We used to call them philanthropists or just “generally good people,” but I have another name entering the common lexicon for successful business people who become social activists – the “social entrepreneur.”
Examples of these “social entrepreneurs” could include environmentalist President Teddy Roosevelt, railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, and tech guru Bill Gates. Each of these men made names for themselves in the cutthroat world of private enterprise before investing some of their vast resources into nonprofit endeavors.
I’d like to point out, the name reveals much about the connections and overlaps between building and operating a business, and building and operating a non profit organization. Particularly in the marketing and PR fields.
While the messages and the markets are different, many of the principles are essentially the same.
Communication is job one
If your target market does not know what you are about or why they should get involved, they won’t give you a second thought. Therefore, consistent and coherent PR is an absolute must.
Establishing value is vital
Whether for profit or for a charitable cause, if you cannot attach value to your endeavor, people will not be willing to help you monetize it. They need to understand not only what they are getting, but also the basic intrinsic value of the offering.
Expanding is expected
Increasing market share is an important success metric in for-profit endeavors. The same could be said for nonprofits. Did we bring in more funds than last year? Did we do more good with those resources? These questions are more similar to those asked by entrepreneurs than many non-profit organizers realize.
And, even those social entrepreneurs with massive resources get nowhere unless they tell others what they are doing. All the money in the world is not effective unless you can build a team worthy of those resources. To do that, you have to have the right vision, and the right team helping you communicate that message in a connective way.
Are you one?