- Network at a social innovation event
- Write about social innovation topics you are interested in
- Social innovation fellowship programs
- Informational interviews
- Organize an event for the social innovation community
- Freelance writing
- B Corporation Job Board
- Contact individuals with your credentials
- Intern at a social venture
- Go back to school for a degree or certification in a social innovation field
- Green Jobs Network
- Ask for an introduction, or introduce others in the field
- Join the Hub
- Attend a social innovation conference
- Work or volunteer at a social innovation conference
- Build a social innovation IQ
- Follow Social Capital Markets on Twitter
- Search for #socent #jobs on Twitter
- Build a niche skill relevant to social enterprise
- Follow NextBillion on Twitter
- Talk about social innovation over coffee
- Re-think about “work” as multiple jobs & projects vs. a single “day job”
- Travel abroad
- LinkedIn Job search
- Read posts on SocialEarth, and write
- Watch the Do Lectures on iTunes, then do something
- Create a social innovation resume, show how you strive for the triple bottom line
- Update your LinkedIn profile
- Explore ways to create passive income so you can work, and your resources can work for you
- Start a social business so you can employ yourself and be a social employer
- Search on Indeed
- Monster, search for social innovation jobs
- Be willing to move anywhere
- Contact a professor doing social innovation research, find out if you help
- Craigslist jobs, gigs, volunteering
- Develop your public speaking skills
- Bookmark careers page for 10 foundations, check back regularly for postings
- Find other social innovation job seekers—meet & discuss job search strategies (Meetup)
- Read books on the subject, develop ability to evaluate social innovation content
- Choose one social issue you are passionate about and do 5 things to alleviate the issue
1. Social Media Examiner Blog. I recently came across this site from a link to a post on ways non-profits can benefit from social media. The site delivers its tagline “Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle” through posts useful information and vivid images on tools and industry findings about ways to improve your social media reach.
2. Social Media for Nonprofits Seminar. If you learn best in a live setting, you may choose to kick off your social media knowledge (or develop it further) through the popular day-long seminar which brings together non-profit leaders with social media experts. I will be attending the event in SF area this week and look forward to reporting back on the experience.
3. Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals. The emcee of the Social Media for Nonprofits Seminar served as executive director of the Craigslist Foundation and edited this book on managing non-profit resources, including social media.
4. Meetup Groups. After a point of experimenting with new techniques, reading articles, blogs, and books—you may find yourself just wanting to be in a room with other people who are facing the same questions and issues with their social media. Meetup groups may be your answer. For example, I am looking into migrating from Blogger to WordPress, and just from a quick search on Meetup I not only found a number of WordPress groups but also learned about a great seminar on the ins and outs of that platform.
5. LinkedIn Groups. If you want the digital version of a Meetup group, join a few LinkedIn groups related to your social innovation interest or social media needs. Group members share articles, upcoming events, and new research—and with the active comment sections you may even find it to be a useful networking opportunity. My tip: start out with a few groups, otherwise you may feel inundated with useful information.
6. Social Media Job Descriptions. Here’s an odd one, that makes sense. How can you learn about what social media tools industries are using? A great start is to look at social media job descriptions for social ventures you appreciate or respect—they often list the tools, platforms, and analytics that they expect candidates to be familiar with. It’s a great way to ‘check your notes’ to see if you are using those tools (or are familiar with them) too.
7. Conferences and UnConferences. I love live events—the idea of listening to information, laughing at jokes, and talking to people before and after and ‘in the hallways’ fascinates me. And I have met some great, inspiring people at various events. My suggestion is to take every opportunity to take your social network live.
8. Book Talks. Another great way to get in the know is to check with your local bookstore about upcoming book talks. There are bound to be a few related to social media, marketing, or management. Being able to hear an author talk about his/her experience in writing a book and the questions that the book answers is not only informative and engaging, but you may find yourself in great company.
9. Fiverr.com. If you are looking to complete a specific social media task, you may want to tap a fiverr member. The site lists tasks that a person will complete for $5. While you probably won’t be able to get your entire website re-designed, you may be able to have someone do an SEO review of your site or send you a list of the most valuable keywords. If you are a budding operation, outsourcing a few tasks may make your time more effective.
10. Informal Intros. I have found social innovators to be a remarkably open and helpful group of folks. If you were ever wondering “how did they do that” with regards to a website, social media strategy, cause marketing, or audience engagement—you may want to just ask. By email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook comment—you may find that an informal intro to be a great way to connect and share useful information.
