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Nine Creative Leadership Positions Every Nonprofit Needs | Forbes, 24 aug 2022
How to solve nonprofit organisations’ ‘work-for-free’ dilemma? | GlobalVoices, 24 aug 2022
We Make Good: A social enterprise in the business of doing good | RTE, 24 aug 2022
Charity staff paid 7 per cent less than other sectors, research finds | Third Sector, 22 aug 2022
Growing interest in social entrepreneurship seen in Qatar: Officials | The Peninsula Qatar, 22 aug 2022
Evolving Trust-Based Philanthropy for Racial Justice | Stanford Social Innovation Review, 16 aug 2022
The economy is changing–and so is philanthropy | Fortune, 12 aug 2022
Gen Z Customers Want More. This 3-Step Strategy Will Help Your Company Give It to Them. | Entrepreneur, 12 aug 2022
The health benefits of volunteering: Doing good is good for you! | Providence, 11 aug 2022
Charities that don't embrace common financial norms tend to outperform their peers | The Conversation, 03 aug 2022
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 sep 2022
Technology startups have different sets of thought and work processes that differentiate them from the ways of traditional corporations. They often work with tight budgets and keep a high focus on fulfilling customer needs. They work with an out-of-the-box solution approach. Many times nonprofits work in the same environment and face similar challenges. 15 Forbes Nonprofit Council members suggest ways through which nonprofits can adopt 'tech startup mentality' to better serve their communities - (1) Dominic Kalms, B Generous: Have an agile mindset. (2) Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc.: Do your due diligence. (3) Gloria Horsley, Open to Hope: Assess the user experience. (4) Jennifer Hill, Refugee Protection International: Be ready to wear multiple hats. (5) Christopher Dipnarine, 4MyCiTy Inc: Create a flexible work environment. (6) Deidre Lind, Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles: Prioritize your staff's needs. (7) Sepideh Nasiri, Women Of MENA In Technology: Pay your staff well. (8) Jono Anzalone, The Climate Initiative: Embrace failure. (9) Pablo Listingart, ComIT: Understand how society is being impacted. (10) Jennifer Thompson, National Association of Social Workers New Jersey/Delaware: Take risks. (11) Albert L. Reyes, Buckner International: Lean on your team's rookiness. (12) Victoria Burkhart, The More Than Giving Company: Make technological investments after careful thought. (13) Jesse Bethke Gomez, Metropolitan Center for Independent Living: Commit to lifelong learning. (14) Betsy Chapin Taylor, FAHP, Accordant: Let go of past traditions. (15) Jose Luis Castro, Vital Strategies: Be adaptable. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2022
According to Rajesh Verma, Secretary in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (Govt. of India), 'Indian companies have spent more than ₹1 trillion in CSR since the framework for corporate spending on community came into force in 2014-15. Investments in ESG (Environment, Sustainability and Governance) will play a key role in not only meeting the US$ 5 trillion economy goal, but also sustainable development goals (SDG) by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2070.' He suggests that for the survival and betterment of the world, and to overcome present and future challenges - like COVID-19, climate change, resource scarcity, inequality etc - needs people to be responsible, accountable and considerate towards each other. In these challenging scenarios large corporations have special role to play that they can perform through CSR and similar responsible activities. Many Indian companies are even spending more than they are required to under the CSR law. To encourage spending the law allows credit for the excess spending in a year which can be set off against future spending obligations. Green finance is a growing field. According to RBI bulletin of October 2021, global issuance of the green bong had surpassed US$ 250 billion in 2019 and among the list of emerging economies, India is secong to China in the cumulative emerging market green bond issuance. Read on...
India Inc spent ₹1 trillion on CSR over seven years
Author: Gireesh Chandra Prasad
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jul 2022
Nonprofit governance is a challenging issue and typical measures like reducing boards size, identifying best practices etc arent' able to assure better quality governance. According to 2021 'Leading with Intent: BoardSource Index of Nonprofit Board Practices' survey, board performance receives average marks for key responsibilities. Researchers from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, Prof. Paul Jansen and MBA student Helen Hatch, conducted a research for Center for Social Sector Leadership and explored the new idea of having a dedicated Chief Governance Officer (CGO) who is a board memeber. They interviewed 30 experienced nonprofit directors representing over 100 nonprofit boards and found that CGO could catalyze improved board performance. Researchers summarize here the common sources of inconsistent governance quality and outlines the expected benefits of appointing one director as a CGO. EIGHT SOURCES OF INCONSISTENT GOVERNANCE: (1) Nonprofit directors often lack a shared understanding of what good governance means. (2) Nonprofit boards do not always have the right voices in the boardroom. (3) Pressure to help organizations meet annual fundraising targets shifts attention away from governance. (4) Boards fail to regularly assess governance performance and develop improvement plans. (5) Poor governance processes push boards to underinvest in critical issues and governance activities. (6) A low-accountability board culture leads to inconsistent effort by individual directors. (7) Confusion between the board’s role and that of management. (8) Governance has gotten tougher (Challenges - Financial complexity; Technology; Sociocultural shifts; Increased public scrutiny; Evolving legal duties). DEFINING THE CGO ROLE: (1) Ensure compliance with legal and social expectations. (2) Champion the adoption of proven governance practices that enable the board to help the organization fulfill its mission effectively and efficiently. Anne Wallestad, CEO of BoardSource, in her 2021 SSIR article 'The Four Principles of Purpose-Driven Board Leadership', defines 'Purpose-Driven Board Leadership', a mindset characterized by four fundamental principles, mutually reinforcing and interdependent, that define the way that the board sees itself and its work: (1) Purpose before organization. (2) Respect for ecosystem. (3) Equity mindset. (4) Authorized voice and power. The CGO should play a hands-on role in four activities: (1) Leading a bi-annual review of governance effectiveness and monitoring initiatives to improve board performance. (2) Driving new director governance training and shaping supplemental training and education over time. (3) Monitoring external governance-related developments pertaining to the law, regulations, and social expectations on behalf of the board. (4) Engaging with the CEO on how staff can best support high quality governance. The best suited candidate for CGO role should have a certain set of skills that should include - an independent, objective, organization-first mindset and willingness to ask hard, sometimes uncomfortable questions is essential to this role; legal skills; communication and persuasion skills; trained in board governance. Organizations should find their own way of implementing the CGO role. Some suggestions are - Recruit the skill set; Make CGO an officer of the board; Have the CGO report to the board; Sponsor the CGO to receive governance training and certification; Support the CGO's membership in good governance forums; Arrange for access to outside counsel; Consider adopting the role on a temporary basis. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jun 2022
Social entrepreneurship provides opportunity to do business along with social good. There are some qualities that are inherent to being a social entrepreneur - (1) Think Outside Of The Box: Creativity and teamwork to find solutions to complex social problem. (2) Build A Leadership Tribe: Nurturing leadership and continuously learning, growing and adapting to evolving social issues. (3) Use Your Personality: Good temperament and relatable personality is essential for success as social entrepreneur. (4) Fight Through The Tough Times: Persistence and winning temperament will help overcome hurdles and pushbacks. Diplomatic approach with excellent communication can help lead and convince both those support and oppose. (5) Keep That Passion: Internal spark and continuous passion is necessary to reach the goals. Prioritize passion for selective tasks can help channelize energy in the right direction for sustained success. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2022
According to the research paper, 'Leveraging Creativity in Charity Marketing: The Impact of Engaging in Creative Activities on Subsequent Donation Behavior' (Authors: Ravi Mehta of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lidan Xu of the University of North Texas, Darren W. Dahl of the University of British Columbia), published in Journal of Marketing, 'engaging potential donors in creative activities can positively influence their propensity to donate money to a charitable cause.' Prof. Ravi Mehta says, 'Participating in creative activities such as drawing or cookie decoration in support of a charitable cause induces a sense of autonomy in participants, which leads to a positive affective state, resulting in 'enhanced donation behaviors' - that is, a greater likelihood of donating to the cause and a greater monetary amount donated.' Prof. Mehta further explains, 'Charities are constantly looking for new and more effective ways to engage potential donors in order to secure the resources needed to deliver their services. This paper demonstrates that creative activities are one way for marketers to meet this challenge. We think that this research will have substantive implications for understanding how creativity can affect subsequent behavior, and how marketers and advertisers can incorporate creative activities into fundraising efforts, charity events and social media campaigns as a viable fundraising strategy.' Read on...
Illinois News Bureau:
Paper: Engaging donors in creative acts can boost charitable fundraising
Author: Phil Ciciora
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2022
Nonprofits, with their limited budgets, have to implement human resource management strategies with great care, more effectively and efficiently. Nonprofits generally hire only essential full-time employees and are more dependent on short-term temporary workers and volunteers. To seamlessly manage diverse set of human resources for maximum output would require HR technology tools. Moreover, nonprofits on a growth trajectory would need a well thought out long-term planning and ulilization of HR technology. This would require analyzing what technologies are used currently and what new technologies are needed. Engaging staff is necessary to evaluate benefits of implementing a new HR system. There are six ways nonprofit can utilize HR technologies for a long-term - (1) Reduce manual workload: Integrated HR software would reduce time spend in compiling and aggregating separate spreadsheets for various purposes. It helps to easily import and export data for reporting. (2) Prevent manual errors: Managing different set of employees (full-time, contract, short-term, volunteers etc) may lead to manual errors in onboarding, payroll, benefits and compensation. HR systems prevent manual errors as they automate calculations. (3) Track your budget in real-time: This helps in anticipating and managing funds for nonprofit's growth and explansion. Guarantor requests, compliance and audit needs are also managed well with budget tracking. (4) Provide important data for grantors' reporting: Well managed payroll reporting helps to provide grantors essential data to release grants that fund employee salaries in a nonprofit. (5) Reduce audit errors: HR technology can identify payroll budget variances or duplicate employee records and helps in preventing fraud, and also ensures cleaner audits in long-term. (6) Improve employee access to benefits, payroll and information: Nonprofits, just like other organizations, need to attract and retain talent for growth and success. HR technology can assist in providing information regarding benefits, compensation and W2 tax form, whenever and wherever they need it. Read on...
Employee Benefit News:
How nonprofits can leverage the benefits of HR technology
Author: Neil Taurins
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 mar 2022
India's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) law, Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013, makes it mandatory for companies to spend 2% of their average net profit made during last three financial years on CSR activities in the current financial year. The companies that come under this law include - (i) Net worth of Rs. 500 crore or more. (ii) Turnover of Rs. 1000 crore or more (iii) Net profit of Rs. 5 crore or more. Some of the areas where these funds can be applied are poverty and hunger eradication, education, healthcare, rural development, women empowerment and environmental sustainability. To incorporate CSR in such a way is quite unique when compared to CSR as practiced around the world. Adhip Ray, founder of WinSavvy.com, explains the benefits of CSR as applied in India and how other countries and businesses operating there can apply this model for greater good to the society. India's CSR law provides for forming a CSR committee that should be created and enforced by three board directors, giving it more powerful role. The CSR policy should be elaborate, money spent should be audited, details of activity to be provided on annual report and also on company website. Indian companies are taking the law seriously and competing with each other to better spend CSR funds. This helps companies to enhance their value in communities they operate and provides them with great branding opportunity. India's dedicated approach to CSR can be internationalized. Mr. Ray suggests the following basic principles that companies must adhere to for effective CSR - (1) Get the highest management on board. (2) Create OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for enforcing your policy. (3) Fix accountability on the top management. Read on...
