leadership position and the board's success depends on the capabilities and skills that he/she demonstrates while providing guidance and direction in critical areas. Jay Love, co-founder and CEO of Bloomerang, provides a selective list of 8 attributes of the chairman that have the largest impact on the success of the nonprofit board - (1) Personal Commitment to the Nonprofit (2) Exude Enthusiasm (3) Ability to See the Big Picture (4) Is Not 'Over' Committed (5) Relationship Magician (6) Results Oriented (7) Huge Rolodex: Knows Most People and the Right People (8) Existing Mutual Respect with the CEO/Executive Director. Read on...
Business 2 Community:
8 Attributes Of An Outstanding Nonprofit Board Chairman
Author: Jay Love
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2015
According to the new research by Eduserv, 'Creating The Right Environment for Digital Transformation', most charities are aware of the importance of IT and digital transformation to improve the way they deliver services and engage with their volunteers. But there seems to be lack of clarity about how they will implement and accomplish this. Report observed three challenges that charity leaders are facing while driving digital transformation - (1) Strategy and Knowledge Gap: Many of those at the top of charities have yet to grasp that digital transformation is not about using technology or digital platforms to replicate existing activities but about fundamental transformation of the way charities go about doing their business. (2) Structure: Delivering on the needs of the digital-first charity requires different ways of organising and managing teams. Most charities are still relying on old structures and working relationships. IT and digital are failing to add value because they are seen as service providers and support functions rather than business partners. (3) Infrastructure: Charities are not only failing to put in place the right IT platforms but they are failing to invest in people with the right skills to support their digital future in their IT teams. To overcome these challenges, charities can do the following - (1) Embed digital capability at the top of organisation's leadership, so that digital is embedded at the heart of a charity's strategic thinking. (2) Build a digital-first culture throughout the charity. It is not realistic to expect digital and IT teams to drive change from the margins as support functions. Invest in IT and digital skills and tools. Read on...
Digital transformation - the pressing three priorities for charities
Authors: Chloe Green, John Simcock
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2015
To get a for-profit social enterprise started and make it self-sustaining requires different types of fundraising at different stages of the venture's growth. Lisa Curtis, founder of Kuli Kuli Foods, suggests the following stepwise process to effectively finance the enterprise - (1) Put the idea for an enterprise on paper and participate in business plan competitions to win prizes and also to learn, connect and promote it to increase the chances of future funding. (2) Join an accelerator program as it helps to build the necessary funding network or sometimes it provides funds directly. (3) After business plan competition and refining the idea through an accelerator program, get on with crowdfunding campaign. But before the launch of crowdfunding it is important to know exactly how much money is required and what the final product will look like. (4) Once the product is ready for the market, it becomes important to sustain the business without running out of money. At this stage acquiring a loan will be an important financial strategy. (5) Once the business starts to grow and idea has got 'proof-of-concept' from the market, the next step is to seek angel investors. One way is to do an accredited-only crowdfunding campaign. Moreover join an investor network, prepare a solid executive summary and keep on pitching to prospective investors. (6) Keep the focus on the main purpose of the social enterprise i.e. to make a positive impact on the world. This will provide the strength to carry on during the challenging times. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2015
According to the American Enterprise Institute, social enterprises 'differ from typical government programs in that they are a business, usually operated outside of government, with a concern for the bottom line. They are typically started by people who want to make a difference in society by helping others.' The new study by Mathematica Policy Research states that social enterprises might be one part of the answer to combating poverty in the United States. The research evaluated social enterprises in California and found these public/private businesses increased employment, decreased dependence on government and increased the likelihood individuals had stable housing. Read on...
Social Enterprises - A Solution to Employing the Hard-to-Employ?
Author: Nick Novak
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 apr 2015
The survey of 924 nonprofit board directors conducted by team of researchers (David F. Larcker, William F. Meehan III, Nicholas Donatiello, Brian Tayan) from Stanford Graduate School of Business supports a long-held hypothesis that many nonprofit boards are ineffective. The study revealed that a significant minority are unsure of their organization's mission and strategy, dissatisfied with their ability to evaluate their organization's performance, and uncertain whether their fellow board members have the experience to do their jobs well. According to Prof. Larcker, the lead researcher, 'Our research finds that too often board members lack the skill set, depth of knowledge, and engagement required to help their organizations succeed.' Researchers offer following recommendations to improve nonprofit board governance - (1) Ensure the mission is focused, and its skills and resources are well-aligned. (2) Ensure the mission is understood by the board, management, and key stakeholders. (3) Establish explicit goals and strategies tied to achieving that mission. (4) Develop rigorous performance metrics that reflect those goals. (5) Hold the executive director accountable for meeting the performance metrics, and evaluate his or her performance with an objective process. (6) Compose your board with individuals with skills, resources, diversity, and dedication to address the needs of the nonprofit. (7) Define explicitly the roles and responsibility of board members. (8) Establish well-defined board, committee, and ad hoc processes that reflect the nonprofit's needs and ensure optimal handling of key decisions. (9) Regularly review and assess each board member and the board's overall performance. Read on...
