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Updated 11d ago

Social Entrepreneurs and Social Enterprises need to clearly define their organizational goals

We are often asked how we got started with Maktaba and other non-profit initiatives. Step 1 is to define a mission and clear goals for the organization. Much of our efforts are a work in progress...but these are some of the recommended steps for setting the direction of a non-profit.

  1. Determine your mission and values: Start by defining your organization's mission and core values, which will provide a clear direction for all decision-making and goal-setting.
  2. Identify your target audience: Understand who your target audience is and what their needs and pain points are. This will help you to better align your goals with the needs of your target audience.
  3. Conduct a SWOT analysis: Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify your organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, which will help you to better understand your current situation and potential for growth.
  4. Define SMART goals: Use the SMART framework to define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals that align with your mission and values.
  5. Set both short-term and long-term goals: Set both short-term and long-term goals to provide a clear roadmap for your organization's growth and development.
  6. Involve stakeholders: Involve key stakeholders in the goal-setting process, including employees, partners, and customers, to ensure that all goals are aligned and everyone is working towards the same objectives.
  7. Regularly review and adjust goals: Regularly review and adjust your goals as needed to ensure that they remain relevant and aligned with your mission and values.

By following these steps, a social enterprise can increase the team's focus and drive impact...feel free to reach out or comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

Also, as always, check out our free resources on Entrepreneurship or Social Entrepreneurship. We have dozens of free books available on these topics in both English and Swahili. Most books can be downloaded without creating an account!


Updated 11d ago
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a crucial role in promoting social, economic, and environmental sustainability throughout the world, and of course in East Africa (an area of focus for

Through a collection of resources for social entrepreneurs and non-profits, we are publishing advice, ideas and stories about our journey to develop a non-profit that delivers free educational resources both digitally and in-person.

NGOs (like need a clear and concise plan, as well as a motivated and aligned team. One way to achieve this is by using SMART goals.

Below is an example a hypothetical East African NGO using SMART goals to empower their team.

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. The following are the five elements of SMART goals and how they can help align your NGO team:

  1. Specific: A specific goal has a clear and precise definition. It answers the questions "What", "Why", and "How". For example, instead of saying "We want to improve education", a specific goal would be "We want to provide educational materials to 100 underprivileged schools in rural areas in the next 6 months."
  2. Measurable: A measurable goal has quantifiable outcomes that can be tracked and monitored. This helps ensure that the goal is realistic and attainable. For example, "We want to provide educational materials to 100 underprivileged schools in rural areas in the next 6 months," which can be measured by the number of schools reached and the number of materials distributed.
  3. Achievable: An achievable goal is one that is attainable with the resources and capabilities of the NGO. To set goals that are achievable, your organization will need to plan carefully, work together and pull together resources in a timely matter. For example, the goal of providing educational materials to 100 underprivileged schools in rural areas may only be "achievable" if the NGO believes they have the local partners in place, secure funding and a clear logistical plan to deliver or "achieve" their goal. Setting achievable goals requires introspection.
  4. Relevant: A relevant goal is one that aligns with the organization's mission, values, and objectives. It is important that the goal is relevant to the organization and its stakeholders. In the example we've been using, the goal of providing educational materials to 100 underprivileged schools in rural areas is relevant to the NGO's general mission of promoting education in rural areas.
  5. Time-Bound: A time-bound goal has a specific deadline. This helps ensure that the goal is completed within a reasonable time frame and helps focus the team's efforts. For example, "We want to provide educational materials to 100 underprivileged schools in rural areas in the next 6 months," has a clear deadline upon which the goal should be complete.

By setting SMART goals, our fictional East African NGO can align its team by providing a clear and concise gameplan that is relevant to its mission, values, and objectives. The team can work together to achieve the goals by monitoring progress, adjusting strategies, and celebrating successes.

In conclusion, SMART goals are a powerful tool for aligning any team whether we are talking about an NGO, a small business, a non-profit or a giant corporation. By setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals, your team will stay focused and motivated on their path toward success. There are some critiques of those who use SMART goals, but in general they are a widely relied upon technique used by many of the most successful organizations.

Are you actually an East African NGO? Consider checking out our free PDFs to research the history of Africa or browse free Swahili books or download PDFs in English.

Updated ~2mo ago
Setting goals is an important part of any successful project or organization, but it's not always easy to get it right. One popular method of goal setting is the SMART framework, which encourages setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. While SMART goals can be effective for some organizations, there are also some downsides that social entrepreneurs should be aware of before relying on them exclusively.

SMART goals can be too rigid and prescriptive. 
By focusing solely on tangible, quantifiable goals, social entrepreneurs may overlook important but intangible factors, such as team morale or company culture...each of which may be critical to success. Additionally, the pressure to meet specific, time-bound targets can lead to an "all or nothing" mentality, where barely missed goals are deemed total failures.

