July round-up of social enterprise / entrepreneurship news

So the SSE blog has been on leave for much of July, returning to website bugs, a broken server and a busted printer (these things only happen when you’re away). Marvellous. But, more interestingly, and all end-of-holiday bitterness aside, there’s plenty to catch up on as well. Having trawled through an inbox the size of Brazil and an aggregator as populated as Beijing, we’re ready to roll:

– SSE gets a mention in this article in the Sunday Times on philanthropy

– The ambassadors programme, of which SSE is a partner, was officially launched with a first wave of celebrity ambassadors including John Bird, Liam Black, Penny Newman and Tim "Apprentice" Campbell. See articles in the Telegraph and Guardian. 20 further regional ambassadors to follow: download the application pack or read more here (official website to come soon).

– While we’re on govt, the Comprehensive Spending Review reported. £515 million for the Third Sector apparently…and largely warm-ish reception to it.

– Gordon Brown, in association with Community Links, also released a book on the same day (Everyday Heroes): see the CL website for more.

– Couple of interesting think-tank publications: the Social Return on Investment Guide from NEF and Unlocking Innovation from Demos

– Re. measurement of social impact, I was also interested to read Patrick Butler’s take this morning on New Philanthropy Capital’s report on child abuse charities; as a critic of the Full Stop awareness-raising campaign myself for some time, personally (in a judgemental, ill-informed "why do NSPCC need to spend millions to keep child abuse on the radar, when it’s rarely out of the papers/public eye" kind of way), it’s interesting to read that "there is zero evidence that this leads to fewer beatings", and the final sentence is a pretty cutting sideswipe: "[NSPCC] will survive the NPC report, but it should regard it as a timely
wake-up call- a reminder that donor money should go to what works.
Everything else is marketing."

–  Intelligent Giving, run by SSE Fellow Dave Pitchford, has also been recognised for encouraging greater openness and transparency in the third sector, most recently by winning a New Media award from the New Statesman. Other winners include the ubiquitous MySociety, David Cameron and several other interesting sites. Check out the nominees for more of interest.

– Over on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog, there’s an interesting thread on how non-profits should "lose the marketing department", to which one is tempted to reply "if we had one!", but it’s actually quite interesting, arguing that:

t’s everyone’s job to create memorable, exciting programs that donors can love and support.

It’s everyone’s job to take part in the conversation that’s forming around the things you impact.

It’s everyone’s job to know, understand, and respect donors

Difficult to argue with that really. It’s a bit like how, particularly in a small organisation, everyone is a fundraiser as well. Which can have huge benefits in terms of everyone pulling together / creating and reading from the same page….

– Mel Young is really admired in SSE as an impressive social entrepreneur, and the Homeless World Cup is an amazing initiative which goes from strength to strength. Read about the 2007 event.

– I enjoyed this post by Rob Greenland on the need for "hunger" as an entrepreneur, and how this relates to economic position (unemployed / giving up a job). Our experience somewhat reflects his points, although it’s also worth noting that hunger/passion/drive can obviously come from a personal motivation / personal experience as well as being driven by financial necessity.

–  Centre for Social Justice gave out its 2007 awards; worth a look

– Loads more, but here’s a few final interesting bits and bobs: non-profit mash-ups; social change websites directory; a wikimindmap of social enterprise; fairtrade and openness as the future.

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