Whether you are an experienced social innovator or are looking to build your skill set, a fellowship can help take you to the next level–through curriculum, mentorship, collaboration, and connecting with other talented and motivated fellows.Here is a list of 50+ fellowship programs. The first 17 or so fellowships have rolling admission deadlines. The remainder are grouped by the month the application is due. The fellowships support social innovation to varying degrees and have varying requirements—so take a stroll and click through the links to continue your research.
- Ashoka Fellows Program. Apply anytime.
- Deshpande Foundation India Fellowship Program. Apply anytime.
- Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. Apply anytime.
- Mind Trust Education Entrepreneur Fellowship. Apply anytime.
- Rainer Arnhold Design Fellowship Program. Apply anytime.
- REDF Farber Fellowship. Apply anytime.
- Reynolds Fellowships Harvard University.
- Georgetown Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program.
- PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows Program. Apply by invitation.
- TED Senior Fellows Program. Selected from Past Fellows.
- IDEO Fellowship Program.
- Teach for America. Multiple deadlines.
- Ashoka Senior Fellows & Members. Apply anytime.
- Ashoka Global Fellows. Apply anytime.
- Ashoka Social Investment Entrepreneur Fellows. Apply anytime.
- Ashoka Invention and Technology Fellows Program. Apply anytime.
- Ashoka News & Knowledge Fellows. Apply anytime.
- MicroEmpowering Social Innovation Fellowship. Apply anytime.
- MovingWorlds Institute Global Fellowship. Apply anytime.
- Teach for India. Multiple deadlines
- MacArthur Fellows Program. Apply by invitation.
- Aspen Institute First Movers Fellowship Program. Apply by January.
- MIT Legatum Center Fellowship. Apply by January.
- IDEX Fellowship. Apply by January.
- Echoing Green Fellowship. Apply by January.
- American India Foundation Fellowship. Apply by January.
- Greenlining Institute Legal Fellows Program. Apply by January.
- NYU Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Fellowship. Apply by January or February.
- Greenlining Institute Fellowship Program. Apply by February.
- Engineers for Social Impact. Apply by February.
- City Hall Fellows Program. Apply by February.
- Crowley Fellowship in International Human Rights. Apply by February.
- Public Allies Teachers Fellowship Program. Apply by February.
- Stanford – NBC News Fellowship in Media and Global Health. Apply by February.
- Cordes Fellowship for Opportunity Collaboration. Apply by March.
- Global Health Corps. Apply by March.
- Grassroutes India Fellowship Program. Apply by March.
- Indicorp Fellowship. Apply by March.
- PopTech Social Innovation Fellows Program. Apply by March.
- Changing Our World Fellowships. Apply by March.
- Acumen Fund East Africa Fellows Program. Apply by April.
- Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. Apply by April.
- Global Citizen Year. Apply by May.
- Villgro Fellowship. Apply by May.
- D.Light Design Fellowship. Apply by May.
- Rolex Awards Supporting Enterprising Individuals. Apply by June.
- Humphrey Fellowship Program: Journalism Fellowships. Apply by June to September.
- TED Fellows Program. Apply by July.
- Synergos Senior Fellows Program . Apply by July.
- LGT Venture Philanthropy iCats Fellowship Program. Apply by July.
- Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship. Apply by July.
- Open Society Fellowship. Apply by August.
- Piramal Fellowship for Sustainable Business. Apply by September.
- Skadden Legal Fellowship Program. Apply by October.
- Kiva Fellowship. Apply by October.
- Buckminister Fuller Challenge. Apply by October.
- StartingBloc Fellowship Program. Apply by October.
- EmergeCA Democratic Fellowship Program for Women. Apply by October.
- Fuse Corps Fellowship. Apply by October.
- Woodrow Wilson Center Fellowships. Apply by October.
- PresenTense Social Entrepreneur Fellowships. Apply by October or November.
- Smithsonian Institute Fellowship. Apply by November.
- Unreasonable Institute. Apply by November.
- Acumen Fund Global Fellows Program. Apply by November.
- Fried Frank Legal Fellowship Program. Apply by November.
- Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Apply by November.
- New Leaders Council. Apply by November.
- Fellowship for Women Scholar-Practitioners from Developing Nations. Apply by November.
- Sauvé Scholars Program. Apply by November.
- TEDGlobal Fellows Program. Apply by December.
- Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society Fellowship Program. Apply by December.
