If you are like me, you have a preconceived image of what an entrepreneur is. Let’s test this theory. Ready? O.K. Make a short mental list of 5 to 10 entrepreneurs that you know, whether personal acquaintances or public figures. Now, here comes the magic…..I bet that list does not include a nonprofit/social entrepreneur. Amirite?
Of course I am. No one thinks about a nonprofit venture when it comes to entrepreneurialism. Why not? Because there is no money to be had? Because there is no IPO payoff to declare a winner? Because there is no rags to riches (or geek to geek god) story line? Yes! To all of these! Its because there is no glamour! Our nonprofits are supposed to be quiet helpers of mankind that make a difference one soul at a time. How can we view their founders any other way? Any young nonprofit founder is politely applauded and then sent away.
Where is our nonprofit version of Zuckerburg, Dorsey, Musk, and Thiel?
Maybe this is what is wrong with the nonprofit sector. Maybe this is why there has been no big shake up since Red Cross endorsed texting your donation to the latest hurricane victims. Look at the Salvation Army still ringing their pathetic bells in front of the grocery store. Sorry! But nobody carries cash anymore! How hard is it to carry a card swiper that takes $1 -$3-$5 dollar amounts with a single swipe! This action would quadruple their charitable haul. But do they do it? No! I personally brought the idea to their people in Reno and was brushed off.
We need the entrepreneurial ethos to come to the nonprofit sector. We need them to shake things up, innovate, and disrupt. We need our rock star co-founders and we need to laud them.
Think you are an idea person? Think you come up with start up after start up? Try putting your skills to work in the nonprofit sector and share a few ideas here.