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Re: [npEnterprise Forum] Board Relationships to Internal Social Venture Committee

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  • kevin jones
    Just a clarifying question: this large organization gains most of its revenue from sources other than social enterprise, and has started social enterprises as
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 30, 2003
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      Just a clarifying question: this large organization gains most of its
      revenue from sources other than social enterprise, and has started social
      enterprises as a sideline, a place to do good alongside it's core mission?
      Or is social enterprise revenue central to its functions? If it's the
      latter, then why on earth is there a SE committee in the first place? Why
      isn't it part of the organizations overall strategic planning effort? If SE
      is siloed off into its own area without a clear understanding of its fit
      within the overall strategic mix, I think I'd question the structure of the
      organization first. That is, why a separate SEC and what is it's relation
      with the other entities of the organization? Why is the SEC made up of board
      members rather than staff, or at least a mix? Is it paternalistic toward the
      business managers it oversees, or at least the SE managers? If not, why
      aren't they on the SEC? Does that possible attitude limit the quality and
      ability of the managers it can hire? Entrepreneurs thrive with freedom to
      innovate and respond. Yet entrepreneurial efforts are reviewed by the board,
      the organization's overseers, without including the entrepreneurs. By
      placing strategic review above them and without them, you are limiting the
      cards they can play, setting up a situation that has put strategic
      decisions, objectives and outcomes and plans out of their reach. That might
      hamper their ability to innovate and respond.

      I know that SE is always a compromise from pure business approaches; you
      have to include the cost of the mission and the mission is at the center of
      the organizations goals even more than its sustaining revenue, which is not
      true in single bottom line businesses. But does protection of that
      compromise really mean that review of results and planning really be in the
      purview of the board? Do you trust your staff so little? Is the mission so
      poorly baked into the essence of what you do that that level of oversight
      has to be given to the board members with no financial interest, rather than
      employees who will conceivably prosper if the SE does well? Is this
      organization really sure of how SE fits in with its overall mission?


      I'm sensing what I guess to be a messy structure here that might need to
      look at itself. Is it set up to optimize progressive toward the goals of the
      organization, or is it hampering it's mission? How is power being delivered
      and how is it being hampered by the way the organization is set up? What
      fundamental beliefs are showing up in the way you are approaching this? Do
      you not want to to believe that you could do good by doing well? What view
      of free will and the possibility of acting ethically are you expressing? I
      realize all this on the spot diagnosis is being teased out from a tiny piece
      of information that I may be misinterpreting and inflating to larger than
      justifiable proportions, but I still think this is an organization that
      might be in need of a deep self examination.


      On 11/30/03 10:23 AM, "seinpitts" <olszak@...> wrote:

      > I am working with a fairly large organization that has established a
      > number of social enterprises. Currently the organization has a
      > Social Enterprise Committtee(SEC) that regularly reviews the
      > objectives, outcomes and plans for each enterprise. This SEC is
      > made up of board members, however, there is no formal definition of
      > the SEC composition and its relationship to the board.
      >
      > Most recently, the organization drastically revised its bylaws and
      > redefined the board's composition. Because of these changes, the
      > rather nebulous nature of the SEC and its authority in making
      > decisions or endorsing recommendations has come to the board's
      > attention. As a result, they have asked me to explore ways that
      > SECs relate to boards of directors within other nonprofit
      > organizations. Do any of the SEA members have experiences they
      > would be willing to share with me (including best practices and
      > lessons learned)?
      >
      > Thanks in advance!
      >
      > Lisa Olszak
      > Olszak Management Consulting, Inc
      > Pittsburgh, PA
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > The npEnterprise Forum, the official listserv of the Social Enterprise
      > Alliance (www.se-alliance.org), discusses practical steps nonprofits can take
      > to enhance their organizational capacity, mission impact, and financial
      > sustainability, through the development of income-generating business
      > activities. Its moderators are Rolfe Larson and Andy Horsnell. More
      > information about the npEnterprise Forum is available at www.npEnterprise.net,
      > including how to subscribe and unsubscribe. Permission to redistribute
      > message(s) contained in this email is granted provided you include this
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      >
      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >



      Kevin Jones
      blog:

      http://www.everyvoice.net/blogs/kevin/

      Maps that show organizations, relationships and the flows of services and
      capital
      http://www.cambridgeconsultation.org/mapping/cambridge2.html
    • King, Charles
      Housing Works has created a separate, wholly-owned subsidiary for each of its business ventures. Each venture has its own board of directors with expertise
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 1, 2003
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        Housing Works has created a separate, wholly-owned subsidiary for each
        of its business ventures. Each venture has its own board of directors
        with expertise particular to the venture. That board is elected by the
        Board of the parent entity.

        The subsidiary boards are in practice self-perpetuating in that they
        recruit and nominate members of their own boards. The parent board
        regularly receives reports of their activities and has time slotted in
        its monthly meeting for such reports. But the subsidiary boards operate
        in a largely autonomous manner and generally only turn to the parent for
        approval of increased debt and/or significant investments or changes in
        operations that might impact the parent's anticipated returns or the
        parent's stake in the subsidiary.
      • Lisa Olszak
        Charles, Thanks so much for your reply. The organization that I am working with is considering establishing subsidiary for-profit corporations. Your model
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 2, 2003
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          Charles,

          Thanks so much for your reply. The organization that I am working with is
          considering establishing subsidiary for-profit corporations. Your model
          seems an excellent one to use in that instance. Do you have any formal
          policies and procedures that define under what circumstances the subsidiary
          boards must come to the parent board for approval?

          With much appreciation,

          Lisa Olszak
          Olszak Management Consulting
        • Warren Tranquada
          Lisa: If the organization is considering creating subsidiaries, you may find this article useful. It outlines some principles to consider in spinning off a
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 2, 2003
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            Lisa:
            If the organization is considering creating subsidiaries, you may find this article useful. It outlines some principles to consider in spinning off a company from a non-profit.
            -----------------------
            Warren Tranquada
            Pepin, Tranquada & Associates
            Toll-free: 800-503-8020
            Local:���� 973-243-9874
            Mobile:��� 973-760-6457
            Fax:������ 810-483-6480
            E-mail: warren.tranquada@...
            Web:��� www.pepintranquada.com�
          • Andy Horsnell
            Warren Tranquada recently posted a message with the following link: www.charityvillage.com/cv/research/rcomm4.html to a CharityVillage article, entitled,
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 2, 2003
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              Warren Tranquada recently posted a message with the following link:
               
               
              to a CharityVillage article, entitled, "Spinning Off - Effective Transitions: Lessons to be applied when an organization creates a new nonprofit or for-profit spinoff"
               
              For reasons unknown, this link did not work for many subscribers.  If it doesn't work by simply clicking on it, try cutting and pasting this link into the "Address" section of your browser.
               
              Thanks again Warren.
               
              Cheers,
                Andy Horsnell & Rolfe Larson
                Co-moderators
               

              Andy Horsnell - www.np-biz-dev.com - phone 416.939.8281 - cell 416.939.8281 - toll free 877.501.7020
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