Posts Tagged by social enterprise
|September 3, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Education, Evaluation, Policy, Research||
American prisons have offered education programs of one kind or another since the end of the 18th century; and though funding decreased during the 1980’s and 1990’s, the majority of correctional institutions still offer some type of educational and vocational programming. While opinions vary on what prisons and time spent within them should “look like”, research in the correctional field indicates that vocational training and educational programs increase the likelihood that a participant will maintain a law-abiding existence upon their return to the community. The most recent addition to this research is the RAND report, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults by Lois M. Davis, Robert Bozick, Jennifer L. Steele, Jessica Saunders and Jeremy N. V. Miles, discussing the impact of educating persons housed in correctional institutions and how the most effective programs could be administered across different settings.
Studies have shown that employment is a major predictor of recidivism; RAND’s meta-analysis (utilizing studies with treatment and comparison groups) spans from 1980 until 2011, including programs funded under the Second Chance Act of 2007 aimed at improving outcomes (such as employment) through education to inmates planning to return to their communities upon completion of their term. Some highlights (the full report is available at the RAND website):
- Participation in correctional education did result in a decreased recidivism risk, the likelihood of re-offending, after release.
- Although any participation in educational/vocational programming increased the likelihood of post-release employment, the likelihood was higher for those in vocational training rather than academic programs.
- Initial cost comparisons found that money is saved through prison education due to the lower risk of recidivism gained through such programs, compared to the costs of re-incarcerating re-offending inmates.
Not only does such research inform (or confirm) policy decisions impacting state and federal prisons, it has opened the door for start-ups, and even nonprofits, to provide more convenient and potentially more secure ways to educate inmates. Prison education, wireless technology and social enterprise – keep an eye on that intersection in the upcoming year.
NOTE: If you are interested in reading more about correctional education, employment training and returning to the community post-incarceration, check out the documents from the 2008 Reentry Roundtable sponsored by the The Prisoner Reentry Institute at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Urban Institute.
Photo by User:Nyttend (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
|September 19, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Technology||
This past weekend I joined bloggers, podcasters, and social media aficionados of all stripes for Podcamp Pittsburgh 6, an “un-conference” around new and social media featuring content on, well, just about any given topic in any given timeslot. Podcamp doesn’t organize around a yearly theme or otherwise dictate presentation content – an approach that actually encourages a rather unique experience year to year. In just the two Podcamps I have attended there have been sessions with: a representative and a councilman, a recently unmasked secret agent, a career advice blogger, a panel of superheroes and an appearance by a beloved seasonal icon of Pittsburgh.
This year I sat in on sessions about start-ups in Pittsburgh (and why if you are one you are lucky to be here), anonymity in political blogging and commenting, how social media has changed the workings of the Congress, how nonprofits can use social media to motivate people into action and a lively discussion of the realities of search engine optimization (SEO). I was able to finally meet people I only knew by their Twitter account handles and connected with others around the shared interests of nonprofit work, juggling business and personal social media accounts and making major career transitions in a shaky economy.
There is an appealing organic aspect to Podcamp, as impromptu sessions have been known to break out in spare rooms while mini-discussion groups sprout up in nooks throughout the venue. Interaction is encouraged – no Podcamp volunteer will disapprovingly point you toward a session if you decide to continue a fascinating conversation with another camper rather than attend a presentation.
There was a fairly strong nonprofit presence at this year’s Podcamp and I encourage anyone working or volunteering in marketing/communications with social media for a nonprofit organization to consider attending next year’s event. It’s free (or a $25 personal sponsorship), it’s innovative, it’s an excellent resource and it’s in our backyard. Oh, and it is also organized, staffed and run completely by volunteers. A group of dedicated people (none of whom I know personally) with a passion and talent for new media and knowledge-sharing pull together each year to put on a 2-day event that measures up to some of the “professional seminars” I’ve attended.
Executives, employees and supporters of nonprofits in western Pennsylvania – bookmark the Podcamp Pittsburgh site (they will soon post this year’s sessions online) and keep it on your radar for next September. I cannot wait to see what year 7 will bring, and I hope it brings you.
|March 1, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Management, Philanthropy, Policy, Program Model, Research||
Foundations, policy analysts and grant-seeking organizations have long attempted to capture the meaning of social value in both conceptual and concrete form. The article Measuring Social Value by Geoff Mulgan, published last summer in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, suggests that setting aside separate methodologies and sitting down at the same table may the first step in finding the answer.
Geoff Mulgan, director of the Young Foundation in the United Kingdom, points out two major flaws in current approaches to measuring the value of social programs:
1) the assumption that value is objective (let us not forget the element of “social values” when measuring social value), and 2) incorrectly equating and combining multiple reporting purposes. Rather, Mulgan suggests using a framework of sorts to present pertinent information around fit, expected outcomes and costs both from and to various stakeholders (the grant makers, policy analysts and agency administration), as did his team in a project with the UK’s National Health Service. The process begins with everyone on the same page contextually and can continue from there.
The notion of a shared framework is not meant to replace, but rather summarize, individual measures in a context appropriate to the project/field at hand and lead to more accurate assessments of need, markets and resources. Hopefully, Mulgan’s insights will help to nudge the debate around the metrics of social value into a place of real collaboration.
How does your organization measure the value of social programs?
|January 31, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Management, Philanthropy||
Norah McVeigh, at the Money and Mission blog, on the Chronicle of Philanthropy website discusses the trend of nonprofits creating businesses to promote their mission and/or help raise funds for their programs. As Ms. McVeigh points out, such an endeavor requires a strong plan and skilled management and should not be merely tacked onto the current responsibilities of executive leadership. Launching a social enterprise with half the effort or half the budget required won’t serve the business or the nonprofit well.
Has your nonprofit taken the leap into social enterprise? What were the results?