- Nieman Journalism Fellowships at Harvard University. Apply by December
- Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship. Apply by December.
- LeapFrog Investments Global Fellows Program. Apply by December.
- M121 Fellowship for Sustainable World Change. Apply by December.
- Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program. Concluding in 2013.
- Ashoka Advantage: Lists of Social Innovation Awards and Funding
- University of Pennsylvania Law School Listing of Social Innovation Fellowships [PDF]
- Riches For Good Listing of Social Entrepreneurship Fellowships
- Change.org List of Fellowship Opportunities for Social Entrepreneurs
- Beyond Profit List of Social Entrepreneur Fellowships
1. Matter Media Entrepreneurship Accelerator. Matter invests $50k to give four months of runway to do needfinding with customers, prototype media solutions, and build traction with an audience.
San Francisco, CA
Apply by January here.
2. CHANGE Accelerator. The CHANGE Accelerator provides needed business support to social entrepreneurs who are developing innovative solutions to unmet social needs.
Apply by February (Newport) or April (Providence) here.
3. Startl Accelerator. Startl Accelerator is a three-month immersion into Product design, market strategy and business development for early stage learning enterprises.
New York City, NY.
Apply by March here.
7. Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO). The purpose of the Accelerator program is to significantly accelerate an early-stage social venture’s impact and financial sustainability.
New Orleans, LA.
Apply by April here.
8. Dasra Social-Impact. Dasra Social-Impact is an executive education program, which provides successful non profits and social businesses with transformational skills necessary to build sustainable and scalable organizations to accelerate their impact.
Apply by July here.
9. Praxis Accelerator Program. The Praxis Accelerator is focused on four distinct areas: mentorship & customized expertise, action-oriented education & planning, peer networking, and access to capital sources. (note: faith-based)
New York, California, Washington D.C.
Apply by July here.
10. Agora Accelerator. Agora’s Accelerator is an intensive, 6-month program designed to give outstanding small businesses poised for expansion access to the social, human, and financial capital needed to accelerate their growth.
Apply by October here.
11. Unreasonable Institute. Accelerates the world most unreasonable entrepreneurs and their ventures. Unreasonable Institute unites 25 entrepreneurs from every corner of the globe to live under the same roof for six weeks.
Apply by November here.
12. Greenstart Accelerator. Greenstart focuses on cleantech companies that are expanding the use of clean energy or reducing the use of dirty energy and can validate their business model quickly. The goal is to help more than 500 cleantech startups launch more successfully over the next decade.
San Francisco, CA.
Apply by November here.
13. Imagine H20 Prize Competition and Accelerator. Imagine H20 hosts an annual competition for global water solutions with prizes of upwards of $100K. Winners of Imagine H20 join a specialized accelerator program. (note: full post here)
San Francisco, CA.
Apply by November here.
14. Hult Prize. In partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, thousands of college and university students pitch their social impact ideas at one of six regional events in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai, and online. The winners receive the Hult Prize–an opportunity to spend the summer at the Hult Accelerator in Boston, MA.
Apply by November here.
15. Santa Clara University Global Social Benefit Incubator. The GSBI empowers socially-minded entrepreneurs to build sustainable, scalable organizations that solve problems for people living in poverty around the world. It is a combination of online, experiential, and skill-building offerings in an eight-month program.
Apply by December here.
16. Hub Ventures. Hub Ventures is a 12-week evening program providing funding and resources to a community of 16 entrepreneurs building for-profit solutions for a better world. San Francisco Bay Area, CA.
Apply by December here.
17. Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF). The Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) helps accelerate the growth of new technology companies being established in Ontario and positions them for further investment by angels and venture capitalists.
18. NYC Acre. The New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE) helps clean technology and renewable energy companies in New York City grow, advancing the City as a role model for environmental sustainability and smart growth.
New York City, New York.
20. Social Innovation Camp. Social Innovation Camp brings together ideas, people and digital tools to build web-based solutions to social problems – all in just 48 hours.
Learn more here.
21. Ogunte Make a Wave Pre-Incubator Programme. Make a Wave provides learning and co-mentoring opportunities related to women angels and impact investors to 12 women social entrepreneurs through 6 lunch-time visits. (note: for women)
Learn more here.
22. The Impact Engine. Impact Engine is a 12-week accelerator program that supports for-profit businesses making the world a better place. It provides $20K seed funding in exchange for 7% equity.
Learn more here.
