Do a quick Google search of “social venturing” – the result? More than 6.5 million mentions currently exist for this term that’s all the rage in the world of philanthropy.
But what is social venturing, and how is DFB helping to create new ways of being involved with the nonprofit community?
The term “social venture” is defined quite broadly, and can range from hybrid business models that combine making a profit with doing a social good, to a practice that resembles a nonprofit version of venture capitalism. But, in each of these approaches, the common element seems to be the entrepreneurial attitude that’s brought to solving society’s needs.
Since these are ideals that mesh naturally with DFB’s mission, it’s not surprising that one of our chapters began experimenting with a social venturing program early on. DFB Minneapolis now considers social venturing to be a core part of their grant-making process, and an important way to ensure that each of their contributions is used with maximum effectiveness.
Led by chapter chair Kai Sakstrup and member Jason Goldberg, DFB Minneapolis realized that some of the projects they were funding could benefit from extra hands-on help. As they met with partner organizations, they began to offer pro-bono consulting around the specific projects that were to be funded by DFB.
To date, DFB’s social venturing projects have included helping our project partners arrange discounts on equipment, by utilizing our chapter members’ business contacts. In other cases, the social venturing has meant assisting with program design and management processes, when partner organizations have needed help implementing new business systems or volunteer programs.
Members of DFB Minneapolis have been gratified by the experience of truly getting to know the amazing organizations they’ve funded, while helping with the challenges they face. We think it’s a great way to take full advantage of the skills, expertise, and connections within the DFB community to make an even bigger difference.
To read more or get involved, check out the social venturing page on the DFB website.