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Ashoka

Chatting About Social Entrepreneurship

As I announced in an earlier post, yesterday I participated in a Live Chat organized by the Foundation Center about social entrepreneurship. Abby Chroman from Ashoka joined me as a fellow panelist, along with The Foundation Center’s Katie Artzner who moderated.

We took questions from the audience about social entrepreneurship, social change, where nonprofits fit in the social innovation movement, social return on investment, measuring outcomes, fundraising and much more. It was a fast and furious hour with great discussion and great questions. This was a fun format because there was no audio, only text chatting.

If you missed it, you can still view the chat on the Foundation Center’s website here. And below is an excerpt from the discussion just to give you a taste.

_______________________________

Foundation Center’s Grant Space Live Chat

Comment From Dan:

How do you deal with accountability in the social entrepreneurship sector? Should social entrepreneurs be democratically accountable to those whose lives they seek to impact?

2:38
Katie:

How about we start with Nell.

2:38
Nell Edgington:

Dan, I’m not sure what you mean by “democratically accountable,” but they should absolutely should be accountable to their theory of change. Any social change org should have a theory of change (argument for how they are using community resources to create positive change). Once they have a theory of change they must measure whether that change is actually occurring.

2:38
Abby:

Accountability is a huge part of social entrepreneurship. It’s why we take a person’s “ethical fiber” as a very very serious part of our selection criteria for leading social entrepreneurs.

2:39
Katie:

“ethical fiber”? Can you explain?

2:39
Abby:

Yes, this is the level of trust we invest in our Ashoka Fellows that they will not only solve the social problem but that they will be accountable for their impact.

2:40
Abby:

It sounds odd, but imagine if you would stand on the edge of a cliff with someone…

2:40
Abby:

Do you trust them 100%?

2:40
Katie:

Depends!

2:40
Nell Edgington:

Can I jump in here for a second?

2:40
Katie:

Absolutely, Nell

2:40
Abby:

If no, why not? That’s the kind of rhetorical question we’d ask.

2:41
Nell Edgington:

That’s a really interesting concept to me. To me, social change is a very complex combination of people, money, ideas, structures, etc.

2:41
Nell Edgington:

It can never be dependent on just one person. So how can you know whether a single actor is actually going to make change happen?

2:42
Abby:

The person is will catalyze the change, but you’re right – it involves whole systems. So we’re back to systems!

You can see the whole live chat here.

Photo Credit: AlexDixon

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Are You a Social Entrepreneur?

I’m excited to report that a week from today, July 26th, I will be participating in a live online chat at the Foundation Center’s Grant Space website, titled “Are You a Social Entrepreneur?“.

Abby Chroman, leader of global community curation for AshokaHub, and I will be fielding questions from the audience about social entrepreneurship, social change, nonprofit innovation, capacity capital, social return on investment and much more.

Some of the questions we’ll be discussing include:

  • What qualities do social entrepreneurs possess?
  • How is this concept different from traditional corporate structure, even one with a socially-minded mission?
  • How do you truly accomplish social change vs. simply doing “good” work?
  • How can nonprofits especially incorporate some of this thinking to be successful in fulfilling their missions?
  • How do you measure social impact and return?

But the majority of questions are up to the audience. This live chat will happen entirely in the chat window on the Grant Space website. When the chat goes live, you can submit your questions and comments and interact with Abby and me and other readers, but you can also send questions ahead of time.

So join us! Registration is free at the Grant Space web site here. I look forward to your questions!


Photo Credit: Colin_K

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