Why the Business World Should Use India as a Model for Corporate Social Responsibility
Author: Adhip Ray
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 feb 2022
Social entrepreneurship can fill the gap in India's healthcare infrastructure and delivery through the combination of innovation and the spirit to do social good. Maanoj Shah, co-founder of Mission ICU, provides how social enterprises can be boon to India's healthcare infrastructure, particularly in the underserved rural and remote areas, and bring positive change through entrepreneurial spirit and the commitment to serve the community. Pandemic induced crisis highlighted the importance of social and community based efforts in healthcare system. The need is to consolidate these scattered and individual efforts through developing social enterprises. Mr. Shah suggests following ways in which social entrepreneurship could uplift India's healthcare infrastructure - (1) Devise solutions based on detailed research: Use of technology and digital solutions at the grassroots level; Conducting thorough studies to find out gaps in healthcare delivery to rural communities; Create awareness regarding hygiene and health. (2) A focus on long-term, sustainable impact on healthcare infrastructure: Social enterprises with their commitment to service to society can bring long-term sustainable impact by channeling capital and resources where healthcare facililities are scarce; Committed healthcare personnel can be deployed in rural areas and make healthcare accessible and affordable. (3) Collaborations with local partners: Working with local social service organizations and communities is essential for successful implementation of healthcare projects; By this collaboration it will be easier for social entrepreneurs to identify and understand local needs and find opportunities and create tailored solutions; Partnerships are a necessity where the resources are scarce and help efficiently utilized them for better outcomes. (4) Bridge administrative gaps to complement the public health system: Government schemes can only be successful when implemented effectively and efficiently and that's where social enterprises can contribute significantly; Social enterprises with innovative and creative focus can bridge the implementation gap and work to strengthen public healthcare system. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 jan 2022
COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges to the already struggling India's overall education delivery system. The school closures had not only affected the learning process but has led many students to drop out completely citing diverse reasons. Sudden transition from in-school learning to online learning took many by surprise - both teachers and students. This has been the case particularly with government-run and low budget private schools in small towns and rural areas, and students belonging to low socio-economic status (SES) households. Children had been deprived of mid-day meals that they use to get in schools, leading to a further challenge of malnutrition. Even though India has been undergoing digital transformation and evolving as a digital society, but the pandemic disrupted the gradual process. Many students, as well as a large number of teachers, found adapting to the technology-enabled learning difficult to handle efficiently and the process lacked effective learning outcomes. According to the School Children's Online and Offline Learning (SCHOOL) survey overseen by economists such as Jean Dreze, Reetika Khera etc, 77% of families in urban areas and 51% in villages have access to smartphones, a healthy number. But, only 31% of children in cities and 15% in villages are able to make use of smartphones for academic purposes. This shows how challenging it had been for children to use phones as an educational device. The Ministry of Education (Govt. of India) reported to the Parliamentary Committee of Women's Empowerment that about 320 million children got affected due to school closures and out of this 49.37% were girls. The Ministry of Education told the panel, 'Post pandemic, this can lead to a higher risk of girls permanently dropping out of school and reversing the gains made over recent years. One cannot also ignore the fact that there is a gender dimension in digital access to learning. In families which possess a single smartphone, it is likely that sons will be given the preference to access online classes, followed by girls, if time permits.' According to the report 'State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery' prepared by World Bank in cooperation with UNESCO and UNICEF (The Indian Express, 13 dec 2021), Jaime Saavedra, World Bank Global Director for Education, says, 'The COVID-19 crisis brought education systems across the world to a halt. Now, 21 months later, schools remain closed for millions of children, and others may never return to school. The loss of learning that many children are experiencing is morally unacceptable. And the potential increase of learning poverty might have a devastating impact on future productivity, earnings, and wellbeing for this generation of children and youth, their families and the world's economies.' The challenges remain as new variants of the COVID-19 like Delta and Omicron keep arising and pushing governments to implement measures like curfews, lock-downs, school closures etc. So, the online education will continue to remain the mode of learning in these times. Governments, nonprofits, technology companies, etc have to make sure that the process is able to provide optimal outcomes as it is a question of the country's and the world's future. Read on...
The Siasat Daily:
The chaos of online education in India's pandemic times
Author: Manogna Chandrika Matta
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2021
Many nonprofits had been ray of hope for people during the COVID-19. But as the sad saga continues, it keeps on bringing more challenges to the sector. On one side of the spectrum are health and welfare related organizations with high demand for their services and subsequently getting funding attention from donors but on the other side are art and culture nonprofits that had been hardly hit and continue to struggle. But overall, getting sufficient funding to fulfil the required demand is not an easy task for all nonprofits during tough times like these. Kenneth Cerini, Managing Partner at Cerini & Associates LLP, provides innovative suggestions to get ahead in the virtual funding game in COVID times - (1) Monitor messaging in funding campaigns and adapt to changing scenarios. (2) Do targeted campaigning and select audience and design campaings accordingly. (3) Videos are a great tool to reach out to audience effectively. (4) Focus on retention and convince those who gave once to give again with pursuasive messaging of how their earlier contributions were utilized. (5) Personalize and customize the communication to the donors. (6) Continue to diversify revenue streams as the pandemic changes the standard funding processes. (7) Learn from the experience gained from the challenges of the last couple of years and, elevate and improve on what worked. Read on...
Long Island Press:
OpEd: Nonprofits Must Use Innovative Fundraising Methods in Covid Times
Author: Kenneth Cerini
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2021
Online education has been part of education strategy for many institutions and organizations even before COVID-19. According to National Center for Education Statistics (US Department of Education) website (nces.ed.gov), more than 30% of all students enrolled at postsecondary institutions took at least one online course in the fall 2016 term. Moreover, online education advocates suggest that departments offering online courses can support their students through the ease of access to coursework. But, 2013 research study 'The impact of online learning on students' course outcomes: Evidence from a large community and technical college system' by Di Xu of Columbia University and Shanna Smith Jaggars of Columbia University, indicates that students perform slightly worse and have lower course retention within online learning compared to traditional face-to-face classes. Recent study published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis titled 'Increasing Success in Higher Education: The Relationships of Online Course Taking With College Completion and Time-to-Degree' (Authors: Christian Fischer of The University of Tübingen in Germany, Rachel Baker of University of California at Irvine, Qiujie Li University of California at Irvine, Gabe Avakian Orona University of California at Irvine, Mark Warschauer University of California at Irvine), examines how online courses relate to students’ four- and six-year graduation rates, as well as time-to-degree-completion for students who graduate college within six years. According to the findings of the study, 'Online course-taking is associated with more efficient college graduation. Students who are given the opportunity to take classes online graduate more quickly compared to students in departments that offer fewer online courses. We also find that online course-taking is associated with a higher likelihood of successfully graduating college within four years. Importantly, our findings seem robust for students who are generally considered at-risk in college environments.' Even though Online education may not be as effective as face-to-face education but the study suggests that there are other benefits that help in overall long-term educational success of students. Keeping online education portfolio, even after the pandemic, is a valuable proposition for educational institutions. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2021
India's changing socio-economic scenario is urging corporates, entrepreneurs and individuals to focus on solving social problems and creating a positive social impact in lives of those who are at the bottom of the pyramid, a concept that was first propagated by C. K. Prahalad and Stuart L. Hart in their article 'The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid' (Strategy+Business, 2002). It proposed that companies should innovate and also focus on the needs of those at the bottom of the pyramid. By doing so they will not only expand their markets but will also serve the marginalized communites and uplift their socio-economic conditions. According to the article 'Budget 2014: Tapping the aspirational class of India' (Shuchi Bansal; Mint, 11 Jul 2014), while presenting the budget in 2014 Late Mr. Arun Jaitley, the then Finance Minister, referred to aspirational Indians and what he called the 'neo middle class'. He said, 'India unhesitatingly desires to grow...those who have got an opportunity to emerge from the difficult challenges have become aspirational. They now want to be part of the neo middle class.' In the same article, a research study by Quantum Consumer Consulting, finds that 34% of these strata are aged between 10 and 25 years and aspires for a better life. Ravi Narayan, CEO at T-Hub, explains how this aspirational class can be an opportunity for social entrepreneurs to focus on and make a real difference in the innovation ecosystem. He says, 'It is about time social changemakers start tapping into India's aspirational class, who are tomorrow's neo-middle class. Understanding this under-served stratum is key to unlocking the potential of the Indian economy.' He provides examples of organizations from India's impact ecosystem that are making a difference. According to Mr. Narayan, 'India's strong digital infrastructure has been a gamechanger for those who want to leverage the power of technology to create a social impact on a larger scale. The growing smartphone penetration and high-speed internet connectivity in rural areas have empowered social entrepreneurs and innovators to create new models for change to accelerate social impact.' EdTech, AgriTech, healthcare and microcredit finance are critical areas where social entrepreneurs and incubators are offering inclusive and sustainable solutions to ensure the upward mobility of the marginalized class. Mentioning the best practices in social innovation in India's context, Mr. Narayan says, 'Speaking from experience, I am convinced that social innovation in the Indian context is not clearly defined by an evidence-based approach. Perhaps therein lies one of its bigger challenges. Social entrepreneurs working to create an impact on the scale have to contend with operational challenges, such as a lack of market access, besides inadequate investor connect and mentoring opportunities. Also, technologically and in terms of scale, it is difficult to solve problems in this sector as the risk factor is high for social entrepreneurs. Besides, the educated class with its worldview isn't contributing enough to the growth of this sector. Such pain points highlight the need for open innovation to solve India's most complex social problems.' He also says that maximizing inclusion is key and this cannot be attained by merely leveraging technology. There has to be a larger objective of creating a holistic inclusive social impact ecosystem. A fragmented innovation ecosystem cannot thrive in the absence of a comprehensive social innovation policy. He concludes, 'I believe that social innovators - be it individuals, social incubators, governments, corporates, academia, or startups - who put people first will help create new and exciting markets and facilitate a synergistic innovation ecosystem.' Read on...
How to Address the Yawning Gap in India's Social Impact Sector
Author: Ravi Narayan
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 sep 2021
With changing donor behaviors and perceptions, nonprofits should modify their fundraising strategies to stay successful and impactful in the communities they serve. Annual galas, glossy annual reports, generic charity requests etc have been norms in charity fundraising. But, according to a new report, 'Transforming Partnerships With Major Donors' by the Leadership Story Lab, wealthy donors are now seeking new relationships and expecting innovative fundraising approaches from nonprofit organizations before donating. The report found that donors seek more personalized and customized pitches from nonprofits. Moreover, the report found that many self-made givers avoid public recognition of their donations and are more focused on making an impact and solving social problems that are close to their heart. Joe Pulizzi, a marketing and communications entrepreneur in Cleveland, got disillusioned with traditional ways of nonprofit fundraising and after joining the board of one nonprofit he found that much of the donated money was going to pay debt and covering significant overhead. This prompted him to start his own nonprofit and focus more on spending money where it is needed the most - in solving the social problem that nonprofit was set out for. Esther Choy, the president of the Leadership Story Lab and author of the report, said that gift officers didn't always know the potential donor's story and, instead of asking specific questions, led with a pitch about the greatness of their organization. Ms. Choy says, 'Sometimes everything feels too polished. If they can make their solicitation as human as possible, it would work better. It shouldn't be about putting someone on a pedestal.' Michael Wagner, co-founder of Omnia Family Wealth, says, 'People are really looking for something more than a transaction. It's about building a partnership based on a relationship. People used to be OK with just giving the money and being done with it, but that isn't the case anymore.' Mr. Pulizzi says, 'Many nonprofits have a kind of salesmanship that needs to go away. If the nonprofit is calling on someone with means, I think they need to form a better communication strategy so it's not a commercial. They need get to know that person and invest some time.' Many donors want a more educational approach to fundraising from nonprofits then just plain marketing. Tyson Voelkel, the president and chief executive of the Texas A&M Foundation, says, 'The more trust we can earn, the more money donors will give...We have to convince them that we're the best place to put their philanthropic dollars.' Read on...
The New York Times:
Raising Money for a Nonprofit? Try a Personalized Approach
Author: Paul Sullivan
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2021
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming an essential tool for businesses to not only participate in a greater good but also differentiate themselves in a highly competitive business environment. Businesses can utilize CSR as a source of competitive advantage by strategically applying CSR in the communities they work. Companies with serious CSR planning and implementation signify that they operate in ethical and sustainable way and care for the environment and are sincere about their social impacts. Particularly for companies that work in developing world with poverty related challenges, CSR is a great tool to demonstrate that they care and contribute for a better world. Here are few points that represent the value of CSR for businesses in today's world - (1) Creates Greater Job Satisfaction: As per the study published in HBR in 2018, 9 out of 10 workers are willing to earn less income to do more meaningful work. Companies with strong CSR culture can increase employee satisfaction and can attract better employees. (2) Encourages Customer Loyalty: Customers are now more interested in how the companies operate with respect to society and environment. When customers find out about CSR aspects of a company they trust it more and would buy products from them. Millenials as customers are more inclined towards such aspects of companies before they buy products from them. (3) Makes Businesses More Sustainable: When companies apply more sustainable practices then their models become more sustainable too and they will reap the benefits in the long run. Read on...
South Coast Herald:
Why Corporate Social Responsibility is Essential for Businesses
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2021
According to the report, 'Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment: Does Volunteering Increase Odds of Finding a Job for the Out of Work?' (Authors: Christopher Spera, Robin Ghertner, Anthony Nerino, Adrienne DiTommaso) by Corporation for National and Community Service (CSNA, USA), there is a statistically significant and stable association between volunteering and employment and irrespective of economic conditions volunteering may add an advantage to the out of work seeking employment. The study found that volunteering is associated with a 27% higher odds of employment. Moreover, more than 77 million Americans volunteer a total of 6.9 billion hours a year doing everything from fighting fires to raising funds for cancer research. These efforts help others and support communities, and also benefit the volunteers themselves. Prof. Jennifer Amanda Jones, scholar of Nonprofit Management and Leadership at University of Florida, suggests four ways in which volunteering benefits volunteers - (1) Boosting your health, especially if you assist others: According to a long-term study, researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that volunteering was linked to psychological well-being, and the volunteers themselves said it was good for their own health. Researchers have suggested public health officials educate the public to consider volunteering as part of a healthy lifestyle. A team of social scientists combed through data collected in Texas and they found that people who volunteered in ways that benefited others tended to get a bigger physical health boost than volunteers who were pitching in for their own sake. (2) Making more connections: Volunteering done on a regular basis provides volunteers to develop strong networks and relationship as compared to those who do episodic volunteering. In making connections through volunteering consistency is important. (3) Preparing for career moves: Volunteering helps to gain and strengthen variety of skills and develop professional networks. This actually can provide opportunites to get paid jobs and advance careers. Volunteering adds to resume and when done in the field related to volunteer's professional qualification and prior experience will help build careers. (4) Reducing some risks associated with aging: According to various studies, older people who engage in mentally stimulating leisure activities on a regular basis may have better memory and executive function than those who don't. Volunteering can be considered as a highly stimulating leisure activity. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2021
COVID-19 has brought about a massive online education transformation in India. There are many challenges that the traditional education system already faces and with the advent of the new tech-enabled education at such a large scale the challenges have multiplied. Dr. K. Kasturirangan, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Orgnisation (ISRO) and chairman of the committee that drafted the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP), voiced out his concerns while speaking at the 'Development Dialogue', a virtual interaction hosted by the International Centre Goa. He said, 'This is the beginning of online learning. Certainly, there is a digital divide. Whether it is internet connectivity, internet-enabled devices or a quiet study environment, these are all grossly underestimated in their complexity to be integrated into an Indian educational system. Quite a lot of research is going on but to have a system that can be adopted in an operational, scalable and affordable sense, I think we still have to wait.' He also emphasized the need for children to learn regional languages as recommened in the new NEP. He also talked about the importance of learning foreign language, particularly English, and mentioned that the new education policy will provide more opportunities to learn foreign languages. Read on...
