A Field Guide for Charities Adding Earned-Income
I never wanted to write a book. But after serving with the nonprofit that launched iDonate and a few other businesses, I've been asked to help other charities with their business ideas. Patterns emerged and I realized it would be really handy to have a short book to encapsulate the key learnings from consulting with these organizations.
After years of work, the official edition of "The Profitable Charity" is available on Amazon. It's written as a short (61 pages) field guide for leaders and board members of nonprofits.
Here's a synopsis:
Donors and nonprofit leaders are hungry for better ways to accomplish the change they seek. Charity is essential, but it’s simply not enough. Enter Charity Enterprise with the power to build revenue and accelerate your organization’s impact.
This book provides the tools you need to get started. You’ll learn:
- Why traditional charity cannot be the only solution to human suffering
- Why changing donor demographics are making fundraising harder, necessitating a change in how charities fund their mission
- What Charity Enterprise is, and is not
- How to create sustainable revenue in a charity or nonprofit context
- How others are impacting communities with Charity Enterprise
Some people have been nice enough to say kind things about the book:
"In my experience working with global business and nonprofits, Charity Enterprise has been quietly changing lives and communities. Every nonprofit leader should read this book."
- Tami Heim, President and CEO, Christian Leadership Alliance
Aimee Minnich challenges us to rethink what it means to be socially minded and empowering in our ministry endeavors. This book will move you to unleash innovation and creativity in addressing your ministry mission. I believe Minnich’s ideas will fire the imagination of those who read it and inspire a new kind of ministry effort that will not only change lives but also generate the revenue to sustain the ongoing mission.
- Mike King, President/CEO of Youthfront and Senior Advisor at Museum of the Bible
I'm really grateful for help and inspiration from Bill High, Lindsay Donaldson, and Mike Loomis. Each of you guys is amazing in totally different ways.
Ethiopia has changed since the famine of the 1980's that prompted pop stars to raise funds through a lovely concert and catchy tunes. Explore the current landscape with one of our portfolio companies.
Verde Beef Processing is a feed production, cattle fattening and beef processing business Located in Ethiopia’s largest state, Oromia (about 3 hours from Addis Ababa), Verde Beef is raising the country’s largest herd of cattle.
Verde has been leasing a processing facility but is quickly outgrowing it. Overall, this business is on track to scale to $100mm in revenue and $38M EBITDA per year. At that level of productivity the company will employ 2,500, and create 50,000 new jobs in the beef industry.
Work is how I amass enough power and wealth to make other people work for me.
Business is the means by which a few owners get rich through the effort of others.
The highest calling of a Christian in business is to make a lot of money to give away to the church and ministries.
We may not say it quite like this, but many of operate as if these lies and half-truths are true. If this is how we view work, it's no wonder that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or are completely disengaged (according to a Pew Research Poll.) This lame understanding of work also limits our potential to partner with God in some really amazing ways. By renewing our theology of work, we can better understand the role of business in the Kingdom of God. This is essential if we are to realize the power of business to serve as winsome witnesses of the Gospel, creatively demonstrating our faith by being part of the solution.
Pete Ochs" business Seat King exemplifies the best of "Redemptive Business" as a means of creating jobs and transforming lives.
Expanding on traditional Evangelism/Discipleship, the idea of Redemptive Business borrows heavily from Praxis Labs’ concept of a “redemptive entrepreneur”, or one who seeks to embody the gospel in creating and building a venture that leaves a meaningful impact on the world.
In the first 18 months of Impact Foundation, we have place $30 Million in 53 Impact Companies, spanning the globe from Silicon Valley to Laos. The impact of those investments encompasses most of the main categories of transformation sought by traditional charity plus a few areas that charity cannot reach. Read about the causes and places that our investments seeks to transform.
Some of our more devoted followers may have noticed that some months ago Impact Foundation and Olive Tree Investments joined forces. If you haven't noticed, or are confused by the combination, this blog is for you.
It’s a natural fit as both groups put charitable capital to work in enterprises that seek measurable social and kingdom transformation while earning money. Impact Foundation offers donors a flexible tool for charitable investment, while Olive Tree searches the globe for the best transformative businesses in emerging markets.
We are excited to welcome Steve Doerr to the team. He recently retired as an executive at ExxonMobil after more than 27 years. As Chief Operating Officer, Steve will help us shore up Impact Foundation's infrastructure and position us for the next phases of growth.
Steve has extensive experience managing diverse global portfolios and has lived and worked in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa as well as the US.
In the spring of 1984 my wife and I were standing in a field in Guatemala on an insight trip led by Opportunity International. I understood for the first time the power of business to accelerate the Great Commandment. I knew empirically and from experience that charity alone cannot eliminate extreme poverty; it's a critical piece of the puzzle, but insufficient on its own. That moment in Guatemala crystallized for me the desire to devote my life to serving the poor with sustainable, finance-driven solutions: not just to make the poor a little less poor but to partner with God in His work of redeeming the world and spreading the hope of the gospel.
I was 17 when my dad died. It was sudden and deeply disorienting. Those days and weeks immediately afterward were a dense fog of grief and cleanup. He died without a will or estate plan (mainly because he had nothing to plan).
As the youngest of 5 kids and the only one still living at home without an adult job, I received the largest "inheritance".
Part 2 in our "Defining and Measuring Series"
"I own a company and I'm a Christian. Does that mean you can invest in my company?" - We get a version of this question at least once a week at Impact Foundation. Consequently, we've spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to say deploy capital for social and spiritual impact alongside financial gain. Is it enough to have "christian" management? Must the organization sell "spiritual" goods or services?
Part 1 in our "Defining and Measuring Series"
To reach broader adoption, kingdom impact investing needs a unified definition and a basic set of metrics to help determine if it works. Over the next few blogs, we'll explore these issues but first can't we find a better phrase?
"Kingdom" in our usage refers to the kingdom of God, as Jesus described it in His teachings. Not every follower of Jesus is comfortable with this phrase. For us at Impact Foundation, the hope of this Kingdom drives everything we do. Thus, it seems a suitable adjective to differentiate our version of "impact investing" and the least bad option.