Creating Social Profit from Beneficial Change

Because social profit organizations are change agents, we recommend The Community Tool Box which is a service of the Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas. You may want to start with the table of contents and the chapter on assessing community needs. You will learn elegant and effective ways to assess community needs from SPI.

A great book on creating social change is by Hildy Gottlieb, The Pollyanna Principles: Reinventing “Nonprofit Organizations” to Create the Future of Our World. In her book, Gottlieb said, “The process starts in the community with its focus on the future. The process then narrows to connect the organization’s current work with the future of the community. It then narrows again, focusing solely on the organization’s internal capacity to take on the tasks it has in store… Through the simultaneous focus on creating community impact and developing the organizational wherewithal to create that impact, a board is able to hold itself accountable for both the end results the organization provides, and the organizational means with which it provides those results.” You will learn how to hold your organization accountable through your courses and relationship with SPI.


Tools for Creating Social Profit

Think about a high point when you felt your organization engaged and inspired your community. In an environment of constant change and increased competition for human resources and capital funding, how can you build on that unique trust, understanding and shared values — your social capital? The traditional approach to strategic planning usually follows a model established in the corporate world and is typically a process that involves top management only. Although there are many similarities between corporate and nonprofit strategic planning processes, nonprofit leaders should not underestimate the opportunity to engage the community in the strategic plan and build social capital. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a creative methodology that focuses on an organization’s core values and strengths with the intention of moving that organization forward in a better direction. David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva initially developed AI in the 1980s and introduced the concept of SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results). By using Appreciative Inquiry interview techniques, nonprofit leaders can gain diversity of thought while maintaining focus. Through your work with SPI, you will learn how to use the basic principles of AI and SOAR for your organizational development or change initiatives.