Use Our Courses to Start, Build and Grow Your Social Enterprise.

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The Social Enterprise Institute, in Partnership with The Common Approach project, have created a tailored suite of impact measurement courses that form the foundations of impact measurement.  These common foundations give you everything you need to simply, accurately and consistently measure the impact your organization does within the hours you can dedicate to measurement. The common foundations are:  Plan your intended change  Use performance measures  Collect useful information  Gauge performance and impact  Report on results Read More

Impact Practice is the world’s most comprehensive online impact measurement program. Developed by international experts at the Social Enterprise Institute, it covers everything you know to plan, measure communicate and grow your social impact. Take the full program, or start with just a single course: 1. ESTABLISHING YOUR MISSION Your organization is on a mission to change society for the better. It all starts here. Find out how to tell others about your cause and why it matters. Learn how to build consensus on the mission that propels your work forward and defines its success. 2. DEFINING YOUR BUSINESS MODEL All successful social enterprises find the sweet spot between mission and money. Learn about the different businesses approaches that can be used to deliver your mission and how to design a business model that will maximise impact. 3. IDENTIFYING YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION Social enterprises are complicated organizations. They create value in many ways. Find out about value propositions, and how you can use them to describe the things that make your work distinctive, successful and uniquely valuable to others. 4. DEVELOPING A RESULTS FRAMEWORK Making a positive change in the world isn’t easy. It takes careful planning. Find out how to explain your theory of change, and how to use it to manage the relationship between your strategies, your performance, and the results you bring about. 5. USING PERFORMANCE MEASURES Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Find out how to find, use and apply performance measures to show that you are making progress and achieving the impact you hoped for. 6. COLLECTING USEFUL INFORMATION The facts are always friendly, so let good evidence guide your way. Find out how to decide what information you should be collecting and the methods that you can use. Learn about our 10 tips for better data collection and a simpler life. 7. GAUGING PERFORMANCE AND IMPACT Using data can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to drown in a sea of numbers. Find out how to assemble and analyze data quickly and in a way that stands up to scrutiny. Learn how to use data to make smarter and more impactful decisions. 8. REPORTING ON RESULTS You no longer have to get weighed down by the same dull reports. Find out how to produce a full, balanced and persuasive account of your work. Learn how to use narrative, numbers, images and stories to good effect. 9. COMMUNICATING WITH IMPACT Don’t keep your story a secret; shout it from the rooftops. Find out to use tried and tested communication methods to share your evidence, strengthen your message and mobilise an army of supporters behind your cause. 10. USING EVIDENCE TO GROW IMPACT Got your message out there but want to take things to the next level? Find out how to use evidence to drive a cycle of improvement – transparent performance, useful learning, better results, more support, and it goes on. Read More

As you start to envision the product or service you wish to bring to market, there are a number of steps and considerations that help create a success launch. This bundle introduces users to design thinking and prototyping, market research and pricing for impact and profit, as well as channeling and enterprise promotion. For any launch, proper promotion and market knowledge is equally as important as having a well-designed product or service. Prototyping: Start-ups are not like existing companies. When a company has an idea it already has customers and resources to run the product development cycle. A start-up must focus on pure customer development. Getting product / market fit right as early as possible is critical for a start-up so it doesn't burn out of cash. This requires walking a razor's edge of prototyping, shipping and iterating. Market Research: After completing this learning module, learners will be able to draft effective, concise, and meaningful market research questions to be used in surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, interviews and other primary market research). The course helps participants define what they need to know, avoid common pitfalls and mistakes, and actually draft a set of questions to guide the development and promotion of their business. Pricing for Impact and Profit: How do you put a price on transformational change? This course introduces non magical, yet effective techniques to price your product or service to maximize both social impact and financial sustainability. We will help you identify important information about your business to allow you to make informed, strategic and effective pricing decisions: know your costs, estimate your value in the market, and even determine why and when you might like to charge some people a little and some a lot. Promoting Your Social Enterprise: Explore, understand, and apply the promotions component of the “4 P’s of Marketing.” At the conclusion of this course you will be able to make strategic and effective choices on how to promote your products and services. Learn about market segmentation techniques to position your offering for each customer segment. Understand how and when to use your social value proposition in your promotions. Channels: After completing this learning module, learners will understand what a “channel” is and will recognize the importance of developing an effective channel strategy. They will receive a high-level introduction to popular channels and will learn how to identify and test different channels while maximizing their ROI and avoiding costly mistakes.  Design Thinking: This course introduces the design thinking process of solving a problem creatively, and how to use those problem-solving techniques to get at the core of the customer problem. Additionally, design thinking gets you to think about the development of your enterprise in necessary social and environmental contexts. You will examine multiple examples of processes used to interact with the individuals impacted by the problem. Read More

Steps to Startup is a world-leading startup program that teaches you to plan, build, and launch a successful social enterprise. As a Global Shaper, you have free access to the first three courses.  Steps to Startup will give you the knowledge, tools, and confidence you need to launch your social venture. You will work through a startup method developed by international experts, enabling you to design, test, and adjust your idea quickly and with confidence. You will develop the skills and mindset you will need for the journey, with world-class courses designed specially for busy social entrepreneurs. You will get practical advice, tips, and examples that will enable you to crush the challenges you'll face along the way. You will learn how to:  1. DEFINE THE PROBLEM Every social enterprise starts out to solve a social or environmental problem. Find out how to validate the seriousness and extent of the problem that moves you, how to get to its root cause and effect on people, and how to identify the required response. 2. PLAN YOUR SOCIAL IMPACT So a need exists, but how will the world be different and better because of your efforts? Find out how to plan for social impact, how to communicate your ‘theory of change’ to others, and how to get focused on the results you must deliver and account for. 3. BUILD SUPPORT FOR YOUR CAUSE While you’re now committed to a world-changing mission, you don’t need to act the hero, or go it alone. Find out how to develop your personal network, build a strong core team, recruit influential allies, and mobilise an army of supporters behind your cause. Read More