23. Sustainability Innovation Lab at GSVlabs. Powered by the Cleantech Open, the Innovation Lab provides focused content designed to help Sustainability companies grow and thrive.
Redwood City, CA
Learn more here.
15 U.S. Startup Accelerators and Incubators (Ranked) [Tech Cocktail]*Updated on July 2015
Paper.li is a nifty web tool that lets you curate and publish content in a newspaper-like publication that can be sent out weekly, daily, or twice-daily. The application is free to use and takes just a few minutes to set up.
1. Find a specific niche. Considering the wealth of information bombarding online readers at any moment, look to make the scope of your paper.li publication focused and specific. Whether you are a social innovator focused on impact investing, clean water, poverty, green technology, or social innovation law–it is a good idea to ask what a person would gain from reading your online newspaper.
Here are a few examples of social innovation paper.li publications:
2. Look to relevant lists. Twitter lists can make for great content wells from which paper.li can draw. Take a look at any lists you are on and any you follow. There is an option on paper.li to include specific lists.
3. Feature power users. In your specific social innovation topic you may notice that you retweet a certain power user frequently or that certain users consistently include links to timely, relevant, content-rich articles squarely addressing a cause or social innovation solution. You can list single Twitter users as a paper.li content stream.
4. Follow the hash tags. Another way to capture relevant content is to list specific Twitter #tags for paper.li to survey. You can list multiple tags—but take a tour through Twitter and opt for ones that are more specific over general. For example, paper.li will likely glean more relevant content on social entrepreneurship law from #socentlaw than from #law.
5. Decide on Your Covered Topics (Hint: Think KIS). Also in the content realm you can choose from covered topics. These will turn into tabs of your online publication. There are over 15 to choose from. In times of massive choice, it’s often good advice to Keep it Simple (KIS). KIS can also apply to the distribution frequency–if you notice that publishing too frequently is just creating noise rather than useful, relevant curation—then cut back. Likewise, if your topic requires timely, frequent updates–then look to keep it updated accordingly.
GreenVC.org is growing as a go-to place for social entrepreneurs. It is a service of Green Economy Media, which is developing an array of resources for individuals interested in building a sustainable economy with participation of job seekers, entrepreneurs, consumers, companies, and policy-makers.
GreenVC has been created to connect social entrepreneurs with events, funding news, impact investment opportunities, and other resources that will be helpful in their growth and development.
More about GreenVC’s founder
The site was founded four years ago by Leonard Adler, who is a tried and true social innovator.
While pursing his Masters in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Public Government at Harvard University, Adler founded the Public Service Interest Group—a student organization dedicated to developing programs related to educational and social policy. He went on to co-found the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy, while earning his J.D. from Georgetown University. During his tenure there, he also contributed to the development of the ABA Thurgood Marshall Award.
As an Echoing Green fellow, he founded a non-profit organization focused on addressing poverty through coalition-building and policy-making. He later served as Director of Student Organizing at Equal Justice Works, overseeing a fundraising effort which raised over $2M to fund thousands of summer legal internships.
Leonard has also looked to share his experience in the social sector with up-and-coming social entrepreneurs, through mentorship, events, and partnerships. His efforts have provided helpful insight to initiatives in the social innovation space, including Innov8Social.
5 Things to Check Out on GreenVC.org
- Events. A list of “green” events relevant to social entrepreneurs. This is a listing of international happenings which includes events such as Social Enterprise Summit 2011, Clean-tech Investor Summit, Opportunity Green, and the San Francisco Green Festival.
- Crowdfunding. A list of resources for social entrepreneurs and non-profits to raise funds through smaller online funding efforts such as KickStarter, Indiegogo, and Greenfunder.
- Discounts & Free Offers. Includes free events and discount codes.
- Funding Resources. A look at funding resources including business plan competitions, social entrepreneurship awards and fellowships, and social venture capital.
- GreenVC Blog. Includes news and posts relevant to social entrepreneurs. A few past posts of interest include:
And you can now find select Innov8Social posts syndicated on GreenVC.
1. Over 800 posts
With its inaugural post published in January 2004, the SSIR blog started out as a way to talk about social innovation news. With posts of just a paragraph or so, it was the thoughtful, thorough comments to the initial posts that brought unique value to the blog then. Fast forward nearly 8 years and over 800 posts and you see an 2.0 SSIR blog.
