Thanks for stopping by! I created this page to help Aidpreneurs – new and old – dive into the material and participate in my community.
Aidpreneur: A definition
What the heck is an “Aidpreneur” anyway?
The answer is exceedingly simple:
(Social Enterprise / Humanitarian Aid / International Development) + Entrepreneur = Aidpreneur
I’ve spent the last 12 years helping improve the performance of programming and the organizations that create social impact and deliver assistance to those in need. My intention with this site is to contribute my two cents to answering two questions I’ve heard (some variation of) a thousand times:
Question #1: Is it possible to make a decent living helping others?
No seriously. I get this all of the time. Especially from people who aren’t in the business of doing good. We have a deeply ingrained belief (at least in my USA/Western Culture) that if you’re going to help people, you’re also looking at a life of, um, “limited means” yourself.
There is only one proper way to begin answering this question: You cannot be interested in money as your primary goal and choose the social impact sector for a career. It is just a fundamental mismatch. If you’re primary goal is to figure out how to make a ton of money and “retire” early, there are a TON of options out there for you. Become an investment banker or dive into some other purely commercial pursuit. We won’t judge you – its totally legit and we all use (and truly love) the products and services created by the commercial sector.
That said, I’m here to tell you, it is my belief and observation, that working in the social impact sector very often results in a rich, wonderful life… that is as financially rewarding as you want it to be. I, and the hundreds of guests on the Terms of Reference Podcast, are living proof.
The bottom line (pun intended), is that, as with any sector, the earning potential of an individual lies along a spectrum:
I am a massive believer that we need to overhaul how we think about the work of helping others. I subscribe to ideas like those espoused by Dan Pallotta, in that the way we think (and so often pursue) this work is just plain wrong, and that there are better answers out there.
Question #2: There is so much in the Social Impact sector that doesn’t work… how can we help others more effectively?
Answering this question, for me, goes way beyond simply asking, “how do we use funding better?” Why? because I think to properly answer that question, you also need to ask about things like hiring practices, career sustainability, contracting processes, organizational structures and, yes, the many, varied “dark sides” of our profession.
I’ve chosen to highlight the concept of entrepreneurialism here at Aidpreneur because, for me, it evokes the opportunity and promise we all have at our fingertips – from starting a new social enterprise, to bringing a new product to the bottom billions, to being an internal changemaker within your existing organization to improve process and delivery for those in need.
While there is so much about this sector that is unique, issues related organizational structure, hirearchy, inefficiencies, etc. are not. And, just like any other line of work, we have the tools at our fingertips – today – to be the change.
How You Can Participate
First, let me just come out and make the ask: Please contribute! Whether you are completely new to the social impact sector or are a seasoned professional with decades of experience, its my hope that you’ll both receive and contribute real value to this community.
Here are a few suggested actions you could take today:
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Most of the deepest and juiciest content on AP comes via my weekly Terms of Reference Podcast. Please, please, please give me (and our guests) feedback about what you loved, thought was boring, inspired you and what you’d like to hear about next!
Get Social with me
I am a real, live, human. Seriously. I put AP together because I actually want to hear from you and interact with you. Have a question? Suggestion? Rave? Contact me and let me know!
Where To Dive In
Whether you’re just starting to think about the social impact sector or you are a seasoned pro, the best place to start at Aidpreneur is with the Terms of Reference Podcast. You can get cracking immediately with the latest episode right now. Just click the white “Play” button below:
The TOR archives
I’ve created a complete listing of all Terms of Reference Podcast episodes, so that you can wander through the archives. There is definitely something for everyone in there. Click here to check it out.
The Top 10 episodes
Which episodes have been downloaded the most? Here are the top 10 (as of July 2017):
- TOR045: Belabbes Benkredda (Munathara)
- TOR150: Testing The Assumptions Of The Social Sector With Chris Blattman Of The University of Chicago
- TOR148: How To Leverage Scale And Experience With Jamey Butcher of Chemonics
- TOR153: Defragmenting agricultural markets with Jason Wendle of the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab
- TOR141: The Power Of The Impact Evaluation Revolution With David Evans Of The World Bank
- TOR030: CartONG with Sandra Sudhoff
- TOR154: Understanding Blended Financing with Joan Larrea of Convergence
- TOR133: Design Thinking For Social Impact At Dalberg With Ravi Chhatpar
- TOR140: Communicating Effectively At Scale About Human Exploitation With Tara Dermott Of IOM X
- TOR146: How AI And Machine Learning Prove The Journey Is More Important Than The Destination With Dr. Kenneth Stanley
Want To Go Independent?
If you’re thinking about starting your own consulting practice or organization, read these two posts first:
- Do NOT go solo (i.e become an independent professional)
- Do NOT start a consulting company, NGO, CBO, charity or other small firm
Are You In The Thick Of It Already?
Check out these trainings I’ve put together based on our experience over at ISG.
- Pipeline Management for Fundraising or Business Development
- Identifying Opportunities
- Decisions and Prioritization
- Proposal Development
- Negotiation and Contract Execution
- Contract Handover
- Project Kick Off
- Project Monitoring
- Project Evaluation
- Project Closing
Just looking for some solid opportunities?
Thank you. Seriously.
Finally, thank you for stopping by and, hopefully, participating in Aidpreneur. I’m no big shake – I cut my teeth in the social impact sector like 1000s of others and I’ve had plenty of downs as well as ups over the past 12 years. More than anything, I hope you look at this site as a resource created by a trusted colleague – and one that you’ll contribute to make it even better.