Recruitment, retention, and effective management of the workforce are pivotal to the success of all organizations, especially social enterprises. This program will introduce you to the basic principles in the Introduction to Human Resource Management where we accentuate the alignment between organizational mission and the operations of the enterprise.  In course 2, the Human Resources Development Cycle, you will learn the important process that every org needs to put in place when hiring. Course three focuses on specific insight around the Canadian Human Rights Act and provides information about addressing the needs of employees dealing with a disability who may need accommodation. The final course is optional but will help those who use volunteers to find and retain them for short-term and long-term projects. Here's an overview of the courses in this program: INTRODUCTION Recruitment, retention, and effective management of the workforce are pivotal to the success of all organizations, especially social enterprises. This course will introduce you to the basic principles of Human Resource Management; and provide tools to help clients develop a strategic HR plan that aligns with the mission of their social enterprise, and find, support, and retain volunteers for short-term and long-term projects. It will also provide information about addressing the needs of employees dealing with a disability who may need accommodation. Recommended courses in the module: 1.  INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT A good Human Resource professional lives and breathes the culture of an organization and helps to ensure that the core values of the organization are alive and well day in and day out. These resources provide an introduction to the basic principles of Human Resources Management that you can share with your clients, including attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent, sourcing and implementing training, and advising other managers on issues related to employees. 2. HUMAN RESOURCE PLANNING CYCLE The Human Resource planning cycle is absolutely key in the development and maintenance of any effective organization. If your client wants to attract and retain talented people, it is imperative that they have a well-defined Human Resources plan and strategy in place. An HR plan that is aligned with the organization’s business objectives will assist in creating a supportive work environment and culture that will help find and keep great people.  3. HUMAN RIGHTS: DISABILITY AND ACCOMMODATION  These resources provide learners with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with a piece of legislation that seems daunting but is in fact quite helpful when dealing with complex workplace issues. It’s important to have discussions around disability and accommodation proactively. The goal of this course is to provide the basic knowledge needed to effectively and sensitively address the needs of employees who require accommodation due to a disability. 4. VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT – OPTIONAL These resources help us consider the potential role of volunteers within a social enterprise, and focus on  the knowledge and tools needed to integrate volunteers into an operation for short-term and long-term projects. This module includes the steps necessary to recruit, train, place and acknowledge volunteers. The module will help you help your client consider issues that may arise throughout the process and put forward possible solutions and resources available to assist with volunteer management. Read More

Finance is the fuel required to propel your social enterprise forward. You may need outside finance from a bank or social lender to: Get things off the ground if you are starting something new. Maintain positive cash flow to deliver a service, finance a contract, or cover costs. Scale-up to take on more services, bigger contracts, or reach more people. Improve your long-term financial stability by buying an asset. Fortunately, there is an increasing variety of social investment options available to help you achieve social impact - loans, equity finance, bonds, and more. There’s a lot to think about though. Taking on investment is not suitable for every organization or in all circumstances. By taking on investment, you are taking on risk. Remember, (in most cases) the money is repayable. You also need to be ready with the right structure, skills, and business model to attract investors. The more you can prepare, the more likely you are to secure funding and the less likely to run into problems later. Developed in partnership with leading social finance intermediaries including Vancity Community Foundation, Verge Capital and SVX, this program has been designed to help social sector organizations get investment-ready. Through a series of 8 online courses, the program provides all of the information, insights and tools you will need to get ready for investment:  1. SOCIAL FINANCE 101 Taking outside investment may be an unfamiliar concept to you, or a complicated one at best. Learn all the basics of social finance, including about the main sources of finance, what they can be used for, and who supplies them. 2. DETERMINING YOUR FINANCIAL NEEDS Nearly every business has to raise money at some point. Learn how to figure out how much money you will need, the size and timing of the raise, the most suitable sources of funding, and which investment strategy is right for you. 3. FEASIBILITY MODELLING Before approaching an investor, you will need to demonstrate the viability of your business idea. Learn how to quickly consider all of the essential elements that impact financial feasibility, and build a simple model to validate assumptions. 4. COMPLETING A FEASIBILITY MODEL Before asking for investment in your business, you must ensure the numbers stack up. Learn how to combine market data with accurate modelling to see if your project makes sense, given your market and circumstances. 5. PRESENTING THE FINANCIAL DATA The financial data that you produce is only as good as the use you put it to. Find out how to analyse data from your financial model, how to present it, and how to use it to make your case for investment. 6. DEMONSTRATING SOCIAL IMPACT TO INVESTORS Social investors give money because they want social return, as well as financial return, and they need to be confident you can deliver both. Find out how investors assess impact and how you can produce a credible impact plan to satisfy them. 7. REFINING YOUR BUSINESS MODEL AND PLAN A carefully crafted business plan will help you explain to investors how you will use the money and how you will repay it. Learn how to assess your business model and strengthen your business plan based on investors’ most common requirements. 8. TAKING ON AN INVESTMENT Before investing, an investor will really do their homework. Brace yourself. Learn more about the deal room documentation you will need to collect, how you can deliver the perfect pitch, and how to prepare for negotiating final terms. Read More

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