Awesome Tools I Use Daily to Manage a Social Enterprise (Most are Free!)

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BUSINESS TOOLS

ASANA

You guys. I made the switch from Trello to Asana. And it's LIFE CHANGING. This free project management software is great for managing and organizing your social enterprise's team and projects. There are paid options for larger teams, but the free version is incredibly robust. Get Asana.

G SUITE

Use Gmail with your custom domain! G Suite, formerly known as Google Apps for Work, includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Forms... you get the idea. Collaborate in one doc and access it from any computer or mobile device. Starting at $5 per month, you can get a customized email (yourname@yoursocialenterprise.org) and access to the G Suite for your social enterprise. Click here and I'll send you a coupon for 20% off!

CANVA

Canva is THE resource for designing graphics, especially if you don’t have a graphic design background. I’m definitely not a graphic designer - this tool is a life saver! You can create social media images, flyers, blog post graphics - all with preset dimensions and layouts so your graphics are sure to look awesome. Plus, it’s free and super user-friendly!

MOO

Once you've designed something beautiful in Canva, you can order those items in print through Moo. I've ordered business cards, postcards, stickers and mini-cards from Moo - and every time I hand one of those little guys to someone, they ask where I got it. Super high quality, feels amazing, and doesn't fade. Plus, they have a new business card option that's made from 100% recycled t-shirts! How cool is that? Click here to get 20% off your first order at Moo. 

STICKER MULE

Or check out Sticker Mule for super high-quality stickers, labels, magnets, buttons and packaging to brand your social enterprise. Get $10 off your order here!

SQUARESPACE

Squarespace is the BEST website management platform. You can seriously get your website launched and domain purchased in a matter of minutes with their beautiful templates and user-friendly layout. If you've been frustrated by all the plug-ins of Wordpress, definitely check out Squarespace. It gives you more time to run your social enterprise and less time worrying about website layout and customization.

MAILCHIMP

MailChimp is my favorite email service provider for email marketing. As a social enterprise, you'll want to stay in touch with your supporters, and email is a great way to do that. Plus, I like to give the computer screen a high five after I send an email. I love that little monkey. #truestory

VISME

Visme is a great alternative to Canva, if you're not a designer and want to create amazing graphics. I recently used this tool to create the reader survey recap into an infographic. Pretty cool, eh? They have a plan that's totally free, and tons of free starter layouts, so you can make pretty presentations in just a few minutes. 

SELF-CARE

FIVE MINUTE JOURNAL

I've never really been into journaling. Some people can just sit down and write, but it's never really been for me. But this Five Minute Journal was something I had to try. It's basically three questions in the morning, and two at night, focusing on the good. If you want to just try it out, get the free pdf here

BOOKS

Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done is a book about how to manage all that clutter. Email clutter, pieces of paper clutter, brain clutter. If you've struggled (or someone on your team has struggled) with keeping up on emails and productivity, give this system a try. It does take a little time to get used to, but Inbox Zero is an amaaaaaaaazing feeling to achieve.

The Alchemist

If you've ever thought - "What am I even doing right now? Why am I bothering? What is this all leading to?" - you must read The Alchemist. Anyone who's doubted themselves or asked if the tough work of social entrepreneurship is worth it, read this book. I don't normally read fiction, but this is my number one top fiction recommendation.

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Every social enterprise should be implementing the Traction (EOS) system and set of tools. If you've had issues with accountability, alignment of values, productivity, or reaching goals, check out this book. There's a huge resource library with downloadable tools online - I found it's helpful to have those tools handy as you read, so you can implement right away. 

Get A Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business

Related to Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business - this book is the narrative version of the EOS system implementation. I found this a little easier to digest - just reading it like a story of a company going through the process of implementing the EOS system. 

TEMPLATES

View all of the templates I've used to launch and grow social enterprises in the past!


 

A few of the links above are affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of the product links and purchase something, I may receive a small commission. This allows me to make free content for you. I only recommend products I use and love!

26 Essential Social Enterprise Books

BONUS

This post contains affiliate links.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps

Coming up with a good social enterprise idea is one of the biggest hurdles new social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations face. We want to “do good,” but how do we actually develop those innovative and sustainable social enterprise ideas?

