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September 24, 2010 / compassioninpolitics

“Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact” Review

The target audience of this book is non-profits looking to create earned revenue strategies (as opposed to new entrepreneurs–although the later group can certainly benefit from this book)

1) Example of a business plan in the appendix
2) Business planning time line (which can help create efficiency in starting up as well as provide a reasonable expectation about launching times)
3) Focus on execution and accountability
4) The reference to
5) Free and easy to understand (the short glossary also helps & the initial text is only about 55 pages long which makes it a quicker read)

I think I would prefer “Mission Inc” to “Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact” however this publication is unique in the inclusion of the business plan (also it helps create efficient processes and discusses systems which Mission Inc leaves off its radar).

Mission Inc draws on story more than does “BP for ESI” and is probably more inspiring for new social entrepreneurs (and university students). Mission Inc also seems to draw on more industries while “Biz Planning for Enduring Social Impact” seems to focus only on two or three. (You can find Mission Inc on Amazon for about $12). Also, I think a more explicit focus on marketing strategies and innovative revenue strategies (of 6 to 12 pages) could have made this a vastly more helpful book. That said, its fantastic that Root Cause gives the pdf away for free and it is a helpful resource that I will likely refer to again–and I’m sure many nonprofits will quite literally profit from its insights.

I don’t remember either volume including social impact assessment–but given that is such a contested issue. (also Root Cause has some free resources available on the issue of assessment). Its also worth pointing out that the organization REDF has some social enterprise business planning resources and templates (aka their business planning toolbox) available along with SCORE, which has a plethora of Excel templates.

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