The Indian Express:
'Digital divide in online education does exist, research on to find operational solution'
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2021
COVID-19's recent second wave in India has brought about a healthcare crisis that has never been seen before. The situation is so difficult that it requires all the possible efforts by government, private sector, social organizations, individuals etc and even then they generally fall short considering the large population size, infrastructural deficiencies and systemic inefficiencies. But in this grim scenario the spirit of social entrepreneurship is trying to bring a ray of hope and their contribution is making life of many, particularly vulnerable communities, a little easier in these hard times. Social entrepreneurs have been effective due to their on-the-ground presence and their ability to act as first responders in support of vulnerable communities. Following are the six social enterprises from the Schwab Foundation's community of social innovators that are working to save lives during current COVID-19 crisis in India - (1) Goonj NGO (Providing resources to the most vulnerable): Distributed more than 8800 tons of rations and other essential items, provided more than 362000 meals, sourced 225000 kgs of vegetables from farmers, reached out to more than 380000 families (about 1.5 million people) and produced more than 800000 face masks and more than 1200000 cloth sanitary pads. (2) SEWA - Self-Employed Women's Association (Helping women in the informal economy): Provides support to self-employed women and on behalf of its 1.7 million women workers in 18 states of India, urged the government to declare income support to all the families of the informal economy workers to tide over this crisis, issue a circular to all the states to declare a compensatory package of Rs 5000 per month to all registered workers, provide a free public distribution system for ration supply as long as the crisis lasts, and offer six months amortization on repayment of all loans.(3) Aajeevika Bureau (Providing resources to migrants): Provided relief to stranded migrant workers, daily wagers and their households to see them through this period of distress. Relief included emergency food distribution, cash transfers, health care and help to workers in distress. They also provided travel assistance to migrants attempting to return home and also facilitated the transition of those who returned to their villages. (4) Glocal Healthcare (Providing healthcare to people in remote areas): Recently launched a free telemedicine consultation for COVID-19 screenings. This can be accessed both from phone line as well as from websites and apps. The goal is to prevent panic; ensure correct screening, triage and treatment before conditions become too serious; and prevent the health infrastructure from collapsing. (5) Jan Sahas (Supporting migrant families, survivors of sexual violence and frontline workers): Within 100 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, Jan Sahas drew support from more than 30 philanthropic and private sector donors (resulted in more than US$ 2 million) and worked with 42 nonprofits across 19 states in India to address the needs of more than 1040000 migrant families, 1237 survivors of sexual violence, 12480 frontline health workers and state actors through immediate relief support. (6) Mann Deshi (Providing women with access to finance): During COVID-19 it had been working non-stop to provide relief - including providing food packages, masks and PPE kits. It also partnered with a district government to build a 300-bed COVID-19 hospital by refurbishing an old unused rural hospital and turning it into a free dedicated COVID-19 hospital. It is also working with the district administration 24/7 to provide oxygen beds, ventilators, Remdisvir and Tocilizumab to critical stage patients. Read on...
World Economic Forum:
6 ways social entrepreneurs are saving lives during India's COVID-19 crisis
Author: Pavitra Raja
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2021
Social entrepreneurs are impacting the world by doing good in various fields. Here is the list of 40 social entrepreneurs that stood out and are to be followed in 2021 - (1) Ruben Harris (Founder of Career Karma): Career Karma is a member of Y Combinator's 2019 class and since then has been helping people that want to become software engineers by matching them with the right coding bootcamp and supporting them throughout their careers. (2) Robert Luo (Founder of Mi Terro): Mi Terro is a biotechnology company that reengineers leftover milk into sustainable fibers that can replace plastic in the fashion, medical and packaging industries. (3) Tiila Abbitt (Founder of Aether Beauty): Aether Beauty is a cosmetics and beauty products company with focus on clean organic cosmetics and sustainable packaging promoting zero waste concept. (4) Bonnie Gringer (Founder of Sharethelovely): Sharethelovely is reimagining wedding shopping through a multi-sided resale marketplace providing consumers and the bridal industry sustainable products and services for fairytale weddings at a fraction of the cost. Through an online concierge resale model with an offline 'try-before-you-buy” shopping option, it is bridging the online and offline shopping experience critical to brides. (5) Topaz Smith (Founder of EN-NOBLE): EN-NOBLE, by using an international network of independent travel suppliers, offers customers the opportunity to experience local cultures, safe in the knowledge that their money is also strengthening those communities: the company pledges 1% of its revenue will be be reinvested with local partners. (6) Quinn Fitzgerald and Sara Dickhaus de Zarraga (Founders of Flare): Flare makes beautifully designed, modern safety jewelry that empowers wearers to get out of uncomfortable situations at the push of a button. Each piece of jewelry has a hidden button that triggers text messages and GPS tracking to friends, a pre-recorded call to your phone, or even connecting with the police. (7) Brendan Brazier and Mark McTavish (Founders of Pulp Culture): Pulp Culture is a healthy alcohol brand that blends alcoholic beverages that use 100% raw, fresh juices that naturally ferment over three months. Called 'wild fermentation', the result is a zero-additive, zero-sugar, bone-dry beverage with 6 billion naturally-occurring probiotics, B vitamins, and 4.9% ABV. (8) Dinesh Tadpalli (Founder of incrEDIBLE): incrEDIBLE is the first company to mass-produce edible cutlery and help alleviate waste from 100 million plastic utensils used every day in America. (9) Alexandre Koiransky (Founder of FAIR): FAIR is a spirit brand on a mission to support farmers in developing economies for the last decade. When you buy Fairtrade certified spirits, it makes sure that workers who grow the crops are paid a fair price. Fairtrade standards promote direct and meaningful impact within key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) areas. (10) Shireen Jaffer (Founder of Edvo): Edvo is a venture-backed startup in Los Angeles that empowers people with the tools to think better and live better. It provide the tools for a life full of meaningful learning, critical thinking, and better results. (11) Maya Mutalik (Founder of Hope Sews): Hope Sews is an impact-driven fashion brand that creates contemporary clothing made from artisanal fabrics from around the world and provides women entrepreneurs in developing communities with the resources they need to grow their businesses. (12) Garik Himebaugh (Eco-Stylist): Eco-Stylist is an online marketplace for eco-conscious and ethically made men's clothing. Everything at Eco-Stylist is eco-friendly, socially responsible, and ethically sourced. At Eco-Stylist all ethical and sustainable brands are first researched with Remake’s sustainable brand criteria. (13) Laura Alexander and Liza Moiseeva (Founder of Brightly): The Brightly platform focuses on brand + product recommendations, actionable + research content, and authentic community connections to empower people to make a difference for the planet. (14) Abdullah Choudhry (Co-founder of Arbor): Arbor is a platform that brings conscious information to consumers at the forefront of purchasing. Arbor helps users patronize companies that align with their values. (15) David Simnick and Daniel Doll (Founders of Soapbox): Soapbox is a company whose mission is to empower customers with the ability to change the world through everyday, quality purchases. For every product sold, the company gives back through bar soaps, health, and hygiene initiatives in communities both domestically and around the globe. (16) Julia Pennington and Allison Lange (Founder of Hera The Dog Vodka): Hera The Dog Vodka is crafted from 100% organic wheat non-GMO distilled 7 times slow-filtered using gravity through walnut husk carbon distilled. The founders have devised a more sustainable way to raise funds for animals in need and to help these driven, boots on the ground rescue organizations. When they formed the benefit corporation, Animal Spirits, they also created the Animal Spirits Foundation as a separate non-profit entity. A percentage of the funds raised through the sale of Animal Spirits’ products will be donated to the Animal Spirits Foundation to help support rescue groups, sanctuaries and individuals needing help with their four-legged family member through financial grants. (17) Spencer Arnold and Tim Hollinger (Founders of Bathing Culture): Bathing Culture is designed for the adventurous, the design-driven, and the sustainably-minded. Featuring everything that bathing ritual needs, the collection is highlighted by its hero product, the Mind and Body Wash - an organic, biodegradable, all-purpose and concentrated soap. They use plastic bottles made from 100% pre-existing recycled material. (18) Adila Coker (Founder of The Good Tee & Source My Garment): 'Source My Garment' is an essential book written on how to responsibly offshore manufacturing. The Good Tee's mission is to make it easier for any size brand to sell responsibly made products. The Good Tee is a collection of sustainable basics which are a blank canvas for brands to print on. The Good Tee champions responsible manufacturing - slower production schedules, ethical working conditions, and fair deals for all. It has a Fairtrade certification. (19) Kathy Hannun (Co-founder of Dandelion Energy): Dandelion Energy is the largest residential geothermal company in the US. Dandelion transitions homeowners from fossil-fueled to geothermal heating and cooling using their custom geothermal drilling suite and Dandelion Air heat pump. (20) Paul Shapiro (Founder of Better Meat Co.): The Better Meat Co. is creating the future of food sustainability through technology and cellular agriculture. He is the author of the national bestseller 'Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World'. (21) Dr. Lydiah Kemunto Bosire (Founder of 8B Education Investments): 8B Education Investments is a fin-tech company that aims to facilitate affordable financing to African students in leading global universities. (22) Jonny Crowder (Founder of Cope Notes): Cope Notes sends daily mental health support via text message to the subscriber in order to help train their brain to combat negativity, stress, anxiety, anger, and doubt. All the texts are written by peer support advocates, so these are people with lived experience with hardship or trauma, illness, and loss. (23) Chami Akmeemana (Founder of Blockchain Learning Group and Convergence): Convergence has successfully deployed several blockchain projects in the developing world to connect individuals to simple human rights and create new businesses in areas never thought possible. (24) Priya Prakash (Founder of HealthSetGo): HealthSetGo integrates technology and health care to empower parents, schools, and governments to make data-driven decisions to improve the health and lives of children. (25) Roberto Milk (Co-founder of NOVICA): NOVICA is a marketplace for artisans and features the work of more than 20000 artisans for sale, improving the economic prospects of artists in some of the world's most remote areas. Showcasing their products on NOVICA, offers artisans fair prices, no binding contracts and the freedom to make a success of their craft by building a sustainable business. NOVICA also gives artisans access to no interest microcredit loans that help build their businesses. NOVICA has empowered global artisans through greater access to international customers, freedom to set their own prices, and the ability to focus on their craft, creating a visible and profound impact on the communities around them. (26) Ryan Shearman (Co-founder of Aether Diamonds): Aether is a public benefit corporation that extracts harmful CO2 from the atmosphere and transforms it into valuable raw materials and consumer products. (27) Lucy Ashman (Founder of Tierra & Lava): Tierra & Lava produces skincare products using only purest form of ingredients (aka just whole plants and minerals). It now offers over 70 natural products with no fillers and only natural preservatives. (28) Matt McPheely (Partner of Chapel): Chapel is a 43000 sq ft office, event, and restaurant space in the heart of a mill village community with a mission of changing the way real estate projects are financed, built, and operated, as a force for good in the neighborhoods. Working with the community is the focus and will include job training, investment into local entrepreneurs, providing a safe space for kids, and offering our flex space as a resource for the neighborhood. (29) Chad Hickey (Founder of Givsly): Givsly is a for-purpose company built around the belief that as the world around us evolves, so should our options to create social impact. Givsly turns business meetings into opportunities to support the favorite nonprofits. Givsly platform introduces a portfolio of ways for professionals to give back, while doing business. (30) Ian Rosenberger (Founder First Mile and Day Owl): First Mile has redirected over 96 Million plastic bottles from landfills and the ocean and transformed them into consumer goods for global brands trying to find value in authenticity, transparency, and responsibility. Day Owl is a direct-to-consumer brand that has created a backpack out of First Mile materials that the team feels will prepare everyone to take on the world. (31) Yasmin Grigaliunas (Co-founder of World's Biggest Garage Sale): World's Biggest Garage Sale is activating the circular economy and resource recovery of dormant goods for good, powered by purpose to provide meaningful employment and pathways for disadvantaged youth. (32) Christian Shearer (Co-founder of Regen Network): Regen Network is an ecological agreements platform working to accelerate the adoption of Regenerative Agriculture. The platform is serving to align economics with ecology to drive regenerative land management. (33) Reese Fernandez-Ruiz (Co-founder of Rags2Riches): Rags2Riches's (R2R) focus is on community sourcing, community-based weaving, and sustainable market access. In addition to providing a sustainable livelihood for partner community artisans, R2R has also co-developed an artisan academy, a savings and micro-insurance program, and opportunities for full-time employment. (34) Margaret Andriassian (Founder of Life Originelle): Life Originelle is a shopping platform where women can shop from beautiful small businesses, and support a cause, all in one transaction. As an impact based shopping website, Life Originelle donates 10% of their proceeds from each order to their cause of the season. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2021
According to the 2018 report 'Indian Giving Benchmarking Report', building strategy and attracting new donors are the two key fundraising challenges Indian nonprofits face. The research report was a collaborative effort of India Development Review (IDR), Samhita and the Collective Good Foundation to understand what nonprofits are doing when it comes to fundraising, and what is working in the individual donor fundraising space in India. The report is based on a 40-question survey filled by 682 nonprofits out of 2800 organizations in Samhita GoodCSR's network in 2018. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT - Nonprofits raised an average of INR 49 lakh (approximately USD 68000) from 191 individual givers; The median amount raised from individuals was INR 3.5 lakh (USD 4860) from 30 donors; Nonprofits had a diverse mix of revenue sources, with individual donors representing the largest share of total income at 35%, followed by government (18%), and CSR departments (13%); For small organizations, individual givers account for 60% of annual revenue. For large nonprofits, the figure is 16%, while for very large organizations, it's 10%; When it comes to CSR, very large nonprofits received 35% of their income from companies, compared to 7% for small organizations. KEY INSIGHTS - (1) Fundraising Strategies And Approaches: 72% find new donors through their founder's network and commonly leverage social media and board members to acquire new donors; Only 38% stated that their board members give money or are involved with fundraising; 68% find asking money face-to-face as the most effective way to solicit donations. (2) Donor Engagement: Annual reports (64%) and, beneficiary updates, letters, and interactions (62%) top the list of activities to build relationships with donors; Other engagement strategies include texting donors (31%), impact reports (33%), social media (39%), and face-to-face meetings (32%); 54% of nonprofits had a volunteer program to engage their potential and current donors. (3) Challenges When Fundraising From Individuals: 46% don't know how to attract new donors, and a third dont have a clear fundraising strategy; Some of the other challenges include lack of staff (26%), Crowdfunding platforms are not working/bringing in new donors/money (22%); Don't have clear and compelling message (22%); Don't have experience asking for money (18%); Don't know wealthy people (18%). Frontline fundraisers need to work hard and effectively to overcome challenges and to make serious and sincere efforts to identify donors and, to build and nurture relationships with them. Particularly in the time of pandemic, with many nonrprofits struggling to stay alive, nonprofits need innovative strategies so they can continue serving the communities. Read on...
