Philanthropy, Fundraising, & Community Outreach

Category: Social Entrepreneurship

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Mandatory Kindness: Should Community Service Be Required?

Should kindness be mandatory? Parents, administrators, and schoolchildren are split over the question of required community service. Many middle- and high schools set a quota of hours per year, and expect their students to deliver. But the question remains: does mandating community engagement improve youth development? Or is it simply another marsh to slog through on the path to graduation, without any real long-term benefit for the student “volunteer?”


Interestingly, Maryland is the only state to require its schools to incorporate service learning into their required curricula, rather than allowing institutions to determine such requirements themselves. Schools outside the state, however, have the option of limiting service requirements – or cancelling them altogether.


Administrators opposed to mandatory service requirements argue that once volunteering is required, it is no longer volunteering. Because they aren’t self-motivated to complete their work in the community, students don’t develop their understanding of civic values or truly engage with those they help. The work becomes, as Sarah E. Helms writes in her study on service learning, “homework for school.” Indeed, Helms goes on to suggest that though required service may boost engagement in middle schoolers, older high school students are actually less likely to volunteer.


In short: requiring service leads to lower rates of engagement in the long term.


Additionally, some administrators shy away from requiring community service because they worry about the burden the time commitment places on the students. This is a particular concern for districts that face high rates of poverty. As William R. Bolton, superintendent of the Copiague district in New York, commented in a NY Times article: Many of our children work to make money because a lot of them are supporting themselves […] We are a 50 percent poverty district and 60 percent minority.” In cases such as Bolton’s, hours of required service would be an unacceptable strain on a student’s free time once added to work and study commitments.


Suffice to say, community service isn’t the shoo-in policy it might appear to be at first. However, the fact that student service aids youth development is unquestionable. Other studies conducted on the effects of Maryland’s service requirement have found that “students who volunteer more frequently tend to be higher-achieving, more engaged in their communities, and less prone to risky behaviors as adolescents. Moreover, service learning in particular has been found to improve students’ engagement in school and reduce their risk of dropping out.”


There’s no doubt about it – community service has a positive effect on those who volunteer consistently. And unfortunately for those who would reject service requirements outright, the question of student volunteerism needs to be considered. When surveyed, even frequent student volunteers admitted that they would never have volunteered initially if they hadn’t been required to do so.


So the question becomes: How can schools encourage students to volunteer without losing the positive, self-motivated aspect of volunteerism or infringing on needed free time? The answer most likely lies with how the requirements are implemented.


Ideally, quality volunteer opportunities would be integrated into a student’s academic curricula. As Janet Delaney, head of San Diego City School’s Partnerships in Education program is quoted by the School Superintendents Association, “[Community service] brings learning alive. It makes it real […] One of the things public education has struggled with forever is finding real-life context. That’s what service learning does.” Moreover, Delaney reports that service learning not only engages students in their communities, but boosts their attendance and performance rates at school.


It’s simple: we need quality community service programs in our schools. It isn’t enough to mandate a number of service hours, or simply talk about the value of community engagement – real work has to be put into making service an educational experience for students. If built with care, these programs could kickstart some real, positive change for students as learners and community members.

Trevor Marca - Top US Charities

Top US Charities

In the United States, people make a conscious effort to give back to society. Most Americans want to contribute to the betterment of the world in some way. This culture has been much appreciated, and imitated too, by the rest of the world.

The US has some of the largest charities in the world. Below is a list of some of the biggest names in charities. If you are looking for a new charity to support, you should definitely consider one of the following organizations.

Learn More About The Top Charities In The U.S.

In the social service category, the best organizations that you can donate to are Habitat for Humanity International, Doctors Without Borders – USA, and Feeding America. All of these aid agencies do excellent work in the world. In fact, Feeding America not only provides hunger relief to more than 46 million people, it also runs a program to educate people about hunger and poverty.

The Institute of International Education charity is one of the top 100 charities in the world. Its noteworthy programs include Central Europe Summer Research Institute (CESRI) and Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability.

Some Other Charities Also Worth Donating To

  • YMCA of the USA – The YMCA works to give care to young children and teenagers and is one of the top charities to donate to.
  • Food for the Poor – This organization works for relief and development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Goodwill Industries International – Through the ‘Donate Movement’ program, Goodwill distributes donated used goods.
  • American Cancer Society – Donated funds go towards research and cancer awareness programs.
  • The Nature Conservancy – The aim of this charity is to protect nature all over the globe.
  • Direct Relief – Direct Relief dispenses essential medical care and manages a program called Medical Reserve Corps.

Based In America But Doing Good Worldwide

There are a number of organizations all over the world that support hundreds and thousands of different causes. A donor should choose a charitable foundation whose cause touches the heart.

Many of the charities mentioned above have grown beyond geographical and economic boundaries, with good reason. The largest non-profit organizations in the world have reached that status by managing their duties with care and competence.

Why Donate To One Of These Charities?

By donating to the top charities, you can be assured that your money is making some difference. The management of the top charities hold themselves accountable for the work they do, and their hard work and care is evident.

Trevor Marca - Social Media Tips for Social Entrepreneurs

Social Media Tips for Social Entrepreneurs

In today’s world, social media marketing is essential to every business enterprise. Using social media channels to develop your business and help your sales grow is important, but for social entrepreneurs, it’s especially important to get the correct message across.

In order to be a successful marketer of your business on social media, you have to make your presence felt through social messaging. You need to build a brand of your own, promote it with all sorts of marketing strategies, and advertise the site—all through the lens of social entrepreneurship.

How Can You Use Social Media To Promote Your Social Presence

The first step to successful social media marketing is creating sites on popular properties like Twitter and Facebook. Creating properties is also probably the easiest step. Below are some specific tips on how you can ensure a successful online presence once your sites are active.

  • Start with proper planning before you create any sites. Strategizing before doing any actual marketing is crucial and absolutely essential for success. Working out a strategy refers to keeping the number of channels to a maximum of three at first, and managing the posts on them minutely. Target the social sites where you will reach the biggest audience.
  • After you have set your mind on three social media sites, now it is time to start posting on them on a regular and disciplined manner. You need to plan how many posts per day per social site you intend to share and what type of content you plan to share on each site. Also, you need to make sure that you publish new and interesting content on the sites each day in order to draw the biggest audience.
  • It’s very important that you share content that’s engaging, interesting, relevant, and helps the audience learn more about your business and social message. The more your audience understands about how your business will make a positive impact the more successful you will ultimately be.

Managing Your Social Media Marketing With The Help of Efficient Social Sites

One of the most important issues with social media marketing is selecting the proper platforms to spread your social message. Many sites lure you with the number of hits that they get, but it is important to remember that quality matters a great deal more than quantity.

Trevor Marca: Trends in Social Entrepreneurship

Trends in Social Entrepreneurship

While a large percentage of companies have participated in philanthropy over the years and individual entrepreneurs have attempted to make a positive impact with their work, the concept of social entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular in recent years. The Skoll Foundation recently conducted a survey of social entrepreneurship trends. This post looks at the survey’s findings.

Climate Change

The threat of climate change becomes more and more obvious with each passing year. Climate change has ramifications for many social entrepreneurs. While some entrepreneurs work directly to combat climate change, others have no choice but to deal with the results of a changing world. Some question whether the Paris Climate Agreement will have a significant impact, especially with the Trump administration’s attitude toward climate change. Yet others view the increased awareness of climate change as a small victory.


Many entrepreneurs worry about the future of the world’s youth. Last year the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported that youth unemployment was rising throughout the world. Youth who grow up with less opportunity than previous generations contribute to political instability and increased poverty. On the other hand, many observers realize that today’s youth are generally more educated than their parents—a fact that will contribute to their success later in life.