SMART goals can limit creativity and innovation.
By focusing solely on what is known to be achievable, social entrepreneurs may overlook opportunities to try new and different approaches that could lead to greater success. Essentially, SMART goals can stifle creativity by encouraging organizations to play it safe, sticking with tried-and-true methods, rather than taking risks on new projects or methodologies. An obsession with goal setting can distract from more exploratory initiatives, but still most organizations (and individuals) benefit from regularly setting goals.

So, what are the alternatives to SMART goals for the entrepreneurial minded? One option is to adopt a growth mindset, where goals are seen as a means to an end rather than the end in themselves. This approach encourages social entrepreneurs to embrace change and be open to new ideas and experiences, which can lead to greater creativity and innovation. Another alternative is to focus on setting "stretch" goals, which are challenging but achievable targets that help entrepreneurs to push their limits and focus on momentum (rather than milestones).

Does this mean traditional goal setting doesn't matter? Should entrepreneurs abandon the SMART goal method?
Probably not. It's important for entrepreneurs in both the for-profit and nonprofit world to set goals. When doing so it is import for those goals to align with the personal values and priorities of the organization. Such alignment can help to ensure that the goals set are meaningful and relevant, and that everyone is amply motivated to achieve them. For example, an organization that values work-life balance might set a goal for each employee to work a set number of hours per week, rather than focusing solely on achievement. Other organizations might focus on achieving momentum and employee satisfaction...though ultimately it is typically important for goals to drive financial success. For a non-profit, this could mean connecting goals toward  fundraising targets, and with for-profits, goals could be tied to revenue (or operational efficiency).

In summary, while using SMART goals has become popular, there also are some downsides to be considered. Alternative goal-setting strategies, such as adopting a growth mindset, setting "stretch" goals, or aligning goals with personal values, can help all organizations achieve success while avoiding the pitfalls of SMART goals.

For more resources to help run your non-profit or small business, browse our free books for entrepreneurs, or search our entire website for blog posts and strategies about how to get started as a social entrepreneur.


Updated ~2mo ago
People respond to clear goals and expectations.

In general, for people to be "leaders" within an organization, they need to CLEARLY understand the goals and objectives of the parent organization.

Parent goals should be defined using Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
metrics used to periodically track and evaluate the performance of a business or organization toward the achievement of specific goals. They are also used to gauge the overall performance of the company against other comparable companies within the industry.

Management by Objectives (MBO):
Technique suggested by Drucker in 1952 that links individual smaller goals to the larger organizational goals.
Tasks are then added to support the smaller goals and employees are evaluated and rewarded monthly, quarterly or annually. In theory, this technique could be used on a weekly basis.

Objectives by Key Results (OKR):
Objectives are stated. Expected results are clearly defined. Initiatives are created to achieve those results.
Objectives still need to align with the parent organization objectives, but contrary to MBO where the "smaller" objectives are set by managers (within a department), objectives within the OKR method can be set by the individual (still in support of parent objectives).

Other essential terms to know and implement

Clearly defined goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely

And last but not least:

Time Management
Simple but actionable suggestions, strategies and reminders

Traits of a Good Leader

Raid Log (tool for project management to highlight Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies)


Updated ~2mo ago
1. Deliver free books in Swahili and English to communities all over the world
2. Empower educational communities in East Africa
3. Connect mentors with students around the world

Updated ~2mo ago
I did management consulting for many years and am part of a small team of volunteers developing 

We are still working on our core features as well as trying techniques to reach new readers and people that might enjoy participating in our community....but I thought I'd share some of the ideas we are considering to help out other social entrepreneurs.

Based on research and experience with previous online projects, I have developed a small list of free ideas of how any non-profit might collaborate with influencers and bloggers. Of course influencers and bloggers will promote a website if you pay them, but since we have a limited marketing budget, we are looking for free marketing opportunities. Hopefully others can benefit from these ideas as well.

We'll keep everyone posted on various endeavors we pursue, but our guiding principle is to establish mutually beneficial partnerships that align with both our organizational goals and our collaborator's interests.

Step 1: Establish clear organizational goals (see Maktaba's goals, or a book on defining goals as a Social Enterprise)
Step 2: Generate a list of bloggers and influencers
Step 3: Summarize their general interests (what is it that they care about?)
Step 4: Propose a partnership based on one of the following ideas
Step 5: De-brief and analyze the effectiveness of the partnership

Potential ideas for partnering with influencers or bloggers

Guest posting: Offer to write a guest post for their blog or website, which will give you exposure to their audience and help build your credibility.

Product or service reviews: Reach out to influencers and bloggers in your niche and offer them a free product or service in exchange for a review on their website or social media channels.

Content co-creation: Partner with an influencer or blogger to co-create content such as an e-book, infographic, or video that you can both promote and share with your respective audiences.

Cross-promotion: Reach out to other brands or businesses in your niche and offer to cross-promote each other's content on social media, email, or your respective websites.

Social media shoutouts: Collaborate with influencers and bloggers by giving them a shoutout on your social media channels in exchange for a shoutout on theirs.

