Giving Compass' Take:

• This Stanford Social Innovation Review post discusses strategies that any nonprofit can lay down for success.

• It all starts with mission: Take your time assessing what it is you really want to accomplish before deciding on the tools you need for maximum impact.

• Here's why nonprofits and their funders need to talk about real costs.

As a social entrepreneur myself and a lecturer in the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, I have watched the launch of so many exciting innovations for good. And yet, while for many nonprofits this has been an invigorating and transformative time, so many other nonprofits have struggled on the sidelines.

For the past five years, I have been traveling around the country, interviewing over a hundred social entrepreneurs, academics, and philanthropists, both newcomers and veterans in the field, and started our conversations with a simple question: “What is the key to nonprofit success?”

The bottom line: plan on grants and donations to almost entirely sustain your efforts for at least the first couple of years, as you experiment with building your revenue stream. Here is a five-step process for developing a viable earned-income strategy I highly recommend:

  1. Reaffirm your organization’s mission.
  2. Brainstorm your options.
  3. Assess total mission impact.
  4. Evaluate feasibility.
  5. Develop an action plan.

Read the full article about steps for launching successful nonprofits by Kathleen Kelly Janus at Stanford Social Innovation Review.