Nationalist movements seem to be gaining popularity worldwide, especially in Europe. The movements are a response to issues such as unemployment and feelings of exclusion from society. Leaders of nationalist movements often use language designed to divide “others” from the ingroup. Entrepreneurs worry about how these movements will impact their work.


Many social entrepreneurs are concerned about the impact that technology will have on their work. Some entrepreneurs embrace technology and the possibilities it has to positively affect the world. Yet others are concerned with there being a lack of digital literacy especially in relation to data. Plus, privacy is always a concern when it comes to online data.


The European refugee crisis is a topic of concern for many social entrepreneurs. This issue also relates to climate change since migration will increase as more location become uninhabitable. Refugees and migrants are at greater risk of radicalization and face a number of safety issues. Respondents believe that more work needs to be done to integrate refugees and migrants into larger society.


Several social entrepreneurs are focused on reducing the amount of inequality in the world. Although inequality has always existed, the divide between rich and poor has widened in recent years. Entrepreneurs are paying particular attention to the Global South’s access to financial services and how policy decisions affect the world’s poorest.

Trevor Marca: 3 of the World's Most Notable Social Entrepreneurs

3 of the World’s Most Notable Social Entrepreneurs

Although social entrepreneurship has become increasingly trendy in recent years, social entrepreneurs have been making an impact for decades. This post looks at three of the most notable social entrepreneurs in history. Each entrepreneur listed below is a testament to the fact that monetary success and social change do not have to cross each other out. With the right business model and the right idea, success in both areas can be achieved.

Bill Drayton

Bill Drayton is credited with popularizing the term social entrepreneurship. In 1980 he created Ashoka, an organization that focuses on assisting social entrepreneurs. Ashoka fellows receive a stipend from the organization that helps funds their living expenses rather than their social enterprise. As a result, the fellows are able to exclusively focus on getting their enterprise to a point where it can become self-sustaining. By funding entrepreneurs, Drayton’s organization has helped make a significant impact throughout the world. Drayton’s work isn’t limited to Ashoka. He is also the chairman of Get America Working!, an organization that advocates the elimination of payroll taxes and the adoption of pollution taxes in order to decrease the price of labor and increase employment.

Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus is a pioneer of microcredit and microfinance. Because of his work with Grameen Bank (GB), he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. GB allows the poorest people in Bangladesh to receive collateral without any collateral. Usually, these individuals would be unable to secure any loans. However, with the help of GB, they have been able to pursue new business ideas or expand their current business. GB is particularly concerned with supporting women since women in India typically earn less income than men. Although Yunus has faced accusations of tax evasion in recent years, GB continues to operate and help individuals achieve their dreams.

Scott Harrison

For ten years Scott Harrison worked as a club promoter. After a trip to Uruguay, though, he realized that he wanted to make a difference in the world. He spent two years volunteering aboard Mercy Ships and then decided to create Charity: Water in 2006. Charity: Water focuses on creating “sustainable, community-owned water projects around the world” (How We Work). The organization focuses on water because so many people do not have access to clean water. When water is dirty, there is an increase in diseases, and people must spend more time searching for clean water.

If you are interested in learning more about individual social entrepreneurs, take a look at this list.

Trevor Marca: 4 Must-Read Books For Social Entrepreneurs

4 Must-Read Books For Social Entrepreneurs

If you’re just starting out as a social entrepreneur, it’s likely that you’re always looking for inspiration. Finding success as a social entrepreneur is no easy task. It’s helpful to see how other entrepreneurs navigated the business world. Reading a book is one of the best ways to gain inspiration. Plus, books offer more than just inspiration. They can point out potential mistakes to avoid, strategies to utilize, and a host of other things. Below is a list of some of the must-read books for social entrepreneurs.

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

Yvon Chouinard is one of the most important names in social entrepreneurship. In 1973 he started Patagonia—way before social entrepreneurship was trendy. (Read my September blog post to learn more about Patagonia.) More recently, he founded 1% For the Planet, an organization that encourages businesses to contribute 1% of their profits to environmental organizations. Let My People Go Surfing details Chouinard’s journey from adventurer to successful social entrepreneur.