By the end of this post, you’ll have the five steps to finding your social enterprise idea. But before we dig in, download the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook to keep track of your ideas as we brainstorm!

Let’s jump right in and talk about how to generate ideas for social enterprise at your nonprofit organization and social entrepreneurship ideas to create on your own.

The best social enterprise ideas are built off of four main components:

  1. Passion

  2. Talent

  3. Market

  4. Cause

I call this Intersection, the SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SWEET SPOT.

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

Whether you’re developing social entrepreneurship ideas for yourself or social enterprise ideas for your nonprofit, we’ll go through the steps to find the perfect idea.

 

1 | PASSION

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

What do you love to do?

What gets you so happy you talk about it all the time?

What are your hidden talents and hobbies?

What do you do in your spare time? What would you do if you didn’t need to work?

What is your team super excited about?

Maybe your nonprofit already has areas they are passionate about. If you’re looking to start a social enterprise with a team, be sure to write down all of the passions of the team members.

 

Don't worry about business ideas just yet - write down everything that you are passionate about in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

 

2 | TALENT

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

What are you good at?

What are your natural skills and abilities?

What are you formally trained in or have education in?

What did you go to school for? What do you have a certification in?

What does your organization know how to do really well?

Do you work for a nonprofit organization that is the best at preparing young adults for work? If you’re working on this with a team, write down all of the talents and skills for individual team members, as well as skills of the organization.

Write down all of your talents and skills in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

 

3 | MARKET

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

Now this section may take a little work, just a heads up. But this is SO WORTH IT. This is the part that creates the BUSINESS of your social enterprise idea. Because without someone to pay you, you just have a nonprofit program. And don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly a time and place for nonprofit programs. But, if you can find an ideal customer who will pay you for a product or service, well then you’ve got yourself a social enterprise.

What is there a market opportunity for?

What will customers pay you for?

What products or services could you charge a fee for?

What problems exist that a customer would pay you for?

Sometimes it’s easier to think about this question in terms of what do people complain about. What have you noticed or heard in your community as a problem?

Write down any potential market opportunities in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

 

4 | CAUSE

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

This is probably going to be the easiest part of the whole process to identify, because just by finding and reading this post, you have an interest in solving a social or environmental issue.

What social or environmental issue are you trying to solve?

You probably already have an idea about what cause you are most passionate about, and maybe even listed it above already!

Perhaps you or someone you know has suffered because of a social or environmental issue. Perhaps you feel strongly about a particular cause from past volunteer experience. Nearly all social entrepreneurs I’ve met have some type of personal tie to the cause they are supporting through their social enterprise, and trust me - this personal drive really helps stay grounded and keep your social enterprise running when you want to throw in the towel. #socentrealtalk

If you’re not totally sure what cause to support, if you’re new to all of this, or need ideas, check out the Global Goals for Sustainable Development at www.globalgoals.org.

In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
— www.globalgoals.org

Write down the cause area you choose to support in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

 

5 | INTERSECTIONS

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

Now comes the super fun part!

DEVELOP YOUR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IDEA BY FINDING INTERSECTIONS

Review the first two pages of the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

What themes do you recognize?

Do all of your ideas have to do with women’s empowerment and products for women? Do all of your ideas circle around recycling and diverting waste from the landfill?

What combinations of ideas go together?

Let’s say you’re passionate about cooking, and work for a nonprofit working with homeless youth. You’ve noticed that there’s a food desert (no/low access to healthy food) in the neighborhood. Could there be an opportunity to create a food truck that delivers healthy food to low income communities? See how those ideas fit together? Take some time in this section to really think and explore combinations. The combinations of ideas don’t necessarily have to be around a theme. Let your creativity go wild here!

What ideas stand out to you or get you most excited?

Trust me - you’re going to need that excitement. If you’re not bursting-at-the-seams excited about an idea, cross it off. For example, you may have cooking skills but don’t enjoy food prep or clean up, so you’re not going to be excited to start a new social enterprise in food service. See what I mean? Circle all of the ideas that get you really excited, and cross off anything that doesn’t.