India Development Review:
The fundraising challenges plaguing Indian nonprofits
Author: Morry Rao Hermón
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2021
According to a survey by The Conference Board, 61% of major global companies spent more on philanthropy in 2020 than budgeted, with 58% of respondents using incremental funds for COVID-19 efforts, and 54% of respondents using incremental funds to help address racism in the US. Moreover, more than 2/3rd of the surveyed companies said they plan to maintain or increase their total level of giving in 2021. A 2017 Cone Communications CSR study found that 87% of respondents will purchase a product because a company stood behind an issue they cared about. And a 2016 Cone Communications study on millennial employee engagement found that 64% of millennials consider a company's social and environmental commitments when choosing a workplace. There is a win-win relationship when corporates focus on long-term social and community involvement. This activity benefits communities and helps improve and build brand value, and also achieve business objectives. Cheryl Goodman, Head of Corporate Communications/Corporate Social Responsibility at Sony, provides key steps that needs to be taken for strategic long-term CSR - (1) Identify Causes To Support: For strategic CSR choose causes to support that reflect company's ethos. Determine tangible societal benefits of the CSR efforts. There need to be a correlation between the beneficiary of the CSR efforts and the business that company is involved in. Survey employees to find causes to support. This helps employee to be more involved and engaged in the charitable efforts as they feel heard. (2) Determine Proper Structures To Achieve Success: To determie the structure, companies should think diligently what will make a long-term impact on communities. Companies should have systems in place to measure the impact and success of their efforts. Quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) won't reveal themselves immediately, but qualitative measures are essential from the beginning. Companies should evaluate their resources and determine time and financial commitment they will be able to make to achieve desired outcomes. (3) Give Nonprofit Partners Space To Lead: Create an action plan to work with nonprofit partners. Develop trust and understanding with these partners, as they have experience working on the ground and know better how to serve communities. Collaborate early, communicate often and support each other authentically to achieve desired outcomes of the charitable efforts. (4) Get The Good News Out Without Missing The Mark: Secure strategic press coverage by involving the right internal and external stakeholders. Involve the right people from the company and nonprofit that can deliver the message right, and establish solid relationships with members of the media. Messaging should also include any relevant data points and stories that help explain why the cause is pressing. (5) Practice Humility And Transparency: By exercising humility, companies can decrease the likelihood of appearing opportunistic. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 feb 2021
Charities often work under limited resources and specific set of pressures. Moreover, COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated their operational challenges. Use of performance metrics and marketization, lack of resources, increased visibility due to social media etc further add to the pressure. It is reported that at present one-in-ten charities remain at immediate risk of closure in UK. Considering the state of financial management in charity sector, studies of impact reporting have found that a concerning number of nonprofits are producing insufficient reporting. A Charity Finance Directors' Group study found that whilst more than half of charities reported on output and outcome, broader impact reporting was a far less common practice. A recent report published as part of the Organizational Financial Literacy Project - a collaboration between Charity Digital and Sage Foundation, in consultation with Solid Base Non-Profit Support, examines the current state of organisational financial literacy and impact reporting in the UK charity sector. The report delves into the root causes and proposes solutions. During the pandemic public trust in charities have increased and to maintain this trust nonprofits need to work responsibly and transparently, and with more accountability. Organizations that have better financial management and impact reporting will attract more funds. In charities, particularly smaller ones, the financial reporting tasks are handled on a part-time basis and often deprioritized. There is huge reliance on the use of Excel and paper-based accounting methods, resulting in infrequent and insufficient records. Impact in nonprofit sector is measured in terms of engagement with service users and meeting targets set by trustees and this information is needed by stakeholders to assess whether operations are succeeding or not. This information is critical for governance and to secure funding. The main reason for charities not able to have better financial management and reporting is due to limited resources available to accomplish such tasks. Moreover, well trained finance professional are generally not hired and the tasks are undertaken by non-finance professionals that find accounting and finance software tools complex and difficult to operate. The report identifies a four-part framework for overcoming or mitigating these obstacles - (1) Practical: Software and Processes (2) Educational: Training and Resources (3) Supportive: Extended Support Service (4) Social: Networking and Best Practices. Automation is at the core of this digitization strategy. Read on...
The state of finance management in the charity sector
Author: Aidan Paterson
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jan 2021
COVID-19 pandemic has brought the focus on online learning and educational technologies. Even though the initiatives have been around for quite some time, but they have not been implemented at such a large scale. It is also observed that there is an imbalance in terms of preparation and implementation of online education in various countries and institutions. Some were able to execute online strategies better as they have been experimenting and utilizing such learning technologies and educational methodologies for many years. Prof. Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor of Online Learning at University of Illinois at Springfield (US), explains how online education has rescued education during adverse circumstances and what the future holds for higher education after the pandemic has subsided and traditional education gets back on its feet. He cites an example of innovative strategy of UK unversities during SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in Asia 2002-2003 when they offered online delivery of class materials to students at Hong Kong universities. He says, 'I was studying the implications of online learning interventions during SARS when Katrina devastated nearly two dozen college and university campuses along the US Gulf Coast. With my colleague Burks Oakley, then associate vice president for academic affairs for the University of Illinois, we brought the opportunity for online learning intervention to the attention of Frank Mayadas, program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This quickly expanded to engage a host of other higher education leaders...The remarkable effort was chronicled by George Lorenzo. Ultimately, the effort dubbed "The Sloan Semester" engaged more than 100 colleges and universities in offering online classes at no charge to students displaced by the hurricane. The intent was to provide transfer credit for those students to continue their degrees from wherever they took refuge while their campuses were closed and under repair.' He explains the current state of higher education with falling enrollments in US institutions and students opting for alternative and economical modes of learning through MOOCs and other at-scale online programs. There has been many fold increase in enrollment in such programs during the pandemic. Moreover, with decreasing US population growth and oversupply of colleges and universities the disruption of the education sector is expected. He further explains, 'The shakeout has begun with faculty layoffs, program cuts and deep deficits. The trends I have been following show this to be undeniable and pervasive. That brings us back to online learning to the rescue. As the U.S. Department of Labor reports the average tenure at an employer is just 4.2 years, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of adults returning to universities for continuing and professional education to retool and upskill for new and changing careers. And, by and large, they are doing this online.' He suggests that it will be an opportunity for education providers and they should focus on 'the "60-year learner" who returns again and again to prepare for work in an ever-changing economy fueled by artificial intelligence.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 dec 2020
Social enterprises have been part of the Indian social sector ecosystem for a long time, albeit not in the theoretically and legally defined framework that exists now. According to the study, 'The State of Social Enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan' (British Council, 2016), led by Emily Darko, Director of Research at Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), there are roughly 2 million social enterprises operating in India. The study based on a survey of 258 social enterprises found a young social enterprise scene with 57% being 5 years old or younger. Moreover, these social enterprises work in many sectors - skills development (53%); education (30%); agriculture/fisheries/dairy (28%); financial services (26%); energy and clean technology (26%). From the surveyed social enterprises, 80% reinvest to further social or environmental goals, and they have supported a total of 150 million beneficiaries over their lifetime. The report found a total of 39 central government policies relevant to social enterprise and entrepreneurship. A notable policy with a specific mention of social enterprises was the 'National Skill and Entrepreneurship Policy' announced on 15 July 2015 by the Ministry of Skills and Entrepreneurship. The policy includes a section on social enterprises that aims to foster social entrepreneurship and grassroots innovation. The research study, 'Social Enterprises in the Indian Context: Conceptualizing through Qualitative Lens' (Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, Springer Open, 15 jan 2018) (Authors: Subhanjan Sengupta of Birla Institute of Management Technology, Arunaditya Sahay of Birla Institute of Management Technology), researches the meaning of the 'social enterprise' construct in the Indian context, and develops a conceptual framework that represents the construct. The purpose of this empirical study is to develop orientation needed for aspiring social entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurship researchers to familiarize with 'social enterprise' phenomenon in India. Authors explains, 'India is a country with socio-economic and cultural diversity, and a very high population. The country offers no legal definition for social enterprises. The ecosystem of social entrepreneurship in India is created by different organizations and universities/institutes advocating, promoting, and supporting social enterprises. Multiple stakeholders such as these have formulated their own meaning of social entrepreneurship in India; their work being influenced by the social, economic, and cultural diversity across the geographical length and breadth of the country, and the regulatory frameworks of the state and central governments...The key constructs that emerged to be clustering together to form the concept of social entrepreneurship in the Indian context are social value creation, market orientation, social entrepreneur, and balanced impact.' Recently, an India focused book on social enterpreneurship, 'Social Entrepreneurship in India: Quarter Idealism and a Pound of Pragmatism', is authored by Madhukar Shukla who is a Professor of Strategic Management at XLRI Jamshedpur. The book documents rise of the social innovation movement in India, along with profiles and roadmaps. ON COVID-19 - Prof. Shukla says, 'The pandemic, and the subsequent abrupt lockdown, create an unprecedented humanitarian crisis which has still not ended...In many ways, it was also a watershed event in the civil society and social entrepreneurial space - particularly for many social entrepreneurs, who, with reference to the typology in my book, I would describe as 'Public Goods Providers'. For instance, many of the established social ventures...which were already working in the space of relief and with migrant informal sector workers, spurred up their efforts to meet this challenge. There were also many other innovative initiatives from other ventures. At a smaller and localised level, there were many initiatives taken by individuals, citizen groups, and small organizations such as helping the migrants in their journey back home, providing basic subsistence necessities like rations and sanitary pads to marginalised communities, and so on. Why I used the term 'watershed' is because what I see is that many of these efforts, which started as a response to a crisis, also brought in new talent in the sector, and many are now evolving as viable and sustainable social ventures.' ON ROLE OF ACADEMICS - Prof. Shukla says, 'Academics can and does play a useful role in the social entrepreneurship field by identifying and documenting trends, principles, and models from practice. These can help the entrepreneurs to make more informed decisions.' ON SCALING UP CHALLENGES - Prof. Shukla says, 'When organizations scale-up and try to replicate the model which has succeeded in one place, they have to deal with a new set of problems and challenges. They need to consider and plan for three critical challenges...One, scaling up into other locations also increases the complexity of operations...Secondly, scaling up would also need hiring new talent to manage increasingly complex operations of the venture...Lastly, there is the danger of 'mission drift'.' ON DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY - Prof. Shukla says, 'Over the last decade or so, with the increasing affordability of and access to digital technology, it has become a part of the models that are used by many social entrepreneurs. In my experience, three important ways in which it helps creating social change are Access, Aggregation, and Democratisation.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 dec 2020
Corporate volunteering is an important part of employee development with a reason to facilitate their engagement with local communities and to demonstrate corporation's social commitments. Currently there is special focus on corporate social responsibility and many organizations are pursuing it as an essential component of their strategy. According to the 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, employees have been re-examining the companies they work for with an eye toward purpose and impact on society. Research suggests that businesses benefit when they integrate employee volunteering programs with corporate giving, and these programs improve employee satisfaction, foster employee engagement, and boost retention. Macquarie University Graduate School of Management (Australia) research study undertaken as part of the MGSM Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Partnership Network, led by Dr. Debbie Haski-Leventhal, found that 93% of employees who volunteer through their company report being happy with their employer, and 54% of those who are proud of their company's contributions to society are engaged at work. In August 2019, the Business Roundtable (US) redefined their statement on the purpose of a corporation from a shareholder only focus to a larger commitment to stakeholders - customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and shareholders. Beth Bengtson, CEO and Founder of Working for Women, provides an approach to establish corporate volunteering programs with a long-term focus and avoid short-term 'once-and-done' experiences. She explains, 'This new approach requires having your team help a nonprofit solve organizational or operational challenges and/or deliver specialized resources to the population served by the nonprofit. This involves identifying a nonprofit where your employees can lend their skills and expertise over a designated period of time or on a series of connected events...In this strategic model, a tangible and sustained relationship is created between the corporate and nonprofit partners...The result in this model is that mutually beneficial skill-based volunteering adds up to a quadruple win when done right. Purposeful partnerships allow for impact to be measurable for all parties involved.' She developed following guidelines at her organization, Working for Women, - Identify and match the needs and the skills on both sides; Once there's a well-defined project and two willing partners, develop a detailed brief for each engagement; Do the work to understand what your nonprofit partner does and who they serve; Measure impact after each engagement, and before planning next steps; Replicate and scale as needed. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 nov 2020
Nonprofits are facing challenging times during COVID-19 pandemic and they need any kind of help to pursue their mission. Laura Plato, chief solutions officer at VolunteerMatch, says, 'Traditional in-person volunteering has dropped off precipitously since the pandemic began, while need has only grown. Our nation's nonprofits are having to really get creative and reinvent what volunteering looks like.' Research on teens and adults finds that volunteering has many benefits like for example reduced rates of depression and anxiety, and meaningful improvements in life expectancy. Akua Boateng, a psychotherapist, says, 'But for children volunteering can also be a positive component of their developmental process - helping them understand their place in the social fabric - and is associated with a higher sense of self-esteem.' Prof. Peter Levine of Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life cautions that how parents frame volunteering is important and suggests, 'It's crucial to talk about social inequity in the right way with children to avoid communicating a sense of superiority.' Karen Daniel, VP of programs at Youth Service America, says, 'We have a project ideas database on our website...We really believe in helping kids start with something they love so that the project is fun for them, too.' Pandemic has lead to the mainstreaming of work from home culture and kids can volunteer along with their parents. There are also programs to help kids reach out to military personnel and first responders, or to write letters and cards to older people separated from their loved ones. Moreover, kids can also help by informally volunteering within their local community. Virtual volunteering can also be a good volunteering aveneue for kids. According to Katie Stagliano of Katie's Krops, a nonprofit that helps children start gardens across the United States, community gardening can continue in the colder months with winter crops such as cabbage, carrots, kale, turnips and collard greens, which can then be distributed to families struggling with food insecurity. Lydia Elle, a writer in Los Angeles, and her 10-year-old daughter, London, have started partnering with organizations in 2019 to donate books to children in need. Ms. Elle says, 'During the summer, because we couldn't get out and distribute books in person like we normally would have, we made a huge donation of books to our local food bank instead.' Read on...
The Washington Post:
Volunteering can give kids purpose in uncertain times - and there are still ways to do it
Author: Connie Chang
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 oct 2020
Pandemic, combined with politics in many countries, is creating uncertainty for both for-profits and nonprofits. In US, racial protests and electioneering, is adding to the instability. Philanthropic activity is at the crossroads and future seems uncertain. Understanding the change by analyzing past trends and anticipating the future by listening to the wisdom of experts can help nonprofits prepare better for their fundraising needs. PAST TRENDS: According to the 2019 survey of philanthropy 'Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy' - Individual giving remains the largest source of contributions (69%); Looking at growth in sources, corporate giving increased by 13.4% (includes gifts-in-kind), and giving by individuals increased by 4.7%; Recipient sectors who benefited most were ones where high-net-worth individuals tend to concentrate their giving, with public-society benefit increasing 13.1%, arts, culture, & humanities increasing 12.6%, and education increasing 12.1%; Philanthropy often thrives on economic results, and 2019 was a strong year with the S&P 500 increasing by roughly 29%, personal income growing by 4.4%, and GDP growing by 4.1%. But now 2020 is altogether a different year, with pandemic impact and struggling economy, the future holds uncertain challenges. FUTURE TRENDS: By utilizing Delphic Panel Approach, in which you ask to a team of experts to consider future questions and offer their opinions on likely outcomes based on their experience and insight, a select group of 20 fundraising experts share their predictions on philanthropy and fundraising in coming years. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY: 61% were reasonably confident that philanthropy overall would grow during the next 3 years. A decline in giving is not likely to be long-lasting and there is hope for growth; 67% suggested that their organizations or clients would be investing more in fundraising during the next three years. Respondents were fairly evenly split regarding retaining fundraising staff and hiring more fundraisers. So, despite the short-term news of layoffs, there should be opportunities in development; Individual donors will continue to remain essential in future fundraising while no change or reduction is expected in other streams of fundraising revenue. Community/event fundraising will expect a reduction; Digital will be a main fundraising acquisition channel in which organizations are expected to spend. Other growth areas identified by the survey include DM (direct mail), DRTV (direct response television), and a resurgence in telemarketing. Print advertising channel is expected to retreat. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 oct 2020
Small women-run farm collectives became a success story of self-sufficiency during COVID-19 lockdown in Tamil Nadu (India). These informal groups have been facilitated by a grassroots nonprofit 'Women's Collective' that encourages poor women, who neither own land nor are able to lease land on their own, to come together and lease land collectively to grow food. In the IndiaSpend article dated 09 sep 2019, author Shreya Raman states, 'In a country (India) where 73.2% of rural women workers are engaged in agriculture, women own only 12.8% of land holdings.' Sheelu Francis, co-founder of Women's Collective, says, 'We began with five collective farms in 2010, with the intention of helping landless single or widowed women achieve food security. With collective farming, we ensure nutrition and food security for landless women at the household level.' There are now 89 collective farms with a total of 695 members spread across Tamil Nadu. Each collective has 5-10 members. Women's Collective is responsible for training and providing agricultural know-how. Farmers utilize organic farm methods and avoid chemical fertilizers. The size of the plot determines the choice of crops the women farmers will grow. Landlord usually gets 1/3 of the harvest as rent while the members distribute the rest among themselves. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 sep 2020
Senior citizens often find themselves struggling with latest consumer technologies that are evolving at a rapid pace. These technologies on the other hand, are a normal part of the daily life of the new generation. If senior citizens can be made to learn these technologies in an effective senior-friendly way, they can benefit from them immensely and improve their quality of life. COVID-19 pandemic has also brought the issue to the fore with social distancing norms and extra vulnerability of senior citizens to viral infections. A nonprofit, AnewVista, founded by Shalini Gupta and Eric Gee, has been working for the last couple of years with senior citizens to help them overcome the barrier to using latest technologies. Before the pandemic the nonprofit hosted in person workshops at senior centers, retirement communities and centers of trust locally. But now most of the learning classes are happening virtually through video conferencing apps. AnewVista offers 40-50 topics, such as cleaning out email folders, navigating social media and finding reliable news and podcasts, as well as some higher-level concepts. Ms. Gupta says, 'When it comes to these simple devices, which are made for younger people, they struggle. Intellectually, they are very smart, but it's just the hands-on part that gets very hard sometimes - and once you open the wall for them, it's all there for them to enjoy. Basically, we cover all bases, like how they can be safe, how they can be creative, how they can be social and how they can enjoy more things for fun, communication wise.' Mr. Gee says, 'The trick is to really find what's the obstacle for older adults to engage with technology or engage with the digital economy. We invite everybody to enjoy and just learn a little bit more, especially in these times of sheltering in place, which isn't going to end anytime soon.' Read on...
Los Altos Town Crier:
Nonprofit helps seniors stay connected with evolving technologies
Author: Marie Godderis
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2020
COVID-19 pandemic has affected art and culture sector, and significantly impacted talent associated with it. Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO in her message on World Art Day (15 April 2020), celebrated on the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, said, 'Bringing people together, inspiring, soothing and sharing: these are the powers of art, the importance of which has been made emphatically obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.' The art community is adapting to the new challenges and finding innovative solutions to keep the spirit alive. The program, 'Arts and Culture Education Change-Up', a collaboration between South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korea Culture and Arts Education Service and the Seokyeong University Arts Education Center, has come up with something positive during the pandemic. The program teaches and supports creative people who are interested in social entrepreneurial projects in the field of arts and culture education. Han Jeong-seop, professor and dean of the Seokyeong University Arts Education Center, says, 'If it were not for COVID-19, we might not have brought those international guest speakers or have participants from Jeju Island due to geographical factors...We wanted to showcase how overseas cultural social enterprises play a role in resolving social problems between the public and private sector.' The participants in the online interaction included representatives from STEPS (Canada-based charitable public art organization that develops one-of-a-kind public art plans, installations and engagement strategies that foster vibrant communities), and Starcatchers (Scotland-based art organization specializing in creating performances and exploring creative activities for babies, toddlers and young children up to the age of five and the adults who care for them). Anjuli Solanki, program director of the STEPS Initiative, says, 'Applying our multidisciplinary expertise, we strive to develop a strong contextual understanding of the neighborhoods and sites we are working in for all our projects. Our goal is to create iconic public works that attract widespread attention by transforming underutilized public spaces.' Bebhinn Jennings, program manager at STEPS, says, 'The pandemic has highlighted our need to connect, to be inspired and to contribute to our communities. As such, art and public art in particular are increasingly important as they offer numerous entry points for engagement. Public art can both beautify a space, and ignite dialogues around important issues such has climate change, public health and systemic inequalities - all conversations that have been active throughout the pandemic.' Rhona Matheson, chief executive of Starcatchers, says, 'We know we are not going to be able to tour any of our productions until at least spring 2021 so our focus is on providing a range of activities that parents or childcare settings can share with very young children. Retaining a connection with audiences has been very important and making the offers through our online activities has been essential. Similarly, being able to retain connection with the families who participate in our community engagement programs has been very important - this has been a means to offer support to young families who experience social and rural isolation and have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.' Lee In-kyung, an art instructor at an alternative school on Jeju Island, says, 'If it were not operated online, it would be very difficult and time-consuming for me to participate in a training program held in Seoul. Now I can communicate with other social entrepreneurs while on Jeju...We made environmental picture books and tried junk art, campaigning for environment. I realized that students could learn better through empirical art education.' She developed such experiences into an idea for a social enterprise, aiming to support teenagers to cultivate creativity, problem-solving skills and empathic abilities. Kim Soo-jung, CEO of Open Your Arts and in the second year of Change-Up program, says, 'I wanted to provide sustainable art education for socially disadvantaged children, but it was impossible to solve the problem as a volunteer. So I came up with this art educational kit developed in collaboration with artists...Their (Starcatchers and STEPS) business model is not based nor suitable for online, but it was interesting to see the possibility of online platforms, transcending physical or regional limitations.' Read on...