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

Blake Mycoskie is the person behind Toms shoes. His company was one of the first to pioneer the one-for-one idea that’s popular in social entrepreneurship. For every pair of shoes that the company sells it donates a pair of shoes to a person in need. The book emphasizes the idea that it’s possible to make money while helping the world at the same time, and it’s easier than most people think. In its pages, you’ll find six keys that will help you change your life or your business.

Get Big Fast and Do More Good by Ido Leffler and Lance Kalish

In five years Ido Leffler and Lance Kalish took Yes To Carrots, their natural cosmetics brand, from a simple dream to a successful brand sold in 25 different countries. Today the company is called Yes To, and it has multiple collections that focus on incorporating different natural ingredients. For example, there’s Yes To Cucumbers, Yes To Cotton, and Yes To Coconut. Get Big Fast and Do More Good is an inspiring, quick read that may give you insight into your own business.

Screw Business as Usual by Richard Branson

Richard Branson is one of the world’s most successful and famous entrepreneurs. Branson’s book provides numerous examples from his own life on how you can find success in business and change the world at the same time. Ultimately, Branson’s message is that no business should focus on profit alone. He believes that businesses have a responsibility to solve social issues. While every social entrepreneur will agree with Branson, his book illuminates the actual path that you can take to achieve profit and social change.

Trevor Marca: Tips For Starting A Nonprofit

Tips For Starting A Nonprofit

Starting a nonprofit is one of the best ways to make a positive impact on the world. While profit isn’t the main motivator behind nonprofit organizations, they still need to be run like normal businesses. Taxes, laws, human resources, and funding still play a role in the success or failure of nonprofits. Before you start your own nonprofit, take a look at the below list. These tips will help ensure that you stay on the right path during the creation of your world-changing organization.

Do Your Research

Nationwide there are more than 1.4 million different nonprofits. During your planning stage, you need to consider the competition that you’ll face once you’re up and running. There are some important questions you should ask yourself before you get too deep in the process. Check out this list to see some examples of the sort of questions you need to answer.

Start With A Business Plan

The first step for any successful business—whether it’s a nonprofit or not—is to write a business plan. A proper business plan will increase the chances that you secure funding from either private funders or a local bank. It demonstrates that you are serious about starting your organization, and it will help you attract your first volunteers. Not having a business plan is like not having a map to success. If you don’t have a plan no one will follow you.


There are many reasons why you should incorporate your nonprofit. One of the most important reasons is that you’ll be able to apply for grant money. Learn more about this reason and some other important ones by reading this article. While the paperwork associated with incorporating can be a headache, in the end, you’ll be happy you completed the process and gained tax-exempt status.

Write A Mission Statement

The vision or mission statement that you create will help you attract the right people. Board members, volunteers, employees, and donors will either embrace or ignore your organization based in part on the vision you share with the world. Your vision statement can be the first part of your business plan. It explains who you are, what you do, and why your organization matters.

Learn More

The National Council of Nonprofits has a number of resources that you will find useful when getting your nonprofit off the ground. Their resources include guides about best practices, financial management, and fundraising. Visit their Tools & Resources page for more information.

Trevor Marca: Resources for Social Entrepreneurship

Resources To Help Social Entrepreneurs

Ask any entrepreneur, and they will tell you that finding success is difficult. For social entrepreneurs, though, success may be even more difficult to find. In addition to all the normal struggles that entrepreneurs face, social entrepreneurs also attempt to make a positive impact with their work—no easy task. If you want to be a social entrepreneur, the below tips will help you develop your business and find success.

