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Impact Strategies for Nonprofit Founders

SOCAP Global October 16, 2023

Tips on Funding, Team-Building, and Transparency

This year’s SOCAP23 Entrepreneur Program includes nonprofit founders, and a special series of tracks designed to prepare and support them in their donor-seeking journey. The virtual sessions covered topics including maintaining a strong team and culture, connecting with funders, and tapping into tools for funding transparency.  

The virtual sessions for founders are facilitated by a variety of subject matter experts. We’re grateful for the knowledge, time, and guidance they are sharing with the founders and the broader SOCAP community. 

Find highlights and takeaways below from the nonprofit sessions. Look for the nonprofit founders from the SOCAP23 Entrepreneur Program cohort when they present on stage about the unique challenges their companies are addressing. They’ll also be actively connected to funders through deal rooms. Register now to join them October 23-25 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco

Scaling and Preserving Team Culture

Presented by Lou Bergholz of Edgework Consulting, which believes that strong relationships transform organizations and communities. Edgework Consulting partners with a range of organizations to shape behavior and performance by facilitating high-impact shifts in mindset, knowledge, skills, and organizational structure.

Takeaways and highlights:

  • Thriving workplace cultures have higher rates of innovation and lower rates of burnout and layoffs. But as organizations grow and scale, the team culture often suffers. 
  • The key drivers to successful organizational culture are leaders, people, experiences, behavior codes and systems, and artifacts. 
  • Organizational leaders seeking to create and sustain a thriving team culture should focus on commitment to purpose and brand; visibility in the organization; actions that reinforce your values; stories that convey your mission; going first to encourage others to take similar actions.

Connecting with Funders as a Nonprofit

Presented by Maria Fernanda Sierra Perea and Vijay Raghunathan of Propel, which believes that digitally strengthening nonprofits is critical for their sustainable growth. Propel is building a community of impact-driven leaders to create positive education outcomes for millions of children in Latin America.

Takeaways and highlights:

  • When approaching funders for the first time, create a connection by learning about them and presenting the impact and story behind your organization before going into concrete details and statistics.
  • Engagement with funders should progress through different levels. Start by detailing the purpose for the work, then move to details about organizational priorities and goals, and then to more specific information about the organizational plan and operations. 
  • Be able to explain why the work is important to you and for your region, and convey these ideas in just a few words. 

Rethinking Your Relationship to Funding

Presented by Kristi Fairholm Mader of Scale Collaborative, which supports organizational transformation through coaching, consulting, learning programs, and capacity building. 

Takeaways and highlights:

  • The nonprofit space is seeing a financing shift for several reasons, including a reduction in core and government funding, more nonprofits, new grant trends, greater pressure on grant streams, and changing organization needs. 
  • It can be helpful to shift from a scarcity mentality to one of abundance by considering limited beliefs about money and how those beliefs affect an organization.
  • Be intentional and proactive about shifting organizational culture around money, risk, and opportunity.

The Retention Equation: Why Your Best Talent Is Leaving and What You Can Do About It 

Presented by Lisa Brown Alexander of Nonprofit HR, which focuses on talent management needs of the social sector, including nonprofits, associations, social enterprises, and other mission-driven organizations. 

Takeaways and highlights:

  • Smaller organizations are affected more when workers leave due to their size and limited resources to dedicate to rehiring.
  • Common reasons for leaving an organization include a lack of opportunity for advancement and higher salary/benefits. Company culture, work-life boundaries, and remote work also are factors.
  • Examine the characteristics and reasons people are leaving an organization — and why others are staying. Use these to help create individualized retention strategies and shape workplace culture.

The Age of Transparency in Impact Funding

Presented by Andi Hernandez of PYMO, a startup dedicated to connecting companies with NGOs in Mexico to help them find funds for their social projects. With an emphasis on transparency and follow-up, PYMO provides a crowdfunding platform that connects donors with SDGs. 

Takeaways and highlights:

  • As the global impact investing market grows, transparency is growing increasingly important for funders and founders.
  • Common challenges that nonprofits make related to transparency include lacking alignment with international impact indicators, lacking a systemic method to collect data and measure outcomes, and neglecting to collect feedback from beneficiaries. 
  • Nonprofits can consider some tools to help track data, including sensors and validation apps, to aid decision-making and enhance transparency. 

Social Influencers and Creators to Grow Your Social Enterprise 

Presented by Michael Seiler of Collective Impact Network, which works with organizations, leaders, and communities to accelerate positive social and environmental impact through growth marketing and new technology. 

Takeaways and highlights:

  • Start by identifying target audience members based on organizational goals. Then consider why they should care, what content is relevant to them, and where and how content should be shared. 
  • Make the most of each piece of content. One story can be used to create a full campaign with videos, graphics, and other elements.
  • Consider partnering with mission-aligned content creators and influencers who have strong relationships with followers. 

Hidden Gems for a Winning Capital Campaign 

Presented by Derry Deringer of Deringer Consulting, LLC. Deringer is a fundraising advisor who works with nonprofit executives, fundraisers, and board members. With more than 15 years of fundraising experience, he helps nonprofits with capital campaigns and other initiatives.

Takeaways and highlights:

  • For a lot of organizations, the largest barrier to launching a capital campaign is determining where to begin and how to manage the campaign. 
  • Showcase the fundraising goal or cause to help people understand the impact of their donation. The length of a capital campaign affects outreach and goals.
Social Entrepreneurship
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