The Korea Times:
Social enterprise bridges art, community amid pandemic
Author: Kwon Mee-yoo
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 aug 2020
The 'Report of the Committee on Business Responsibility Reporting' was recently released by Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA, Govt. of India) by MCA Secretary Rajesh Verma. The expert members of the committee include Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh (Chairman of the Committee & Joint Secretary, MCA), Amarjeet Singh (Executive Director, SEBI), Chandan Kumar (Deputy Director, MCA), Ashish Garg (President, The Institute of Company Secretaries of India, ICSI), Atul Kumar Gupta (President, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, ICAI), Balwinder Singh (President, The Institute of Cost Accountants of India, ICMAI), Shankar Venkateswaran (Adjunct Faculty, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, IICA) and Viraf Mehta (Adjunct Faculty, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, IICA). The report, as part of new Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) regime, suggests that businesses will have to disclose in detail how they try to influence regulatory policies and public opinion and list the public policy positions they advocate. The report proposes two different reporting procedures - one comprehensive mandatory reporting for large listed and unlisted companies and the other 'lite' reporting version for smaller businesses to adopt voluntarily. Disclosure of lobbying is considered an essential reporting requirement. The report says, 'Businesses, when engaging in influencing public and regulatory policy, should do so in a manner that is responsible and transparent.' Businesses also have to disclose details of public policy positions they advocate, methods resorted to for advocacy and whether information on this is available in the public domain. The report considers inclusion and diversity, and environmental considertations as important components of reporting. Former Secretary of MCA, Injeti Srinivas, who formulated the committee, writes in the report, 'With several global companies being larger than many nation states in terms of turnover, the responsibility of businesses to their stakeholders will only increase in the coming years. The NGRBC (National Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct) and its companion BRSR is a significant step to enable businesses in India to not just behave responsibly, but to also demonstrate to its stakeholders that it walks the talk. We can then proudly say 'Make in India - Responsibly'.' Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh, Chairman of the Committee & Joint Secretary in MCA, writes in the report, 'The endeavour of the Committee has been to ensure that the BRSR reporting format would serve as a single source for all non-financial disclosures. Over the last two decades, public policy across the world, has been moving in this direction. In designing the structure of the report, the Committee has made a conscious effort to balance the objective of self-regulation through disclosures while ensuring that there is no undue compliance burden on companies.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 jul 2020
According to the survey conducted to find out impact of COVID-19 pandemic on 567 small businesses and nonprofit organizations in US by the research team of Prof. Samantha Paustian-Underdahl of Florida State University, 15.2% of its participants closed permanently, and 14.5% of participants closed temporarily. Another 31% of participants are operating below 40% capacity, while close to 40% of participants are operating at 40% or higher during COVID-19. The survey also found that 46.7% laid off their employees during COVID-19, while 51% reported that they did not. The average number of employees laid off was 10.5. Prof. Paustian-Underdahl says, 'Small businesses and nonprofits have taken a huge hit during this time, with nearly 30 percent of our sample needing to close temporarily or permanently as of early May. The good news is that most organizations are getting some help.' The survey revealed that 92% received some type of financial assistance from the government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and/or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). 75.5% applied for one or both types of government aid. Of participants who applied, 28.9% received PPP funding only, 26.8% received EIDL only, 11.3% received both PPP and EIDL, and 8.3% did not receive anything. Moreover, researchers also found that business owners and nonprofit leaders are experiencing different effects of COVID-19 on their overall well-being and performance, depending on their gender. Prof. Paustian-Underdahl says, 'Consistent with recent research by Gallup , we found that women who own small businesses are experiencing higher levels of stress and burnout during COVID-19 compared to men. While some may assume this could be due to higher work-family-conflict, we found the men surveyed are reporting higher work-family-conflict than women.' Some of the strategies and solutions that respondents have implemented to meet the challenges faced during COVID-19 include - increased communication with employees; an increased focus on implementing technology and creating online content; creating unique ways to contact and keep existing clients instead of seeking new one; increased focus on healthy living, exercise and mental health for their employees and customers. Read on...
Florida State University News:
Survey reveals COVID-19's impact on small business, nonprofits
Author: Calvin Burrows
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jun 2020
User-Generated Content (UGC) is getting more prominence for charity marketing and communications in the COVID-19 pandemic turbulence. Charities are struggling with funds and resources and have substantially reduced marketing and advertising spends. UGC helps charities in creating content to promote their brand, do fundraising, and advertise their accomplishments. Content created by those who were directly supported by charities is more authentic and relatable. When users share their stories they connect better with potential supporters. Following are the ways UGC benefits charities - (1) Marketing budgets are shrinking and UGC can provide a practical, cost-effective solution amid cuts, through users becoming charities' ambassadors online through videos, blogs, podcasts and social media posts. Hiring marketing agency is costly and current social distancing norms are restricting professionals to do location filming. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NVCO) has estimated that UK charities lost around £4 billion in the first three months of the COVID-19 crisis. According to COVID-19 Marketing Report by Influencer MarketingHub, more than 2/3 (69%) of brands expect they will reduce their advertising spend in 2020 due to COVID-19. 3/4 say they are posting less on their social media accounts as budgets shrink. (2) Charity's frontline staff, beneficiaries and volunteers are able to enhance their digital skills during lockdown. Charities are certainly keen to empower their workforce to support users in creating content. The 2020 Charity Digital Skills Report found that half of charities would welcome guidance on helping their staff adjust to change and stay motivated and productive amid the pandemic. (3) UGC is more authentic and relatable. Last year's Stackla survey found that the public believes UGC is 2.4 times more authentic compared to brand created content. However, too often the power of UGC is not being realised by marketers. The survey showed that marketers are 2.1 times more likely to believe that brand created content is more authentic compared to UGC. Read on...
How and why User-Generated Content is changing charity marketing
Author: Joe Lepper
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2020
During Covid-19 related lockdown many countries faced issues related to providing food to where it is needed the most. There were huge challenges in food distribution and logistics from farms to markets to homes. In many cases farmers had to dump their produce due to the broken supply chain. Moreover, farmers lacked the resources to transport their produce themselves as markets were unwilling to buy that at reasonable price. Amid all this, in Philippines, one social enterprise led by Cherrie Atilano has found a way to get food from farms to consumers and enabled farmers sell their produce that otherwise would have been wasted. Agrea, her social enterprise, in normal times intended to end rural poverty by helping farmers move from subsistence to small-scale commercial farming. But, during pandemic crisis farmers and the food distribution networks collapsed, so Ms. Atilano started #MoveFoodInitiative to overcome the produce dumping by farmers. She used her extensive network to appeal to private truck owners to help ship the food to consumers in towns, villages and the capital. In addition to moving fruits from farmers to families, the initiative is also donating food to community kitchens set up to feed frontline medical staff treating people with coronavirus. 'Movers', as the workers associated with the project are called, have created impromptu community fresh food markets at various locations. Ms. Atilano also plans to encourage the development of urban farms and says, 'It is time to learn how to produce food near to you. This is the new normal that we need to prepare for.' Dom Hernandez, COO of Philippine fast food chain Potato Corner, is another entrepreneur helping to get food from farms to urban consumers. He has set up a scheme to allow farmers in his home province of Benguet to sell directly to consumers through the use of social media and his family owned bus network. Read on...
World Economic Forum:
This entrepreneur is helping farmers get food to consumers during lockdown
Author: Douglas Broom
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2020
CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) spend is mandatory for certain profitable corporations in India. Most businesses are strategically utilizing their CSR funds. Moreover, Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent directive by government for corporates to participate in Covid-19 relief as part of their CSR activity, has prompted companies to innovate their CSR spends. Gaurav Patra, founder of Value360 Communication, explains how marketers are utilizing the challenge posed by Covid-19 as opportunity to strengthen their brands by strategically focusing on CSR to support society and connect with communities. He says, 'In this hour of global crisis, various marketers are stepping up and aligning their strategy in line with the announcements made by the government. Brands should take this as an opportunity to look inward and be as resourceful as possbile towards the cause. Many companies and businesses are donating certain amounts to the 'PM Cares Fund' formed by the Government of India, while others focus on facilitating vital necessities like masks, sanitizers, gloves, medicines, food to the underprivileged, health institutions, hospitals, etc. Marketers and brands are also committing a certain portion of their CSR funds towards Covid Fund. They are also placing health check-up camps in tier-2 cities in order to help migrants get tested first hand. Few brands have also come forward to manufacture ventilators, sanitizers, thermal testers, drones lending assistance to the government in combating this pandemic situation.' Companies are utilizing various media channels like print, television, social media etc to create awarenesss and educate the masses through creatively designing campaigns with Covid-19 theme. Mr. Patra suggests, 'Given the scale and urgency of the situation, brands should co-create their solutions as an effective response to Covid-19 outbreak. Together, through the right channel, one voice, we can safeguard our nation and help fight this global pandemic.' Read on...
How marketers are now focusing on CSR in current COVID-19 situation
Author: Gaurav Patra
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2020
In the digital era, it is imperative for nonprofit leaders to embrace technology and adapt to change effectively. Practicing concepts of 'change management' helps in the technological transformation. Aparna Kothary, director of technology operations at Global Citizen Year, had to implement new technology to help her nonprofit, which organizes gap year study-abroad programs for high school seniors, measure the impact of their work. She says, 'When you put a lot of work into building something, you think it's great and you want everybody else to think it's great, but approaching it with humility is so important...If our end goal is user adoption, it's our responsibility to train people in a way that that works for them.' Setting expectations for new technology adopters is also important. She adds, 'Instead of saying - Here's this shiny new tool we are going to use forever - maybe say - This is phase one of a three-year project, and every year w're going to improve a little bit more...' According to the second annual Nonprofit Trends Report produced by Salesforce, leadership must not only lead the adoption of new technologies but also help nurture a culture that is open to embracing new technology in the first place. But 45% of nonprofits state that they lack the flexibility and adaptiveness that the adoption of new technology demands. Prof. Alva H. Taylor of Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College says, 'Leadership has to understand it and know the importance of it, and also communicate (that importance) to everybody in their organization...might involve showing how the new tool is compatible with how they've done their work in the past, while 'really trumpeting the benefits' of adoption.' The Nonprofit Trends Report also shows that, on average, different departments have different rates of adoption of new technologies, and suggests that without full adoption of technology nonprofits may not get the maximum return on investment. Planning is essential along with leadership. 85% of the nonprofits surveyed in the report say that technology is key to the success of an organization like the one they work for, but only 23% say they have a long-term vision for the technology they plan on implementing. Sarah Angel-Johnson, CIO at the education nonprofit Year Up, says that it leads to 'rocks and pebbles' problem. She comments, 'Let's not talk about the technology or the architecture first. Let's talk about the human on the other side (experiencing a digital innovation). If you have a jar and you fill it with sand first, then pebbles and rocks, it won't all fit. But if you fill the jar first with rocks and the pebbles and then finally sand, it will all fit.' This means that leadership needs to establish priority projects and execute on them before pivoting to anything else. Developing nonprofit-wide strategy requires leadership buy-in and is necessary for long-term success. Jarrod Bell, CTO at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, says, 'Painting what the vision was for technology at our organization, tying that to the mission, having that message come from our president and CEO, having that message resonated by our board...reverberate those messages as well, and then repeating it over, and over, and over again.' Rebeca Johnson, VP of constituent experience and digital transformation at the American Heart Association, says, 'Transformation is difficult, because transformation is change, and change is hard. But the world has changed and we have to change with it.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 apr 2020
It is important to be selective and careful while choosing which nonprofits to support and promote. Even more so during times of crisis or economic recession as every dollar of contribution or effort needs to be most effective. In such situations, like the present COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits are expected to serve more while facing resource challenges. Prof. Amanda J. Stewart of NC State University, whose research focuses on nonprofit organizations and foundations, suggests what to consider while supporting nonprofits during disasters like COVID-19 - (1) Nonprofits that provide essential services: Sustained support is needed for nonprofits that respond directly to human suffering in crisis and also essential human services and local community needs. (2) Nonprofits that need cash: Financial donations are critical as they support nonprofits to pay their bills etc and gives them freedom to provide services where most needed in whatever form. (3) Generosity can be specific to these times: Creativity in generosity becomes valuable. Like for example face masks being sewn, remote volunteering options, socially safe distant blood drives etc during current pandemic. Consider what generosity looks like in your neighborhood or what is within your capabilities during crisis time. (4) Give responsibly: While doing so be aware that some 'responsible giving' criteria are biased. Before donating use your best judgment and look for signs of legitimacy and accountability. Smaller niche nonprofits with more grassroots efforts can be effective and responsive in crisis times. (5) Nonprofits are often local businesses: After the crisis has passed many nonprofits just like local businesses would need support to get back to start working. Consider the nonprofit causes you want to see sustained and support the nonprofits to resume functioning after the crisis. Read on...
NC State University News:
How Can I Tell Which Charity to Support During This Crisis?
Author: Matt Shipman
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 mar 2020
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor's (GEM) 2019-20 Global Report, more than 40% of entrepreneurs in 35 of 50 countries agree or strongly agree that their motivations to launch a business are to make a difference in the world. Fifty economies participated in the GEM 2019 Adult Population Survey (APS) and more than 150000 individuals took part in extended interviews as part of the research. Entrepreneurs are trying to blend profits with social good and environmental sustainability, giving rise to innovative business models. In 2006 a company called TOMS popularized social entrepreneurship with a 'One For One Model' to provide a free pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased. Jake Strom, co-founder of TOMS, now invests in and consults companies that intend to incorporate social business models into their existing businesses. He termed this as 'Profit + Purpose Model' that encourages for-profit ventures with deeply woven social benefits. Following are key takeaways from this approach - (1) Create Evangelists, not Customers: Company's story is key branding element. Emphasize the social good aspect to inspire customers to become brand champions. It eventually becomes a competitive advantage. (2) Popular Perception Has Shifted: The idea that a for-profit business could do well and do good at the same time has become substantially acceptable. Profit + Purpose model will further grow in future. (3) Purpose-Driven Brands Can't Take Shortcuts: Effective business planning is essential. Do whatever is needed to provide best products and services and work to gain profits. Purpose would provide added motivation. (4) Think Long-Term: Balance the demands of Profit vs. Purpose. Making a sincere effort to put people, planet and long-term sustainability before short-term gains. (5) There is Never a Perfect Timing: The great idea to do good shouldn't wait. Start with whatever knowledge, resources and expertise is available. Keep learning, growing and evolving along the way. Scale-up when the concept is proven in the market. Read on...
5 Takeaways From an Entrepreneur's Profit + Purpose Social Business Model
Author: Jared Polites
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 mar 2020
Empowering women and girls in rural India is a necessity that can't be ignored. Initiative taken by Gurdev Kaur Deol of Ludhiana (Punjab, India) is trying to achieve it by a self-help group (SHG). She is marketing their produce through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and making them self-reliant with sizeable income. There are other nonprofits that are transforming lives of women and their families by engaging in various ways. Ms. Kaur says, 'Initially, I formed SHGs involving 15 rural women...Later, I made 'Global Self-Help Group FPO' which is now engaged in production, manufacturing, processing and marketing of food processing items such as pickles, squash, honey besides staples. Currently, we have 300 farmers with 50% of them being women.' Deepika Sindhwani, president of NGO Mahila Kalyan Samiti, says, 'These rural women are talented and need guidance. We have formed 350 SHGs...We have imparted them training in phulkari, jute bags and food processing.' National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is also assisting through SHG Bank Linkage Programme by providing credit, skills and micro entrepreneurship development training. J. P. S. Bindra of NABARD says, 'During the past one decade, we have also started forming Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) to increase farmers' income. A few of our FPOs have successful women farmers.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2020
Volunteer time off (VTO) is the new concept in employee benefits in which a company offers paid time off for its employees to volunteer with nonprofit organizations. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) around 21% of American companies offer VTO, while Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) says that more than 60% of enterprise-level companies are going all-in on VTO. Organizations implementing VTO can benefit in many ways - (1) Recruitment: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employees who are voluntarily quitting their jobs is higher than ever. VTO can help attract the attention of young, fresh talent. A report from Fortune showed that Millennials were more likely to work for a company that has a proven history of social activism and corporate volunteerism. (2) Retention: The 2019 Global Talent Trends Study showed that 51% of employees wish their company offered more flexible work options. VTO is the most desired option that companies can give to philanthropic employees. According to NP Source Charitable Giving Statistics For 2018, employees who engaged in corporate giving programs tended to have 75% longer tenures with the company. (3) Corporate Visibility: According to NP Source stats, 90% of companies indicated that partnering with reputable nonprofit organizations enhances their brand and 89% believe partnering leverages their ability to improve the community. Turning employees into employee brand ambassadors empowers them to represent your company in a positive light. (4) Company Culture: Companies are highlighting their workplace culture as a way to retain current employees and recruit top talent. A 2017 study from Project ROI showed that companies investing in corporate responsibility are seeing the fruits of their labor - Turnover reduced by 50%; Employee productivity increase by up to 13%; Employee engagement increased by up to 7.5%. A 2017 Glassdoor survey showed that 75% of employees expect their employer to get involved in charity work either through donations or volunteer efforts, and nearly half of all employees surveyed expect their employers to allow them to company time to advocate for social change through volunteering. (5) Employee Growth: Employees seek growth opportunities. Volunteering has become popular to build resume and sharpen skills, thus making VTO attractive to employees. NP Source showed that 92% of surveyed HR executives agree that contributing business skills and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to improve employees' leadership and broader professional skill sets. Following are some tips to effectively implement VTO - (i) Organize your time-off request process. (ii) Communicate with employees. (iii) Use software to optimize (corporate volunteering platform). Read on...
Here's Why VTO Is the Next Big Thing in Employee Benefits
Author: Lauren Pope
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 jan 2020
Tackling climate change and protecting environment is critical for the better future of our planet. Current agricultural practices and economic policies that surround it have substantial impact on the natural environment. Prof. Benjamin Houlton, director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment at the University of Califoria at Davis and champion of the One Climate Initiative, says, 'Agriculture might just be the single most important industry on the planet for creating negative carbon emissions under current economic policy. Carbon farming is the key to help solve climate change. Farmers and ranchers can capture carbon and store it in the soil. They can create negative emissions, which means the amount of greenhouse gases that are going into the air from their industry is lower than the amount that they're drawing out of the air.' Prof. Houlton plans to further develop the carbon farm project through One Climate. He explains, 'The One Climate vision is about transforming society in a way that is sustainable, produces the jobs we need, trains the next generation of leaders and creates a climate-smart workforce. And one of the centerpieces of One Climate is creating the world's most innovative carbon farm.' Carbon farming involves using resources such as compost, biochar and pulverized rock, and using enhanced weathering - basically, accelerating Earth's natural processes - to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Explaining about biochar, Prof. Houlton says, 'We've teamed up with industry partners to use biochar, which is taking organic carbon like trees, vegetation and manure, and burning it slightly at a high temperature. It becomes more resistant to breakdown and helps with water and nutrient use, while also storing carbon for longer periods of time.' In California, biochar can reduce wildfires by removing trees that could be a fire risk and putting it into the soil. Similarly, compost deposits green waste or food waste into the soil to create a carbon sink. Read on...
UC Davis Magazine:
How Can Agriculture Be a Part of the Climate Solution?
Author: Ashley Han
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2019
According to nseinfobase.com, CSR spends of Indian corporates have increased 17.2% to Rs. 11867.2 crore in FY19 from Rs. 10128.3 in FY18. This is the highest spend since FY15 (Rs. 6552.5 crore), when the CSR spend was made mandatory through Companies Act 2013. It is observed that corporates are increasingly using their CSR spends on charitable contributions. The highest amount of Rs. 4406 crore were for schedule VII (II) that focuses on education. The next big spend was Rs. 3206.5 crore under VII (I) for eradicating hunger, poverty, malnutrition and promoting health and hygiene. Rural development got Rs. 1319 crore and remaining went for projects that include environment protection, benefits to the armed forces, disaster management etc. From geographical point of view Maharashtra and Gujarat were at the top to get contributions while Bihar and North-East states got the least CSR funds. Experts say that large spends have also seemed to have prompted closer attention to how the money is spent. Amit Tandon, founder and MD of Institutional Investor Advisory Services India (IiAS), says, 'There are more and more companies who are doing impact assessment...people recognise the need to do it.' Pranav Haldea, MD at Prime Database, says, 'Low CSR budget could act as a constraint for some companies to adopt monitoring mechanisms. It may only make sense for firms with very large budgets. Smaller companies may find it too expensive to employ an agency for external audits on a regular basis.' Read on...
Companies spent Rs 11,867 cr on CSR activities in FY19; highest so far
Author: Sachin P. Mampatta
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 dec 2019
Social enterprises can become an important pillar of Indian economy just like corporations and businesses. India has more than two million social enterprises that include nonprofits, for-profits and hybrid models. According to a McKinsey study, 'impact investors' in India poured a total of US$ 5.2 billion between 2010 and 2016, with substantial focus on sectors like financial inclusion and clean energy. A survey conducted by Brookings India found that 57% of the social enterprises identify access to debt and equity as a barrier to growth and sustainability. In the budget Indian government proposed a social stock exchange (SSE) to list social enterprises and voluntary organisations. Suresh K. Krishna, MD and CEO, and Geet Kalra, portfolio associate, at Yunus Social Business Fund, explain what benefits this social stock exchange will bring to the social enterprise ecosystem and suggest that careful planning is needed in designing it. They explain, 'SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) set up its working committee on SSEs on September 19, however, many experts have already proposed distilling learnings from those of other countries. Some of these exchanges are either information sites, like in the case of the London Stock Exchange, or list nonprofit projects only. Canada's Social Venture Connexion (SVC) and Singapore's Impact Investment exchange are more advanced in terms of accreditation, valuation and monitoring, whereas the Brazilian model didn't use such valuations at all. While formulating a similar product for India, we need to have an extensive as well as 'cautious' approach. There is no consensus in the wider social impact community about what is and isn't a social enterprise, therefore the definition itself first needs more objectivity...Once we have a shared frame of reference in place, we can design impact valuation parameters for social enterprises based on social and environmental mission, target beneficiaries, service delivery, stakeholder involvement, and impact measurement.' SSE listing will provide visibility to social enterprises and assist in attracting funds in the form of private equity and debt. Listing debt products on the SSE would encourage banks, NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Company) and other investors to participate in the growth of social enterprises and enhancing their impact. Moreover, SSE impact valuation will encourage development of more innovative financial products. SME exchanges operated by BSE and NSE can also provide valuable learning in effectively designing SSE. Mr. Krishna and Mr. Kalra suggest, 'For a social stock exchange to meet its intended objectives, we need to take measures such as: educating market participants about the valuation metrics weighing both on social and financial returns; amplifying the efforts of creating and supporting social businesses; bringing policy and regulatory reforms to support investors, and facilitating research and development for small social enterprises.' Read on...
A social stock exchange will help in raising capital
Authors: Suresh K. Krishna, Geet Kalra
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2019
Philanthropy is a huge industry and technology is enabling it's transformation. It's contribution to the U.S. economy is significant. According to The 2019 Nonprofit Employment Report (2019), authored by Lester M. Salamon and Chelsea L. Newhouse of the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University, nonprofits account for roughly one in 10 jobs in the U.S. private workforce, with total employees numbering 12.3 million in 2016. Over the decade since 2007, nonprofit jobs grew almost four times faster than the for-profit ones. Madeline Duva, CEO of Fluxx, provides insights into technological transformation of philanthropy and the positive impact it has on overall growth of nonprofit sector. She says, ' The philanthropic space has begun to adopt new technologies in earnest in order to increase capacity, improve employee job satisfaction and accelerate long-lasting impact. This transformation is further helped by the tech industry entering the space both as a funder of nonprofits and provider of improved tool sets. The innovations that made Amazon a world leader in supply chain optimization are now being repurposed to help nonprofit organizations work more efficiently and collaboratively with their own data, ultimately driving more dollars and hours toward solving long-entrenched societal and systemic issues in the U.S. and beyond.' Philanthropy is on rise and tech industry and their employees are major contributors. According to 'Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018', researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, in 2018 Americans gave nearly US$ 428 billion to charity, with US$ 76 billion of that coming from foundations and another US$ 20 billion coming from corporations. Tech industry's interest in philanthropy and nonprofit sector is seeing increase in specifically designed tech solutions. Ms. Duva explains, 'I've seen a steady increase (but slower industry adoption) in solutions that help foundations leverage data and efficiency and manage teams, all while scaling their work. Grantmakers (both public and private) and grantseekers (nonprofits and charities) have begun to streamline their operations through SaaS solutions, using data and workflow best practices to create more efficient processes and free up time and resources.' For tech companies seeking to work and design solutions for the philanthropic sector, she suggests - Prioritize flexibility and usability in your solutions; Understand that most nonprofits operate on extremely thin financial margins; Recognize the huge variance in the philanthropic space. One-size-fits-all approach doesn't work this space that covers and touches so many industries. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2019
Nonprofit organizations and employees operate in a challenging environment and the human resources issues can be different from the for-profit sector. According to the 2017 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey of 420 nonprofits by nonprofitHR, 28% of nonprofits said the top challenge they faced was hiring qualified staff, and 81% of nonprofits said they can't get the staff they do hire to stay. Moreover, nonprofits are unable to do much to address the human resources problems. According to 2019 Talent Management Priorities for Nonprofits survey of 488 nonprofit leaders and HR professionals by nonprofitHR, three reasons employees give for leaving nonprofits are - dissatisfaction with their career opportunities, compensation and benefits, and workplace culture. Prof. Kim Brimhall of Binghampton University, The State University of New York, explains her research on nonprofit human resources and finds out that when employees feel valued and that their colleagues and bosses appreciate them, talented staff members become more likely to stick around. Lower salaries and compensation in nonprofits are not the only factor that makes it difficult to retain talent. Prof. Brimhall says, 'I recently completed a study regarding how managers at hospitals can improve employee performance through greater inclusivity. Inclusion...is also about helping employees feel appreciated as unique individuals and helping them feel valued as key members of their team.' According to 2018 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey of about 3400 nonprofit leaders by Nonprofit Finance Fund, more than half of all nonprofit jobs are in the health care field and even though nonprofit hospitals generally pay their workers better than other nonprofits, they also have trouble hiring and retaining qualified staff. Prof. Brimhall recommends nonprofits to make their workplace more inclusive and to adopt the following best practices - Engage and involve employees in important work-related decision-making; Appreciate feedback of all employees irrespective of their position; Consider and treat each employee as a unique individual and provide regular training and opportunities to enhance their career; Communicate a shared sense of purpose and inspire a collective vision of the future. Read on...
Making employees feel welcome and valued can pay off - especially for nonprofits
Author: Kim Brimhall
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2019
For CPAs (Certified Public Accountant) to successfully transition from the for-profit sector to the nonprofit sector requires a specific mindset and skill sets. Even though their for-profit experience will highly benefit and enhance the value of nonprofit finance department, but they would need add-on soft skills - (1) Adaptability: Understand and adapt to the new organizational culture. (2) Flexibility: Ability to multitask. With resource challenges nonprofits lack support staff and CPAs would need to handle administrative tasks. (3) Leadership and the ability to drive change: Emphasize the value of accurate financial reporting and use of latest processes and technologies for effective and efficient finance department. Explain that doing so will enhance chances of funding. Implement change through collaborative approach. Nonprofit organizations can benefit from for-profit CPA's in many ways - (1) Technology implementation: Many nonprofits are not fully equipped with latest financial and accounting technolgoies. For-profit CPAs bring the experience to do so. Implementation of online technology maximizes productivity, increases transparency, facilitates document flow and approvals, and improves accuracy and timeliness. (2) Documented policies and procedures: The implementation and maintenance of a documented accounting policies and procedures manual ensures continuing operational efficiency and governance, accuracy, and reliability of financial statements, as well as well-defined roles and responsibilities. (3) Effective and efficient internal controls: The system of internal controls is necessary to mitigate risk, increase transparency, and safeguard the organization's assets. For-profit CPAs are familiar with identifying and evaluating internal controls and aware that the process requires understanding and documenting the step-by-step processes that staff members follow to perform their jobs. (4) Audit management and oversight: CPAs with auditing background are familiar with the types of schedules and documents the auditors will request. The books and records of the finance department should be maintained throughout the year so that when the books are closed, only year-end adjustments are needed. Although CPAs spend most of their time with numbers, processing transactions, generating financial reports, and racing to meet numerous internal and external deadlines, but in nonprofits it is more than that - a mission to improve the lives of those in need and to make the world a better place. The transition to nonprofit career can be highly rewarding both professionally and personally. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 oct 2019
Personalization and customization of education is becoming a possibility with use of latest technologies. Traditional education systems with 'one-size-fits-all' approach are facing challenges and their ineffectiveness is becoming visible. Every learner has individual capabilities and traits, and educational delivery that caters to his specific needs would work best. Lasse Rouhiainen, author of 'Artificial Intelligence: 101 Things You Must Know Today About Our Future' and an international expert on artificial intelligence (AI) and disruptive technologies, explains that personalization is future of higher education and how correct implementation of AI and big data analytics will help in creating personalized learning experiences that can overcome some of the challenges that educational institutions face like disengaged students, high dropout rates, skills mismatch etc. He says, 'With a personalized learning experience, every student would enjoy a completely unique educational approach that's fully tailored to his or her individual abilities and needs. This could directly increase students' motivation and reduce their likelihood of dropping out. It could also offer professors a better understanding of each student's learning process, which could enable them to teach more effectively. Here's what this might look like: AI-based learning systems would be able to give professors useful information about their students' learning styles, abilities, and progress, and provide suggestions for how to customize their teaching methods to students' individual needs.' One of the key ingredient of this learning approach is the access to large amount of student data. Privacy is the challenge in this regard. But if student data could be collected and processed in a way that is ethical, secure, and transparent, it would allow AI to be used to effectively improve various areas of study. Use of chatbots and virtual assistants can assist in handling routine questions and tasks and will also provide data that represents students' concerns and requirements. This will benefit in designing education that responds to their needs. Moreover, as AI-enabled systems takeover routine tasks, teachers will have more quality time for students and engage them to pursue higher learning. Their role would be to guide, support, and mentor students, assist them to understand their learning, it's value, and it's application in the real world. To some extent chatbots can also be used to assist sudents to manage their mental well-being - to reduce stress and improve motivation to study. This will be beneficial, atleast for immediate relief, as many university health systems are struggling to handle large population of students in their on-campus mental health counseling programs. The outcome of education and learning is to finally prepare students for the world of work and be productive in whatever career they pursue. As the work environment is becoming more technology intensive and routine tasks are automated with AI-enabled systems and robots, it is essential for education systems to provide skills and train students to effectively adapt to such work environment and become successful. There is no substitute for humans. Technology is an enabler. Right mix of AI technology and human abilities can help evolve the education and learning systems for better outcomes. Read on...
Harvard Business Review:
How AI and Data Could Personalize Higher Education
Author: Lasse Rouhiainen
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 sep 2019
To tackle complex issues facing the world like environment protection, peace building, human rights, poverty, hunger etc, requires coming together of people, organizations and governments to find solutions through sharing diverse ideas, collaborative efforts and pooled resources. Around the world various platforms are developed to provide just that. At Stanford Social Innovation Review's (SSIR) Nonprofit Management Institute 2019, leaders and experts from diverse fields converged to address the economic and emotional anxieties facing civil society leaders and shared advice for moving forward with confidence. Prof. Tyrone McKinley Freeman of Indiana University said, 'We must pull more people into the philanthropic circle.' Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland said, 'We have got to think big and be less afraid of losing something through collaboration.' Jeffrey Moore, Chief Strategy Officer of Independent Sector, said, 'We have to co-create everything with community.' Charlotte Pera, President & CEO of ClimateWorks, said, 'We have to work together in and across philanthropy, civil society, government, academia.' Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton said, 'Change in collaboration really only moves at the speed of trust.' Bradford Smith, President of Candid, said, 'Building those relationships will take more than nice memos about teaming up - try joint projects.' The event had various sessions and here are the highlights - (1) THE CHANGING FACE OF AMERICAN PHILANTHROPY: Kim Meredith, Executive Director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and Prof. Tyrone Freeman of Indiana University and co-author of 'Race, Gender, and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations', discussed common myths of modern philanthropy, the true history of giving by minority groups in the US, and ideas on how to better connect with givers in anxious times. (2) MOVING FORWARD - MERGERS AS A GROWTH STRATEGY: David La Piana, Managing Partner of La Piana Consulting, Rinku Sen, a racial justice activist, author, and strategist, and Bradford Smith, President of Candid, discussed the upsides and risks of nonprofit mergers.' (3) VITAL BALANCE - INNOVATION AND SCALING FOR IMPACT IN THE SOCIAL SECTOR: Christian Seelos, co-author of the best-selling book 'Innovation and Scaling for Impact and co-director of the Global Innovation for Impact Lab at Stanford PACS, examined various 'innovation pathologies' that can derail organizations and 'innovation archetypes' - case study-based models that sidestep these threats, blending innovation with scaling. (4) LEVERAGING TALENT - THE POWER OF SKILLS-BASED VOLUNTEERING: Danielle Holly, CEO of Common Impact, Cecily Joseph, former VP of CSR at Symantec, and Greg Kimbrough, Lead Director of executive development at the Boys & Girls Club of America, shared insights gleaned from their experiences with volunteer programs. They talked about how can skills-based volunteering engage and strengthen your teams amid transitional, high-anxiety, or crisis situations. (5) ACHIEVING GREAT THINGS - THE ART AND SCIENCE OF ASPIRATIONAL COMMUNICATION: Doug Hattaway, President of Hattaway Communications, explored the best ways to use strategy, science, and storytelling to connect with an audience. (6) WORKING TOGETHER - HOW PUBLIC SECTOR AND NONPROFIT LEADERS CAN COLLABORATE TO TACKLE TOUGHEST CHALLENGES: Mayors Libby Schaaf of Oakland and Michael Tubbs of Stockton spoke with Autumn McDonald, Director of New America CA, about the best ways to build successful, mutually beneficial partnerships between local government and nonprofits. (7) TRUST, POWER, EQUITY - TELLING BETTER STORY TO OURSELVES AND THE WORLD: Jeffrey Moore, Chief Strategy Officer of Independent Sector, examined trends with the potential to restore the nonprofit sector's self-confidence and bring back the public's trust in it. (8) WEATHERING THE STORM - LESSONS ON EFFECTIVELY MANAGING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES: Maria Orozco, Principal of The Bridgespan Group, explored lessons from the last recession and drew from her organization's work in the years since to share insight on surviving and thriving in difficult times. (9) ACTIVATING AUDIENCES - PARTNERING BEYOND THE 'USUAL SUSPECTS' TO SPOTLIGHT SOCIAL ISSUES: Jessica Blank, a writer, director, actor, lecturer, and social innovator, Nicole Starr, VP for social impact at Participant Media, Marya Bangee, Executive Director of Harness, and Prof. Courtney Cogburn of Columbia University, discussed how storytelling can expand and accelerate social change and provided advice on how to wield narratives. (10) LEADING WITH PURPOSE - ACCEPTANCE, MINDFULNESS, AND SELF-COMPASSION: Leah Weiss, lecturer at Stanford GSB and the author of 'How We Work', described how to lead with acceptance and resilience using proven self-compassion and mindfulness techniques. (11) CLIMATE CHANGE - THE POWER OF TRANSCENDENT ISSUE TO MOTIVATE AND AFFECT REAL CHANGE: Larry Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Charlotte Pera, President & CEO of ClimateWorks Foundation, discussed the impact of climate change on society and nonprofits. Read on...
Stanford Social Innovation Review:
The Speed of Trust in an Anxious Era: Recap of the 2019 Nonprofit Management Institute
Authors: M. Amedeo Tumolillo, Barbara Wheeler-Bride
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 sep 2019
In the closing speech of United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, 'You understand that climate emergency is the fight of our lives, and for our lives. I thank young people around the world for leading the charge – and holding my generation accountable. We have been losing the race against climate crisis. But the world is waking up. Pressure is building. Momentum is growing. And - action by action - the tide is turning.' Not so long ago, Ernest Hemingway (Novelist and Nobel Laureate) said, 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.' And now the stern remarks of Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, in the UN Climate Summit resonated around the world and were call to action for governments, businesses and all those responsible. Although all humans have responsibility to maintain the environment, but along with governments, businesses have extra responsibility towards the upkeep of environment, particularly those that use natural resources or have direct impact on natural environment. So, what it takes to be a sustainable business? The answers are many and approaches different. In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as 'meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' For businesses to be sustainable would require change in current practices and they come with a cost. They have to evolve strategies towards sustainability by taking all the stakeholders on board. Moreover, one's move to sustainability may impact the environment in some other way. So, there are challenges to attain sustainability. Here are 4 reasons why it's hard for businesses to be sustainable - (1) THERE IS NO SINGLE DEFINITION OF 'SUSTAINABILITY': UN's Mr. Guterres in the recent Summit sets the goal to completely transform the world's economies to be more sustainable and find solutions to climate change. A daunting task considering the slow pace governments and businesses have been moving in that direction so far. Geoffrey Jones, a business history professor at Harvard University and the author of 'Profits and Sustainability: A History of Green Entrepreneurship', says, 'There is a crippling vagueness about what sustainability means. While carbon emissions are receiving much of the focus because of climate change, deforestation, water shortages and soil erosion are also serious problems that should not be ignored.' Lack of clear definition translates to lack of accountability. At present few companies can provide hard evidence that their businesses are not negatively impacting environment. Socially responsible investment funds (Environmental, Social & Governance - ESG) often include oil & gas companies, and also those that have plastics as an essential component of their business model. Businesses are tryig but it is a long way to go before they become truly sustainable. (2) DETERMINING THE VALUE OF SUSTAINABILITY: Switch to sustainability is costly for businesses. Bruno Sarda, President of the Carbon Disclosure Project North America, says, 'Someone can come up with a cost of doing something different much more quickly than determining what is the value to the business.' Sustainability solutions can be complex and expensive. (3) CONSUMING LESS CAN REDUCE PROFITS: Experts suggest that less consumption is road to sustainability. But, it is contrary to the basics of businesses - more consumption, more profits. There are exceptions though. Doug Freeman, COO of Patagonia (an outdoor clothing and gear company), says, 'We hope our existing customers do indeed buy less. But we hope to attract more customers that are interested in our message: to build the best product, to reduce our impact and cause the least amount of environmental harm.' (4) CLIMATE SOLUTIONS REQUIRE COLLECTIVE ACTION: 'Tragedy of the commons', an economic problem, creates a situation of competitive consumption of natural resources thereby depleting them. To overcome this, collaboration and cooperation, is imperative. Companies are now teaming up with each other and with environmental nonprofits. Joanne Sonenshine, CEO of Connective Impact, says, 'By working together, companies gain more leverage in the national and global marketplace and legitimacy in the eyes of consumers. If you have a group of very respectable nonprofits or research agencies saying we are working with this company because we believe they can make a change, that puts a lot of credence behind what they are trying to do.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2019
Utilizing technology to connect with audience & customers is effective and efficient. But, bringing the human element with personalization & customization, and engaging with them to build long-term relationships is even better. Best organizations often try to do that. Gabe Cooper, tech entrepreneur and nonprofit consultant, have suggestions for nonprofit organizations to build personalized communication strategies and making full use of automation technologies available. He says, 'When it comes to marketing software, in particular, nonprofits have long tried to make square pegs fit in round holes, getting locked into software and marketing practices that are fundamentally designed for for-profit marketing or that are based on legacy fundraising practices. This has resulted in mass marketing efforts that make your donors feel like 'sales opportunities' rather than crucial stakeholders in your cause.' Fundraising is an important activity for nonprofits and considering that they lack resources, it becomes even more crucial to be done right. He says, 'In our modern world, impersonal fundraising is a wet blanket on generosity, and that's a problem when you consider that nearly three-quarters of people who give a single gift never give again. They simply don't feel appreciated. That's where personalization through marketing automation comes in. Personalization allows each and every donor feel as though you're talking directly to them...Great personalization provides every donor with the right message at the right time based on their individual passions, capacity and relationship to your organization. Personalization, in this way, creates extreme loyalty.' He advocates a 3 point approach to apply personalization in nonprofit fundraising efforts - Know; Automate; Amplify. (1) KNOW: Gather as much information about your donors as is possible. (2) AUTOMATE: Use marketing automation software to send tailored messages - at the right time - based on what you know about each donor. (3) AMPLIFY: Use data analytics to understand what the right 'ask' should be. He also provides other ways to personalize marketing efforts: Keep the new donor campaigns running to engage them, and make them repeat donors; Use persona segmentation and apply the personalized content to connect with them; Utilize personalization technology/marketing automation that is designed specifically fo nonprofits. Mr. Cooper concludes, 'Taking a more personalized approach to your nonprofit fundraising efforts can result in more donor engagement, higher average gifts, big increases in donor loyalty, and most importantly, you donors will feel that they're part of your cause.' Read on...
Personalization Is the Engine That Drives Today's Givers
Author: Gabe Cooper
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
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