By Deirdre Maloney
Monday, October 24, 2011
Alan Sorkin believes that nonprofits need to run more like a business. But it’s not because business people have all the answers.
Sorkin says it’s all about the discipline you see in many successful companies—the discipline to create a structure for an organization, to develop meaningful strategies and effective business operations, to be clear about what is measured, monitored and communicated.
“When it comes down to it, it’s all about capacity building,” Sorkin said, “If you don’t build the capacity of an organization, it will be struggling forever.”
Sorkin believes in this principle so much that he and his wife were one of about 20 founders of San Diego Social Venture Partners, an organization of individuals who want to discover the nonprofit world, find their passion and determine how to best invest their money and time to improve the community. Sorkin is also the president of Social Venture Partners International.
SDSVP is a unique model, engaging with partners from the business world who possess a wide variety and deep-set of professional expertise. Those partners then bring their skills together to connect, strengthen and enrich nonprofits, in effect changing their philanthropic “ecosystems.”
“Our network of partners transform nonprofits, transform communities and transform themselves as they move from success to significance,” Sorkin said.
The numbers back up the story. Since 2001, SDSVP has delivered to the San Diego community: more than $12 million in cash and in-kind services; 360 effective philanthropists; 86,000 strategic volunteer hours.
This proven history of transformation is just one reason why SDSVP will be honored as the Outstanding Philanthropic Organizations at this year’s National Philanthropy Day event. The organization will be among eight honorees featured during the annual luncheon, which is sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals San Diego chapter.
The honor, and the work of SDSVP, couldn’t come at a better time. Despite a continuing period of economic doubt and increased competition among the thousands of nonprofits in San Diego, Sorkin believes this is a time of opportunity for those who embrace SDSVP’s philosophies.
“All we see is potential,” he said. “Philanthropy has to change and there are many people who want to change it. We have Generation X and Y with many who are less about making money and more about making a difference. And, we have the largest generation of baby boomers who are retiring younger and have at least one more encore career. Many of them are already using their skills for good.”
Community members can do their part by investing in organizations that invest in themselves.
The Big Day
National Philanthropy Day is a day set aside each year around the world to show appreciation for all that has been accomplished in the culture of philanthropy. The 2011 gathering marks the 39th event for the San Diego Chapter.
The 39th Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon will be held Nov. 1, 11:30 a.m. at the Hilton Bayfront San Diego.
A unique development is the decision of three powerful entities in town to join together on behalf of the event. The Jewish Community Foundation, The San Diego Foundation and the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation committed to stand together and share the spotlight as presenting sponsors.
For more information or to register for the luncheon, visit www.afpsd.org.
Deirdre Maloney is an author, speaker and owner of Momentum San Diego, which helps nonprofits meet their missions through better business.