Joint webinars or events: Organize a joint webinar or event with an influencer or blogger to reach their audience and build your brand.

Does anyone know of good influencers or bloggers that we should reach out to? 
Does anyone have other ideas that we should consider?

Updated ~2mo ago
Continuously improve our website: Regularly evaluate and improve our website to provide a better user experience and increase user engagement.

Optimize for search engines: Ensure that our website is search engine optimized (SEO) to increase visibility on search engines and drive organic traffic.

Engage with our audience: Engage with our audience through social media, email, and other channels to build relationships and increase brand awareness.

Content marketing: Create high-quality, engaging content that provides value to our target audience and share it through social media, email, and other channels to attract more visitors.

Paid advertising: Use paid advertising such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads to reach a larger audience and drive targeted traffic to our website.

Collaborate with influencers or bloggers: Partner with influencers or bloggers in your niche to reach their audience and promote our website.

Offer a referral program: Encourage existing users to refer their friends and family to our website by offering incentives such as discounts, bonuses or prizes.

Does anyone have other ideas or have any interest in joining our marketing team?

Updated ~2mo ago
What is social entrepreneurship? (source: causeartist)
A term used for business models with a social or environmental focus. A social entrepreneur creates social and/or environmental change, either through a for-profit or non-profit business model. (Check out Chapter 3 in this free PDF about entrepreneurship, or another free entrepreneurship textbook)

The site Causeartist (source of many referenced articles) tends to focus more on social entrepreneurship through the lens of for-profit businesses.

The article is a good read, but in general, social entrepreneurs identify social problems and develop business solutions to address them. Unlike traditional businesses, social entrepreneurs are motived by both profit AND creating an impact.

The importance of website design for non-profits (a podcast) (templates are $800+, which we don't need, but we can implement ANY of the design concepts that we like...we just have to identify them and prioritize)

Also, I uploaded three non-profit workbooks downloaded from studiohumankind...they should be helpful for us.
1. How to make a good website
2. A book on non-profit strategy
3. A book on developing organizational goals

Starting small, these stories are inspirational:
Profiles of women social entrepreneurs and nonprofit founders who are addressing social issues in innovative and inspiring ways — and using the power of business to do good

Scott's thoughts:
We can become recognized like these organizations. We can communicate our mission like them. It will take regular, daily hard work...and we have to be more strategic and organized...but it will be rewarding and meaningful along the way! 

2023 goals:
One key goal should be for many regular SMALL successes in 2023, similar to that podcast you did.  That was a huge accomplishment and success, and demonstrated (hopefully to yourself) that you can represent your varied interests verbally and visually!!
  1. Send press releases to journalists and bloggers (example:
  2. Consider paid listing sites too, such as

Stories about other larger established non-profits:

These stories should ONLY inspire a bit. We don't need to compare our early-stage operation to huge successes, but to the extent that we can recognize that these are regular people who worked regularly on their mission...then they should serve as examples to learn from.

Interesting stories were:
Amitabh Shah of Yuva Unstoppable:

Juliana Rotich of Ushahidi (open source software, and enterprise solutions, for disaster relief and crowdsourcing data)
She also is the Co-founder of BRCK Inc (Kenyan hardware and services technology company for communication in low infrastructure areas)
She is a Director in the Kenyan entity BRCK Kenya Ltd and drives partnerships for tackling social problems through appropriate technology.

Jake Wood of Team Rubicon: My parent's friend volunteers for them

Reshma Saujani: Girls who Code

Michael FayeGiveDirectly (they pay people in Africa small amounts of cash, also he has some money transfer platform)

Brandon Nicholson of Hidden Genius Project (Oakland, CA):
The View Stories section on their website is interesting and their use of the #geniusRevealed to tell stories is something I've wanted to do for a long time. Look at both the small "cards" and the "full page" articles.

More ideas for becoming EXCITED to be the Story Teller for the non-profit initiatives you care about

Ed tech startups

Stories about impact investment funds that raised money recently
$111 million raised for African education
Resources and a guide highlighting WHO FUNDS social entrepreneurs written by Ami Shah:
Yet to launch impact investing platform:

Grant is the founder of Cause Artist:

Elizabeth Yin of The Hustle Fund invests in pre-seed rounds, typically $25k and they decide within a few days.

Blockchain Social Initiatives (nothing really stood out) (somewhat similar to the guy we talked to)
List of some other projects:

Updated 5mo ago
It was such an honor to meet with Books for Africa in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week and learn more about their incredible work delivering over 50 million books to every country in Africa! We are excited to partner with them next year to bring books to readers of all ages in Tanzania. We'll need your help. Look forward to updates on how you can start a book drive or fundraiser in your community.
Schools and organizations in Tanzania who need books are encouraged to get in touch regarding partnership.
Shule na mashirika yanayohitaji vitabu, tafadhali wasiliana nasi, tushirikiane.