Let me preface this by saying that I can’t reference those words with hearing the rich, smoky voice of the amazing Billie Holiday.
In her autobiography ‘Lady Sings The Blues’, Billie said the song’s origin was in an argument with her mother over money and her mother said, the now famous line, “God Bless the child that’s got his own.” Billie worked out her anger over the issue by sitting down with cowriter Arthur Herzog, Jr., and the rest, as they say, is history.
Billie’s mother was trying to point out to her something that is an important lesson for businesses of all types and especially nonprofits; freedom comes from governing your sources of revenue and resources. You can dictate your destiny if you control the means you need to accomplish your mission. Most nonprofit leaders have been there: You have a great program idea but the foundation you have approached for funding wants you to make changes to that program to meet their guidelines; a major donor loves what you do but would like you to do it his/her way; a funding source goes away and with it, a much needed program in your community.
Social enterprise isn’t a miracle, a panacea, or a mystical ATM. It takes hard work, acceptance of new ideas, risk taking, and innovation. But done right, it also means freedom. Your enterprise means your organization controls the means that support the work you do. Your organization has placed itself in control of its future and created the type of agility and independence that is the hallmark of successful organizations.
If you’d like to continue this discussion, please join CauseImpact for New Approaches, New Revenue: Amplify Your Impact through Innovation, Thursday, April 22nd , from 10:00 AM to Noon.