Write down all of those combinations and intersections in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SWEET SPOT

Pick out the best idea from the intersections above in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook, and write that in the space provided. Draw some hearts and stars, exclamation points, or whatever you fancy. That's your Social Enterprise Sweet Spot!

You did it! CONGRATS!

 

This is just the first step in starting a social enterprise business.

If you're serious about actually launching a social enterprise business, you'll want to write a plan and make sure your idea is relevant, sustainable, and marketable.

I created the Launch Your Social Enterprise course just for you to easily take the next step. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

The Ultimate Social Enterprise Job Search Guide

The social enterprise field is still emerging and it can be difficult to find social enterprise jobs. They are few and far between, and even when one opens, it can be hard to find before it’s filled. 

This social enterprise job search guide is tried and tested with job seekers looking for their dream job that makes an impact. Print out the job search resource guide and follow along with the steps below, and you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect social enterprise job.

 

1 | Find your Passion

What do you care most about?

If you’re not sure, or can’t decide - because WHOA NELLY there’s a lot of stuff to care about right now - take this quiz via the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. It’s just 6 questions and only takes a few minutes. Your results will be your top 3 goals that align with your answers.

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development are:

2 | Volunteer for an Organization that Aligns with Your Passion

Find a local nonprofit organization that align with the global goal area you identified above. Visit their website and look for a link that says “Get Involved” or “Volunteer Opportunities” to see their volunteer openings. Job candidates that have recent and relevant volunteer experience in the same goal area are more likely to stand out to employers!

You can find these nonprofit organizations by visiting volunteer listings like:

3 | Network in the Social Enterprise Field

Eww, I know networking is not everyone’s favorite thing to do, but I’ve got news for you - it’s necessary and it works. Even if you hate going to networking events, or are super-introverted like me, you can still make this time totally worthwhile.

My approach to networking events: be a friend and be of service.

Meaning, don’t go into a networking event with the intent of selling or focusing on what you have to gain. Be a friend, be nice and respectful, and be of service to each person you meet. What can you offer to the person you meet, that THEY will find valuable?


What you’ll need BEFORE you go to a networking event:

Business Cards for Job Search

I recommend moo.com for super high quality business cards for YOURSELF. Include your name, personal email address, phone number and any other relevant information (Twitter handle, website URL, etc). Notice I said RELEVANT. Please don’t include your Twitter handle if don’t tweet about topics related to your passion area.

Job Search Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief description of who you are and what you do - that takes 30 seconds to 2 minutes (the average ride in an elevator). Fill in the mad lib in the worksheet to create your elevator pitch.

When you have business cards and have practiced your elevator pitch, now you're ready to attend networking events. Find events through the Social Enterprise Alliance, your local Council of Nonprofits chapter, other associations, Net Impact, Social Venture Partners, local colleges and universities with a social impact major, social impact conferences and other public meetings.

4 | Apply for Social Enterprise Jobs

Now that you know what you’re passionate about, and you have volunteer experience in that passion area, and have met other people who are like-minded, you’re ready to apply for jobs.

Some of the best job board for finding social enterprise jobs are:

Social Enterprise Alliance: The Social Enterprise Alliance was one of the first associations for social enterprise and social entrepreneurs. Their job board features job openings across the United States, although the jobs tend to be in areas where there is also a Social Enterprise Alliance local chapter.

National Council of Nonprofits: Find your state affiliation and search their job board for nonprofit (and sometimes social enterprise) job openings.

Net Impact: Full variety of nonprofit, for-profit, foundation, and university jobs related to solving social and environmental issues.

B Corp: List of open jobs with certified B Corp companies. (What is a B Corp? Find out here.)

Set up an Indeed alert for “social enterprise”: Search for the term social enterprise on Indeed, add your zip code or geographic region, and email address - and voila! Indeed will send you a daily digest by email of your search results. So much easier than constantly checking job boards.

Google Group for Social Enterprise Jobs: Hit and miss resource for social enterprise job postings. 

Idealist: Variety of jobs related to nonprofit and social enterprise work.

 

Now go onward! Explore your passions, volunteer in the field, network with like-minded people, and apply for jobs. 

Make sure to download the free social enterprise job search guide to help you get organized.

Good luck job searching!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest