Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Social Enterprise and CED

Penny Handford, another friend of the VSEF, will be leading a course on Social Enterprise at SFU in October.

The details are (from the SFU link):

Friday and Saturday, October 21and 22, 2005, 8:30 am–4:30 pm

Fee $420 (registration deadline: September 30, 2005)

Social enterprises operate with multiple bottom lines. They generate revenues and create significant social and environmental value. Social enterprises grow out of community processes and are a new model for sustainable community initiatives. This course explores the concept, characteristics and types of social enterprise as well as planning issues such as venture selection, organizational systems and structures, for-profit/mission-based cultural challenges, and measurements of success.

By the end of the course, participants should:
    - understand the concepts, values and applications of social enterprise

    - be able to identify opportunities in the community which could be well served by the development of social enterprise

    - understand the roles of economic development organizations, corporations, government, financial organizations and consultants in the development of social enterprise

    - be able to assess the readiness of a group or organization to develop a social enterprise


Penny Handford has over 30 years experience in the non-profit sector. She has a special interest in all facets of social enterprise and has developed a for-profit business as a wholly-owned subsidiary of a non-profit agency. She co-created the curriculum for a training course in social entrepreneurship offered by the British Columbia Institute of Technology's Venture Development Centre. Handford's skills, knowledge and experience include assessing organizational capacities and challenges; managing change and transition; creative problem solving; strategic planning; team building; and board development.

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Monday, July 25, 2005

E-engagement programs through Simon Fraser University

Alexandra Samuel and Ann Svendsen will be delivering a tele-forum and workshop on stakeholder engagement through SFU.

Here are the details:

Do you need to build relationships with new stakeholder groups? Are you managing complex issues and relationships with limited resources? Is information management and information sharing crucial to your stakeholder engagement work?

Online tools can help you manage all of these stakeholder engagement challenges. Engagement leaders have recognized that tools like online discussions, resource libraries and surveys can increase the reach and effectiveness of almost any stakeholder engagement program.

Beginning in September 2005, the Collaborative Learning & Innovation program at Simon Fraser University is offering two opportunities to learn more about the values, tools and approaches that drive successful online stakeholder engagement.

The Online Stakeholder Engagement Teleforum is a series of six monthly conference calls for engagement practitioners. These monthly discussions will focus on collaborative knowledge-building among participants in order to create a learning community that is useful to the work of its members. Participants will develop the field knowledge and analytic framework to assess e-engagement options and to plan for effective online engagement with key stakeholders. The first session will be held on September 14; calls will be held from 10 am – noon PST, and international participation is welcomed.

The Online Stakeholder Engagement Workshop will be held on October 17 in Vancouver, Canada. This one-day workshop will provide an intensive introduction to online engagement work, emphasizing online engagement as a catalyst for increasing the depth and value of public involvement work. Participants will get hands-on experience with a range of online engagement tools, and will develop their own perspective on the opportunities for online participation through discussion and group exercises.

Both the Teleforum and the in-person workshop will be co-taught be Alexandra Samuel and Ann Svendsen. For further information please visit the CLI web site, or e-mail Alexandra (alex_at_alexandrasamuel_dot_com) or Ann (svendsen_at_sfu_dot_ca).

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Monday, July 18, 2005

Ten Things That Every Nonprofit Executive Needs to Know About Information Technology

Deborah Elizabeth Finn blogs on technology and infrastructure in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can see her post here, but this is her top ten list:

    1) Very little technical knowledge is required in order for nonprofit CEOs to participate actively in strategic IT planning.

    2) Your board of directors should be calling for and participating in your strategic information technology planning.

    3) A tremendous number of high-quality resources for strategic IT planning are available to nonprofits at no charge.

    4) You can keep an eye on innovations in IT, and think about possible uses for them in the nonprofit sector, even if you don't have a technical background.

    5) Information technology, no matter how strategically you apply it, will probably never save your nonprofit organization any money.

    6) You need an in-house IT committee.

    7) Secretaries and administrative assistants should be the lynchpins of your IT infrastructure.

    8) In the long run, IT training and support will make up about 70% of your IT budget. The more obvious line items - such as hardware, software, and network services - will comprise about 30%.

    9) Donated hardware, software, and services can cost a nonprofit more than purchased products or services in the long run.

    10) In a nonprofit organization, most strategic IT problems are actually organizational development problems.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Selling Lifestyle

Food is an interesting opportunity for North American social entrepreneurs. It pays to keep tabs on how our food retailers market local goods. Which is why I'm asking, have you noticed a change at the Wild Oats owned Capers?

The produce department is making the extra effort of identifying local goods and the people who bring them to us. There's even a colour coded system to help the 'buy local' challenged (namely me).

Now ... if only the idea spreads to the rest of the store ...

This article on Whole Foods and their approach to building market share may be something the folks at Capers might like to consider.

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Accountability: Sea Vancouver

In the wake of the Sea Vancouver fiasco, we're left wondering about the lessons to be gleaned.
The next VSEF roundtable is slated to discuss accountability ... I think Sea Vancouver may be a topic. From what can be gathered, relying on media snippets, the event is a rich trove of things not to do.

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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Keeping up with Susan

Susan Bazilli is a friend of the VSEF.

So it was great to read an update on Susan at Jim Fruchterman's Benetech blog.

Jim wrote:
Susan Bazilli, an international human rights attorney, recently brought Martus to the attention of the women's rights community in Africa, through a posting to the Women's Information Technology Transfer site. Plus, we recently spotted this article on the Open Source Africa site. And all this is on top of Martus work we're actively engaged with in Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt.

Susan is a key supporter of the Canadian Social Entrepreneurs Network.

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Monday, July 04, 2005

New project to raise awareness of the voluntary sector in Canada

Eight national organizations have come together to launch an innovative new project intended to raise awareness about the Canadian “voluntary sector”.

The Voluntary Sector Awareness Project, funded by Social Development Canada and lead by Imagine Canada is intended to generate dialogue and solicit feedback from a broad range of charities and non-profits and, over the summer of 2006, to launch a public awareness campaign to be delivered by the sector utilizing communications resources provided by the project.

Over the summer of 2005 a short discussion paper will be widely disseminated outlining the benefits and challenges of creating a “unified voice” for the voluntary sector. The purpose of the paper is to both raise interest and seek input on the value of a more integrated sector-wide communications strategy. Over the fall 100 community conversations will be held across the country, involving thousands of local and provincial organizations in order to deepen and enrich this dialogue and feedback process.

The project offers a wonderful opportunity to challenge diverse and different voluntary organizations to consider commonality and to think about how speaking to Canadians through a shared vision-centered campaign may enhance their individual abilities to achieve goals.

There are a number of ways that local, provincial and national voluntary organizations can get involved in the project: order a copy of the discussion paper, attend a community conversation, participate in the public campaign utilizing the materials and messaging provided, and send feedback.

Here are the list of the Voluntary Sector Awareness Project Staff Team:

Project Manager:

Project Coordinators:

The Voluntary Sector Awareness Project Partners Committee

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