B Lab – Impact Assessment Tool

B Lab is a non-profit organization founded in 2009. The company’s goal is to help social entrepreneurs and issue B Corporation certification to companies who score well on B Lab’s social impact assessment. While there is an annual fee associated with maintaining B Corporation certification, B Lab’s Impact Assessment Tool is free for any company to use. The B Lab site has many examples of B-Reports which can be used as references for creating a business that has a social impact.


Ashoka has been supporting social entrepreneurs for 35 years through fellowships. The fellows are able to use the grant money to support themselves while they work full time on their business. At the moment “more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows [are] implementing system-changing solutions to human and environmental problems in 89 countries” (About Ashoka). Becoming an Ashoka Fellow is not an easy task. There are at least five phases to the selection process, and the business idea has to be truly innovative. However, the site also features inspiring stories and insightful articles that every social entrepreneur will find helpful.

NYU Speaker Series

Social entrepreneurship is the focus of the Catherine B. Reynolds Speaker Series. Entrepreneurs located in the NYC area should make a point of going to one of the discussions—they’re free and anyone can attend. The events can also be downloaded for free via iTunes. In the past, John Mackey (Whole Foods Market), Elie Wiesel (Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity), and Seth Goldman (Honest Tea) have participated in the series. Many other universities around the country have similar events, so if you don’t live in the NYC, you might still be able to attend an event in person.

Unreasonable Institute

The Unreasonable Institute “provide[s] entrepreneurs what they need to create scalable solutions to the world’s greatest problems” (We Believe). Entrepreneurs can apply for the chance to attend an “accelerator” program. Some of the programs are short (5 days) while other programs last for weeks. Entrepreneurs who participate in a program get the chance to speak with mentors and learn about numerous topics like raising capital and strategic planning.

Trevor Marca: 3 Companies That Have A Positive Impact On The World

3 Companies That Have A Positive Impact On The World

In recent years the concept of social entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular in the business world. A benefit corporation is a new type of corporate entity that relates to social entrepreneurship. Here is the definition of benefit corporations as it appears on

A benefit corporation is a new legal tool to create a solid foundation for long term mission alignment and value creation. It protects mission through capital raises and leadership changes, creates more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options, and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO. (FAQ)

Certified B corporations are similar to benefit corporations, but there are a few differences that stand out. The most important difference is that in order to become a B Corp a company must have their performance assessed by B Lab. B Lab rates companies based on categories like environment and community.

This post will take a look at three of the most well-known benefit corporations and certified B corporations. Keep reading to learn how these companies are having a positive impact on the world.


Etsy is a popular online marketplace that specializes in vintage and handmade items. It is also one of the first B Corps to go public. In order to become a certified B corporation, a company must receive a score between 80 and 200. Etsy currently has a score of 127. Etsy defines itself as a “mindful, transparent, and humane business” (Mission & Values). The company particularly prides itself on its concern for the environment. It helps the environment by setting carbon reduction goals and employing waste reduction practices throughout its offices. The median score that B Lab gives for its environment category is 7. This year Etsy scored a 14.


Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that was launched in 2009. The site focuses on helping artists and businesses fund their creative ventures. So far the company has helped backers pledge $2.6 billion (About). Kickstarter’s charter features multiple sections that outline the company’s commitment to making a positive impact on the world. For example, one section says “Kickstarter will annually donate 5% of its after-tax profit towards arts and music education, and to organizations fighting to end systemic inequality as further defined in sections 4(c) and 5(c) below (the “5% pledge”)” (Charter). Starting in 2017, the company will release benefit statements that measure the results of its initiatives.


Patagonia is another certified B Corp. The company was founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard, a rock climber and environmentalist. Patagonia uses “environmentally preferred” materials to make its clothing (B Corp). Environmentally preferred means that the materials are organic or recycled. As a result of its commitment to the environment, the company has an environment score of 35 and a total score of 114. Patagonia has an entire section of its site devoted to corporate responsibility. It lists information on the company’s attitude toward working with factories, the company’s stance on migrant workers, and the company’s environmental impact. To learn more about the “activist company,” visit this page.

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