Stanford Research Offers Nine Tips to Improve Nonprofit Governance
Author: Heather Hansen
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 mar 2015
Non-profit organizations need to focus on their mission and objectives, and design and implement effective governance practices and align them with the interests of their main stakeholders. They should keep in mind the laws of the land and regulatory processes while pursuing their charitable goals. Non-profit organizations in the state of Pennsylania in US have the following main stakeholders - (1) Attorney General: Has responsibility for ensuring that nonprofit charitable corporations and their boards of directors operate in accordance with their nonprofit mandates. (2) Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Has the authority to grant tax-exempt status to charitable nonprofit corporations, has an interest in ensuring that charitable corporations are governed appropriately. (3) General Public: That contributes to and supports a nonprofit corporation's goals and objectives has economic and mission-related interests in the organization's affairs to ensure that their donations, contributions and support are used to further the organization's charitable purposes. Board of directors of non-profit organizations plays an important role in corporate governance and oversees its effective working. The directors have to carry out their duties in a responsible and conscientious manner. Two principal fiduciary duties of the director are - Duty of Care (Calls upon a director to actively participate in the decisions of the board and to appropriately review data relevant to such decisions); Duty of Loyalty (Requires that each director of a nonprofit corporation make decisions based on the best interests of the corporation and not based on any personal interests). To design an appropriate corporate structure, two tools can be of importance to guide and direct the board in the right direction - (1) Carefully Drafted Bylaws: They identify, shape and inform the corporation's governance structure. They provide a clear roadmap of the corporation's internal management structure while retaining flexibility to respond to operational and governance changes that may occur over time. (2) Judicious Adoption and Use of Corporate Policies and Procedures: Conflict of interest policy; Whistleblower policy; Document reduction and destruction policy. Read on...
The Legal Intelligencer:
Effective Corporate Governance in the Nonprofit Sector
Author: Noel A. Fleming
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 mar 2015
In US charitable giving was about US$ 335 billion in 2013. Recently released '2014 Charitable Giving Report' by Blackbaud covers a sample size of US$ 16 billion in US-based giving. The report shows 2.1% increase in philanthropic giving in 2014 (Total Growth in US economy was 2.4%). The main highlight of the study was the rise in digital-based giving, which increased a total of 8.9% from the previous year. This points towards the digital future of fundraising. Moreover there is clear indication of use of digital strategies by smaller non-profits due to its lower costs as compared to traditional methods of fundraising like postal mail, phone calls etc. Todd Cohen, founder of Philanthropy North Carolina, provides insights on the importance of peer-to-peer fundraising in the digital age. Read on...
Fundraising Insights for Smaller and Mid-sized Nonprofits - From a Blackbaud Report
Author: Steve Boland
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 mar 2015
One of the most challenging tasks for nonprofits is to attract donors and obtain funds for their operations from external sources. Lack of funds can bring great causes and social movements to a halt. To raise money needs specific talent and skills. According to Dan McGinley, director of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University in San Diego, 'A more effective technique to seek money is to approach a philanthropist the same way a salesman approaches a client... We're adopting the already proven practices of professional selling. The process includes building relationships and getting to know a person's interests, then showing that person how a particular product or nonprofit can meet those interests.' T. Denny Sanford, a successful businessman and philanthropist, advices to keep the process of asking for money simple and says, 'I want everyone to tell their story as if it is to their grandmothers and no more than a 10-story elevator ride. Short and sweet and easy to understand. Because (with) some of the technology people get too technical and talk way over everybody's head.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 02 mar 2015
Indian society is facing multiple challenges like high poverty rates, child labor, female foeticide, illiteracy, malnutrition etc. To overcome these issues, considering the substantial population size, requires mobilization of large amount of resources, social innovations, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment from government, private sector and civil society. Philanthropists, alongwith NGOs and local level community and grassroots organizations, are trying to tackle old problems in innovative ways. And there is still large untapped potential that is waiting to be harnessed to make required changes for the betterment of Indian society particularly in the rural and tribal areas. Santanu Mishra, co-founder and executive trustee of Smile Foundation, explains how an initiative by Rajasthan government 'Padharo Mahari Lado' to protect the girl child is bearing fruit due to the collaborative efforts of Department of Health, Barmer, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Cairns India Limited and Smile Foundation. According to him, 'When a social innovation is intended through collaboration, it is very necessary that it features a common agenda, unbroken communication, effective measurement systems, and the presence of a core organization.' Read on...
