We love the idea of cross-over artists – country artists who record hit records for rock fans or vice versa. What if we applied this concept to organizations in the social sector? Nonprofits who operate in the criminal justice space can also play in the education sandbox and prevent kids from even entering the criminal justice system. A foundation that prioritizes asset poverty funding, but also recognizes emotional poverty as a major issue in the sector. Such a foundation can then start investing in projects that cross over into addressing behavioral health issues. Many issues are interrelated and would benefit from social sector organizations coloring outside the lines and becoming cross-over artists.

At Social Impact Architects, we too play in many spaces. Our primary audience is the social sector, but we also work with the for-profit sector. As we have said, we need to make the pie bigger. Our founder, Suzanne Smith, has begun working with existing for-profit entrepreneurs on embedding social causes within their mission statements and even their organizational DNA.  As an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas and a frequent speaker at college campuses across the country, Suzanne trains future entrepreneurs to think about social causes at the outset of their careers. Various news outlets ask for Suzanne’s advice on a range of topics, in her role as an entrepreneur. Here we share some recent pieces:

17 Ways to Deal with Unhappy Customers
Use Their Insight – “Unhappy customers can be a goldmine for how you can improve your product or service. Listen to them, and see it as a gift.” – Suzanne Smith

This is equally important for the social sector – many clients will not share their feedback, especially if the service provided is free. You can use surveys, but also make it clear that you want constructive feedback through questions such as – “If you could change one thing about X, what would it be?” For additional ideas on how to measure impact, you can read our series on Impact Measurement.

14 Ways to Boost Employee Morale 
Go to the Movies – “The best thing you can do is get a change of scenery and build a bond among your team members. It always works to get the project back on track.” – Suzanne Smith

Morale is a good indicator of the state of your culture. You can focus a lot of time on strategy, but culture can be just as (and sometimes more) important. For additional ideas on culture in the social sector, please see our article on culture.

10 Must-Take Virtual Business Courses for Entrepreneurs 
Behavioral Economics –  “Dan Ariely taught at Duke University and is now teaching his course through Coursera. It blends the best thinking in economics with psychology and marketing. He is also highly engaging; you will love every minute and forget you are learning tips for your business.” – Suzanne Smith

Behavioral economics is changing how we analyze and apply human behavior and how it can be applied to our businesses and social sector initiatives. It is worth the time to investigate – Dan Ariely has three books already, but our favorite is his first, Predictably Irrational. What’s more, if you aren’t using Coursera for your organization’s professional development needs, you should start – it is a game-changer. Free courses from top universities! You can use them to brush up on the latest thinking in your office or home.  What’s not to like?

Feel free to follow us on TwitterLinked In, and Facebook to monitor future tips.  If you have suggestions for future “Tip” pieces, please send them along. We’d be happy to pitch them to our friends in the media or cover them in a future edition.

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