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Stage 4: Build Foundations for Growth

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1 Explore the Problem (greyed out)
2 Design for the Need (greyed out)
3 Develop Business and Impact Models (greyed out)
4 Build Foundations for Growth (current page)

Up to this point you’ve been refining a hypothesis and testing solutions. This is where it gets real. It’s time to make some decisions about how you are actually going to get your social venture off the ground. What kind of foundation do you want to build? And who do you need around you for support?

You really can’t go it alone at this stage of development. It’s time to build your network of champions. This includes short-term advisors to provide guidance, as well as the team members that complement your skills.

Communication materials and skills are also critical for your social venture. You need to be able to communicate effectively about what you do and prove your value to many different stakeholders.

Ideally the whole world would stop so you could focus exclusively on putting all the pieces in place for your social venture. But for most founders, this is entrepreneurial crunch time. You need funding, a team, a board, a legal structure, communication tools, and lots of nuts and bolts. Try to find the balance between running your pilot social venture and planning for the long-term.

Key areas of focus

  • Choosing a legal structure
    • Selecting an attorney
    • Considering fiscal sponsorship before incorporating
    • Incorporating your organization/company
  • Fundraising
    • Sources of funding
    • Tools/skills to communicate and pitch your social venture
    • Cultivating relationships with potential funders/investors
  • Building your team
  • Developing a board and identifying advisors for support
  • Building stakeholder relationships and community trust
  • Social venture nuts & bolts
    • Human resources
    • Accounting systems

Key questions

  • What are all the pieces I need to make this a fully functioning social venture?
  • Who do I need to help me?
  • How do I build my network of champions?
  • How can I communicate what I do to my key audiences (users, funders, other stakeholders)?
  • Who will I take money from?
  • How am I going to incorporate?

Evaluate legal structure options for a social venture 

Find funding for your social venture