6 Social Enterprise & Microfinance Insights

March 13, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

Just as effective nonprofit operation requires more than a desire to do good, it also requires more than throwing money at a problem and hoping it will go away.

    In their book “The Business of Doing Good,” Anton Simanowitz and Katherine Knotts, who have experience in microfinance and social purpose, offer six key insights for putting a social value proposition in a position to drive every aspect of an organization’s strategy and operations. Their insights include:

  • Don’t just offer products; respond to client needs. It is necessary to go beyond what clients want or like and ask what they actually need.
  • Ask good questions; have good conversations. Ask: What is working? What is working for whom?
  • Do what is says on the tin. When it comes to ensuring positive results for clients, the devil is in the detail of how products/services are delivered. Good intentions can be thwarted by operations infrastructure.
  • Motivate staff to do difficult work in an excellent way. Staffers need to understand not only what they need to do but also why it is important.
  • Own the dirt road. “It just can’t be done” and “You’ll never make it sustainable” are dirt roads that managers are told are too difficult to travel. Start with the goals and work backward from there.
  • Adapt to the changing landscape. What an organization decides to do today depends on internal and external variables that are constantly in motion.
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