Go Fund Me

Elana Boehm>>Fri May 14, 2010

The idea for this weeks' blog post comes courtesy of one of the Boston Steering Committee members, Josh Plavner. 

As we approach the official end of the first CJP/PresenTense Boston Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, and the big Launch Night event, the fellows are starting to get anxious about funding and support for the their projects.  The Launch Night event is one way for the fellows to meet potential investors and partners,  but it's only one opportunity.  The fellows' follow-up strategy for people they meet at Launch Night and beyond is key to their success, both in terms of effectively managing stakeholders and in presenting a professional image for the fellow and his/her venture. 

Go Fund Me is an innovative approach to online fundraising.  Their user-friendly, eye-catching website helps individuals, companies, and organizations create fundraising strategies and then spread the word and collect money.


Reflections from the Boston Steering Committee

Elana Boehm>>Fri Apr 30, 2010

The CJP/PresenTense Fellowship Steering Committee has been meeting since July 2009 to set the direction of the Boston Fellowship and provide guidance to the fellows and strategic oversight of the program. 

Here they share their their thoughts on what they've enjoyed most about being involved with the program:

  1. Having a connection with the fellows and getting to see how the Jewish community is going to open up through their efforts.
  2. The opportunity that we as a Steering Committee have had to be able to learn along with the fellows.
  3. Watching the ideas grow!
  4. Being able to really plug in and provide guidance to a fellow and knowing that I'm having an impact.
  5. Watching ideas and concepts come into fruition on two levels: the fellows' ideas, and the Fellowship itself, as its own start-up.
  6. Working with my fellow and watching how his idea has taken shape and been refined as he's gone through the various modules of the program.
  7. The people on the committee who are so energized by the projects.
  8. Seeing these fellows succeed because of our community's support.
  9. Seeing CJP take a huge risk with a program that worked in Jerusalem, and creating something that is establishing CJP as a pioneering Federation.

Read about our impressive Steering Committee members here.



Entrepreneurship vs. Social Entrepreneurship

Elana Boehm>>Fri Apr 16, 2010

What is the difference between entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, and what model are we using for the PresenTense Fellowships? 

Most people agree that a successful social venture requires many of the same skill sets and models as successful non-social ventures.  For example, Richard Dale of Sigma Ventures led a skillbuilding session for the Boston fellows on Budgeting for Social Ventures, and emphasized the importance of financial planning.  He showed the fellows how budgets for non-profits and social ventures are often more complex than those of for-profit ventures because of the double bottom line: organizations need to measure both financial and social returns.  He references Jim Collins' Monograph, "Good to Great and the Social Sectors," who tackles the issue of how to measure impact and success for non-financial goals.  Richard explained how budgets for social ventures (and all ventures) must be strategic: the fellows' budgets must reflect decisions or plans for how to apply resources to objectives.  Here we see that social ventures actually need strong business models more than for-profit ventures do, since there are multiple objectives.

Unfortunately, social ventures, especially non-profits, often get a bad rap for holding themselves to less-than-perfect business standards.  Non-profits stereotypically have poor management, fuzzy financial planning, and lousy project management.  But we know that in order for social ventures to be successful both financially and socially, they need to have extra solid management, financial planning, and project management.  A social entrepreneur must have business training that is just as strong as any other entrepreneur.

The CJP/PresenTense Boston Social Entrepreneur Fellowship prides itself on basing its curriculum around core business training that is relevant to starting any kind of new venture.  We have chosen mentors and skillbuilders from both the non-profit and for-profit sectors with the understanding that the practices of the for-profit world are extremely relevant to our fellows who are starting social ventures to make change in the Jewish world.  Our social entrepreneurs are also regular entrepreneurs. 

Therefore, I would like to propose that we consider re-naming the PresenTense-style of social entrepreneurship to JEWISH ENTREPRENEURSHIP*.  Together we are making change in the Jewish world, using sound business training and learning from entrepreneurs and innovators in all fields.

If you have any thoughts on this, please email me at elanaboehm@presentense.org.  I would love to hear from you!

*Disclaimer: This is my own thinking and does not reflect the thinking of the PresenTense staff as a whole.


CJP/PresenTense Fellowship Launch Night in Boston

Elana Boehm>>Fri Apr 2, 2010


Planning for the Launch Night event is well under way.  If you're in Boston, we hope to see you there! 


Email me at elanaboehm@presentense.org for more information or to be added to the invite list.


Concentric Circles of Engagement: The Boston Model

Elana Boehm>>Fri Mar 19, 2010

Hi!  My name is Elana Boehm and I am the Boston Coordinator for the CJP/PresenTense Boston Social Entrepreneur Fellowship.  This is my first post to the PresenTense blog and I am excited to add my voice to the impressive collection of global PresenTense staff and volunteers.

In my first blog post, I want to talk about our theory of Concentric Circles of Engagement.  Many people look at the Fellowship and are excited by the mechanism we're creating to support Jewish innovation in Boston, but question the level of impact we're having in the broader Boston community.  At the outset, it seems that we're spending a lot of time, talent, and treasure to engage and train twelve fellows. 

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