How Indian NGOs are marrying Philanthropy with Social Innovations?
Author: Santanu Mishra
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 feb 2015
According to National Council of Nonprofits, 'Nonprofit board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound governance and financial management policies, and ensuring adequate resources. The board of directors have three primary legal duties known as the "duty of care", "duty of loyalty", and "duty of obedience".' To make changes to various aspects of the organization and take decisive actions is a challenging task and requires experienced, capable and effective individuals to be members of the board. Professor Eugene Fram of Rochester Institute of Technology, defines three main groups of board members who are part of the decision making process - (1) Directors who want change (2) Directors opposed to change (3) 'Process Directors', individuals who are uncomfortable with major decisions and always want more data or information before voting. The third type of directors, although well-intentioned individuals, can sometime become obstacles in the board's decisiveness. According to Prof. Fram, 'The board has to be careful that these directors don't allow the board to continually examine one angle after another until they lose sight of the board's main job. They can keep action in limbo indefinitely!' Board chair have to optimize the board processes and don't let them go out of hand, as it may result in loss of talented volunteers. Read on...
How Can Nonprofit Boards Overcome the Inertia of Certain Directors?
Author: Eugene Fram
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2015
Nonprofit sector is an important contributor to economy and employs 10.7 million people (over 10% of the US workforce). According to the 2015 Nonprofit Employment Practices survey just released by Nonprofit HR, 50% of the 362 nonprofits it queried anticipate creating new positions in the coming year. Moreover the nonprofits are also avoiding layoffs, as only 7% are expected to do so in 2015. Lisa Brown Morton, President and CEO of Nonprofit HR, says 'The nonprofit sector is a huge, but often overlooked, economic powerhouse.' She provides important advice for those in search for nonprofit job - (1) Research groups that match your passions and values. (2) Get involved at a nonprofit to gain an edge over the competition. (3) Broaden your chances of getting hired by saying you're open to project work that's part-time or has an end date. (4) Don't assume you need to take a vow of poverty to work for a nonprofit. (5) Tweak your job-search tactics. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jan 2015
Last year India became the first country to pass CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) as a law that requires corporates (Net Worth of Rs 500 crore or more; or Turnover of Rs 1000 crore or more; or Net Profit of Rs 5 crore or more) to compulsorily spend 2% of their net profits on social development annually. Recently PM Narendra Modi made 'Make in India' concept as part of government's policy and program to encourage and boost local manufacturing industry and make it a global hub. There are steps that are expected to be taken by the government to promote skill development among the youth to fulfil this mission. According to National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) the growing skill gap in India is estimated to be more than 250 million workers across various sectors by 2022. NSDC is a public-private partnership (PPP) initiated for skill development. Corporates can support the skill development programs and projects as part of their CSR activities. This collaborative approach will be a win-win for government, businesses and public, as it develops skilled workforce for companies, jobs for the unemployed and thriving economy for the nation. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jan 2015
Nonprofits are always in need of support through funds, volunteers, materials etc. But if the nonprofit is a small one than the required help is even more. Jacqueline Wilson, founder of PrimeParentsClub.com, provides her opinion on why smaller nonprofits should be the focus of support of individuals and families - (1) Small nonprofits have little or no staff at all. (2) Salaries are super small (or non-existent) at smaller nonprofits. (3) Smaller nonprofits would go out of work without your help. (4) Small nonprofits rely on the kindness of strangers, i.e. anyone who can pitch in for support. (5) Smaller nonprofits aren't on the radar of big company donations. (6) Smaller nonprofits have even smaller marketing budgets. Read on...
6 Reasons Small Non-Profits Need Your Family's Help More Than the Bigger Non-Profits
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
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