How to Map the For-benefit sector of your Economy
- Use existing directories
- Use website search
How to map the ecosystem that supports them
- ESTABLISH A BENCHMARK by mapping the existing ecosystem that supports the fourth sector. This mapping process can be done by researching local economic development initiatives, related local studies, as well as organizations knowledgeable about the local impact economy in an effort to identify some of the larger challenges in your community and current strategies to address them (it can be helpful to align with these to build buy-in from key community agents). Ask for-benefit entrepreneurs, local leaders and support organizations what’s “working,” “not working” and “missing” in the local ecosystem to support for-benefits by conducting focus groups, interviews and surveys. Here is a sample map of local impact economy and sample agendas for each. Here is a list of sample strategies that you can leverage (need to define):
- Focus Groups
- 1-1 Interviews
- Local Literature Review
- REPORT the data and sentiments in a brief State of Your Community’s Impact Economy Report that you can use to market the initiative, garner support from investors and stakeholders, as well as guide the strategic action plan. This report will also serve capture some baseline data on the impact economy so you can measure the initiative’s progress over time. Providing a directory of your community’s for-benefits and support organizations as part of the report is a useful tool to demonstrate who are big players in the local impact economy.
Key Tips for doing an ecosystem assessment:
- Identify the economically impactful sectors – which clusters create the biggest economic impact currently?
- Assess those clusters’ grasp of sustainable development/for-benefit movement
- Assess what needs are greatest in the local community
- Perform an analysis of the ecosystem around these key clusters to identify where they could better assist them in becoming sustainable industries (assessing policy)