Here the articles and authors tell engaging stories. Personal and revealing or abstract and questioning—the posts present well-articulated views of issues, developments, and experiences in the social innovation space.
2. Who Writes
There is no single profile of the SSIR blog authors. They come from academia, research, practice, fieldwork, entrepreneurship, non-profit, consulting, foundations, organizational leadership, and government…among others. Social innovation cannot exist in a vacuum, and the broad range of authors contributing to the blog shows that SSIR recognizes the blog as a unique tool to engage, draw in, and create community.
3. Who Reads
Just as there is no “cookie-cutter” profile of a contributor, neither is there one for an SSIR blog reader. And whether you are a student debating whether to pursue a path in social innovation, a practitioner looking learn from other vantage points, or a policy-maker looking to glean from the experience of others—the SSIR blog is an easy way to tap into to the theory of the field and the experiences of those knee-deep in it.
4. Posts to Read
Here is a sampling of a few posts of interest:
- Apps and Other Innovations Steve Jobs Gave to Nonprofits (Oct 7 2011)
- Philanthropy’s Buzzwords of the Decade (Jan 05 2011)
- It’s Not About The Tea (Apr 26 2011)
- Social Enterprise: A Gated Community? (Oct 10 2009)
- Let’s Be Unrealistic (Dec 6 2007)
5. Taking Submissions
The SSIR blog is not a one-way street, where you can only go to read posts. They take submissions too. The SSIR blog looks for content that is interesting, original, and expresses important concepts and insights in social innovation.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed 2 bills that create new legal structures for social entrepreneurs, at the eleventh hour on Sunday, October 9th, 2011.With a few days for the blogosphere and twitterverse to react and inform, here’s a list of blog posts and resources about the new social innovation legislation.(Note: feel free to add on […]
“A picture is worth a thousand words” says nothing about what a picture shared is worth. As sharing information online has become only likes, tweets, and reshares away, social entrepreneurs and social innovators are finding new ways to harness Web 2.0 to articulate the social impact of their business ideas. They are thinking outside the graph for new ways to tell a story.
Infographics – Powerful tools in storytelling
One powerful tool in storytelling is the infographic. What likely started with creative interpretations of bar, pie, and line graphs has morphed into an art form of its own. It has become a quest to make statistics compelling—both in what they say and how they say it.
An infographic is short-form for information graphic. It is a visual depiction of a set of statistical information, data sets, or procedural/organizational flow.
Visual.ly is a place to post and share infographics
As visual.ly explains it “Infographics and data visualizations are shifting the way people find and experience stories, creating a new way of seeing the world of data. They help communicate complex ideas in a clear, compact and beautiful way, taking deep data and presenting it in visual shorthand.”
How can using infographics help social innovators?
- providing a visual way to manage multiple variables (i.e. monetary profit, social impact profit, financial cost, environmental cost, community involvement etc.)
- depicting how your company can achieve a competitive triple bottom line
- creating an elaborate flow chart to connect the different players in the supply chain
- showing various sources and levels of funding that will be required
- illustrating ‘the cause’ the company is addressing and the mission of how it will impact change
- setting your social venture apart from the competition
A few infographics from Visual.ly
Here are are a few cause-related infographics from the Visual.ly library. You can create an account and add any that your company has been working on.
Business Planning. Consider concept, customers, capital in developing a business plan.
Entity Formation. Determine the level of liability and protection your venture will need, and work with an attorney to find the optimum legal structure. Avoid forming too soon, as you will have to begin paying state fees for incorporation once you file (even if you don’t actually start doing business or generating income until later)
Capital Relationships. Have a clear understanding of your organization’s debt v. equity equation. The most common pitfall is companies not having enough capital.
Operational Relationships. Understand players and flow involved in sourcing your products and services, manufacturing, and bringing to market. Do you meet any government requirements for your industry? Do you qualify for any programs (i.e. minority, women small business leaders, etc.)?
Managing Risks. Think of risks such as protecting intellectual property (IP), protecting against tort liability, and considering regulatory liability. An attorney can help identify ways to protect your organization’s assets and protect against liability.
Extra Permits & Licenses. Depending on the products or services your social venture is contemplating, you will have to look into applicable government licenses and permits. For example, as a non-profit, your organization will have to apply for tax-exempt status. Likewise, to conduct any construction work, procuring a contractor’s license is required.
- Resource: CalGOLD.ca.gov is a resource Professor Kell mentioned for small businesses in California to find out what kinds of permits and licenses their venture may require.
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