Abila and Avectra blogs moving Better Together

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Archive for 2012

From Poverty Alleviation to Prosperity: How Female Entrepreneurs Are Transforming Africa

Written by abilainc on . Posted in Social Enterprise

Things are radically changing and true transformation is on display in Africa, a continent that is typically characterized as a ‘recipient of aid’ and one that mistreats and marginalizes its women. In a recent article by Josh Kron in the New York Times, I found inspiration, renewed excitement and hope for the power of social enterprise.   Not just social enterprise as we typically know it in the western word, but an intentional wave of African entrepreneurs that are naturally innovative and ethical – creating world class products that utilize immense, diverse, sustainable and eco-sensible materials. Josh Kron highlights the story of footwear magnate, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, and how she is one of several female entrepreneurs leading Africa’s greatest economic upswing in decades.  Ms. Tilahun began a startup in 2004, as a recent college graduate, in a workshop on her grandmother’s property in Ethiopia.  Ms. Tilahun relates how she kept hearing and seeing a focus on poverty alleviation, but she wanted to flip that paradigm by having Africans take back their destiny and control.  With a few local artisans from the neighborhood, Ms. Tilahun has built SoleRebels into a multimillion-dollar enterprise selling globally and utilizing local and sustainable materials. Ms. Tilahun’s story is not unique in Africa, but one of a growing movement of entrepreneurs determined to build a better life for themselves, their communities and change the narrative of Africa in the process.  The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Africa will have the fastest growing economy of any continent over the next five years.  This is part of a growing shift that reveals 20 sub-Saharan African countries that have gained middle-income status.   Ms. Tilahun has a personal hand in rebranding her country.  By engaging in social enterprise at home, she very visibly demonstrates the power of innovation, ethics, business and social good – and how they can work together to transform a country and an economy. Joan Benson Product Marketing Manager Sage Nonprofit

Countdown to AUDC13 – The Magic 8 Ball Has All The Answers!

Written by Patrick Dorsey on . Posted in AUDC, Avectra Events


As a busy Avectra executive I have to make numerous decisions every day. But some decisions are easier than others and some are so obvious… well you hardly need to even think about them.

Take for example, whether you should attend AUDC13? Of course you should – you’ll gain so much by the experience. Not just in the sessions from your trainers but also from your fellow attendees. And networking? Don’t get me started on networking opportunities.

But I know that for some of you, budgets are tight and you have to get approval for travel and training from your boss. I don’t want either of those things to hinder your being able to come to AUDC13. That’s why we offer (easy to apply for) scholarships and easy to personalize and use “justify my trip” letter and talking points.

 If you’re still not convinced that you can and should do this, just watch my video where I share my executive decision-making secrets. Eat your heart out Anthony Robbins.


And remember, scholarship applications are due by November 9th – HURRY!

Go ahead – talk about us! It’s never too early to start networking before the event:

  • Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/Avectra @Avectra Use Hashtag #AUDC13
  • Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/Avectra

What Is Social Enterprise?

Written by abilainc on . Posted in Social Enterprise

11_01_SocialEnterpriseThe theme for November here at Sage Nonprofit is “Social Enterprise”.  All month long we will be focusing our posts and attention on this new domain.  So, what is social enterprise? A social enterprise is an organization that seeks to address a social or environmental issue while at the same time generating a profit. Social enterprises come in many different forms: nonprofits, foundations, cooperatives, benefit or B Corporations, low-profit limited liability companies (L3Cs), impact investment firms, and fair trade businesses. There is no set path to becoming a social enterprise. Sometimes a for-profit company creates a nonprofit, for example, Whole Foods Market established the Whole Foods Foundation, and sometimes it is the other way around. A food pantry may establish a for-profit bakery funneling products and profits back into its mission. You probably interact with at least one social enterprise every day. It could be a  . . .
  • Nonprofit that generates earned income through sales in its thrift shop.
  • Local coffee shop that only serves fair trade-certified beans.
  • Interactive design firm committed to a triple bottom line and certified as an official B Corporation.
  • Impact investment firm that helps investors achieve financial returns while at the same time providing affordable loans to low-income individuals or communities.
All of these organizations are engaging in social enterprise: weaving a commitment to people and the planet into their missions. The proliferation of social enterprise programs is moving many organizations into what is called a hybrid model of operation, where both a nonprofit and for-profit entity coexist in order to accomplish a social or environmental mission. Keep reading for more information and insights into social enterprise. Patricia Tynan Social Media Sage Nonprofit

Crossing the Canyonlands with Technology

Written by Amy Quinn on . Posted in Non-Profit, Technology


CanyonlandsLast week I spent three nights sleeping under the stars in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. This trip was rigorous and changed my life paradigm. The same can be said about technology’s potential in the nonprofit sector. It requires thoughtful planning before use, but can be the differentiator. Please allow me to elaborate.

The Canyonlands of Utah are vast and unending with many opportunities to hike deep into canyons or high above on “slick-rock” ledges around the perimeter. There are multiple gateways into the park and routes to traverse, based upon experience, careful planning and skill level. My friends and I chose a route that challenged us to climb exposed ledges and explore deep into the wilderness. We were rewarded with panoramic views and remote terrain seldom visited since the Anasazi Indians populated this region centuries before.

Similarly, technology offers multiple applications across the nonprofit sector for a wide variety of objectives, dependent upon the size, type, goals, and resources of an organization. If aligned with strategy, technology enables a nonprofit to raise more money and develop closer relationships with constituents. A nonprofit’s CRM, when used strategically, is at the center of this success. Technology acts as the enabler for staff and volunteers alike to prioritize activities and programs vital to a cause. Leveraging technology means crossing the canyons to enable the work that advances your mission.

With thoughtful preparation and leadership, completing a challenging journey such as mine across the Canyonlands is accessible to everyone. Likewise, leveraging technology to advance development and an organization’s cause is equally available today. In fact, technology is more accessible now to the nonprofit sector than any time before.

During the month of November we will explore what technology encompasses in our work as fundraisers, marketers, program administrators and leaders. We will conceptualize how to determine an organization’s own technology equilibrium and how to balance funding technology versus programmatic and other financial needs.

Packing for a trip into the wilderness involves specific needs, especially when spending several nights in the backcountry. Similarly, we will also discuss what nonprofit leaders and their boards need to know before they embark on new technology spending.

The big news is that, like the business sector, nonprofits can utilize technology to facilitate a proactive approach with donors versus looking in the rearview mirror. Join us in November to learn how technology will become your differentiator.