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Echoing Green: Leveraging Skills Based Business Volunteers for Social Enterprises

Echoing Green deeply relies on the content expertise of its volunteers and supporters,” according to Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green. Since 1987, Echoing Green has helped to launch 471 new social enterprises, including Teach for America (1990), City Year (1991), SKS Microfinance (1998), and The Global Fund for Children (1993).

Echoing Green deeply relies on the content expertise of its volunteers and supporters,” according to Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green. Since 1987, Echoing Green has helped to launch 471 new social enterprises, including Teach for America (1990), City Year (1991), SKS Microfinance (1998), and The Global Fund for Children (1993).

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Dorsey elaborates by explaining that “our global business plan competition rallies close to 300 volunteers including business professionals to vet the submissions of our applicants–budget review, plan feasibility, revenue generation models, etc. It is a wonderful example of how an organization extracts maximum value from the relationship. Our business leaders share with us their knowledge, wisdom and expertise; if we were to monetize this intellectual capital, the total would be staggering. The organization gets top flight, invaluable advice that allows us to identify and support some of the world’s best emerging social entrepreneurs. Can you imagine the loss of value were we to ask these supporters to stuff envelops or answer phones? Important work for the organization, but a total mismatch in volunteer skills and organizational needs.”

Having trained and consulted to a number of the Echoing Green social enterprises on board development and board building, I have seen the creativity, drive, and commitment of these extraordinary leaders, and the impact of their organizations–globally and regionally.

I also see the value that businesses and business people add by collaborating with Echoing Green enterprises. As Dorsey describes, “nonprofits, usually under-capitalized and under-resourced, struggle to generate the brand equity that companies with significant marketing budgets can. Thus, business leaders are critical partners of Echoing Green, supporting us in doing the kind of outreach and validation so necessary to building a sustainable nonprofit enterprise.”

As Dorsey says, “business leaders working in common cause with not-for-profit leaders is a formula for success.” Visit here to see how you can help!

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About the author

Korngold provides strategy consulting to global corporations on sustainability, facilitating corporate-nonprofit partnerships, and training and placing hundreds of business executives on NGO/nonprofit boards for 20+ years. She provides strategy and board governance consulting to NGO/nonprofit boards, foundations, and educational and healthcare institutions. Korngold's latest book is "A Better World, Inc.: How Companies Profit by Solving Global Problems…Where Governments Cannot," published by Palgrave Macmillan for release on 1/7/14

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