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Nonprofit Catalyst 2018 Program and Scholarship Application


The Program

In an effort to increase the number of local nonprofits creating revenue-producing social enterprises, SocialVentures, American Electric Power, The Columbus Foundation, IGS Energy, Safelite AutoGlass, and United Way of Central Ohio are offering a comprehensive consulting and mentoring package to a select number of nonprofits. Work will begin with a kick-off meeting April 26, 2018, and continue until December 2019. The goal is for each participant to have a launch-ready concept and business plan to take to market.

This is a competitive application process. No more than six nonprofit organizations will be selected to participate in each Catalyst program cohort. Applications may be submitted at any time before March 19, 2018. Admission to the program will be on a rolling basis until the six cohort positions are filled.

The program has three components:

1. The SE Catalyst™ initiative led by CauseImpact, consisting of one-on-one coaching, monthly meetings of the cohort members, and mid-term and final evaluation presentations before a panel of experts.
2. The Nonprofit Sustainability Showcase to present your concept before the public, investors, and donors.
3. One year of bi-monthly peer review and coaching sessions with other cohort members to refine and adapt your business concept to ensure your business has the best chance of successful launch.


Any nonprofit organization which operates in Central Ohio may apply.

Requirements for Participation

Applicants must:

  • Submit a completed application before March 19, 2018.
  • Commit to full participation in the Nonprofit Catalyst program:
    1. Designating this project as a strategic priority;
    2. Assembling an Impact Team (described below);
    3. Assigning a project leader from the organization’s leadership team;
    4. Participating in monthly group sessions and plan presentations in 2018;
    5. Developing, over the course of the program, a detailed business plan to launch-ready status; and
    6. Participation in bi-monthly peer review and advising sessions in 2019 to sustain progress and increase the likelihood of completion of development and launch of a social enterprise.
  • The chief executive and board chair must be available for a joint interview before acceptance can be offered. Notification of acceptance will be made on or before March 30, 2018.
  • If accepted, the project leader and at least two members of the Impact Team must attend the kick-off session April 26, 2018, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Subsequent cohort and individual sessions will be scheduled to accommodate all cohort members’ schedules to the greatest degree possible.
  • The formal business plan development process concludes with presentations to the program funders and the public at the Nonprofit Sustainability Showcase planned for February 2019.
  • Cohort members must submit brief progress dashboard reports to SocialVentures in August and December 2018, and in February of 2019 and 2020. These reports will be compiled and forwarded to the program sponsors.
  • Cohort members must submit their revenues, expenses, payroll, and number of employees to SocialVentures for fiscal years ending in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.


The cost of the program is $20,000, payable in three installments on April 15, August 15, and December 1, 2018. Scholarship grants are available as part of this application. Organizations may choose to be considered for a scholarship for one of the following amounts: $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 or $15,500.

Application Submission

Program and Scholarship Applications must be submitted using the form below before March 19, 2018. For questions about the form, please send an email to Incomplete applications will not be considered. All of the information on this page, including the application form fields, is available for download in PDF format, so that you can prepare your responses in advance.

Impact Team™

As part of this program, each participating nonprofit organization will form an Impact Team, which is responsible for guiding the process of program review and new venture development. Functionally, the team makes recommendations to the executive director and board. The Team is recruited by the executive director or CEO, with help from the board chair and/or an internal champion. In most cases, the internal champion organizes and facilitates the Impact Team meetings, with assistance from outside team members.

Impact Team Role and Responsibilities:

  • Offer advice and guidance based on experience in entrepreneurial business, marketing and/or strategic planning;
  • Challenge assumptions and ask questions, acting as skeptics when necessary to keep plans firmly grounded in reality;
  • Assist in establishing evaluation criteria, reviewing program analysis results, and making recommendations regarding re-balancing of resources;
  • Serve as a sounding board for the project management team as information and research findings are presented;
  • Assist in the opportunity research or feasibility study phase by offering ideas on resources for information and community connections;
  • Take an active and vocal role in providing the organization with a fresh perspective;
  • Assist in analyzing the results of the planning process and formulating recommendations to the board of directors regarding next action steps;
  • Share business expertise in various aspects of organizational management—human resource development, marketing, financial systems, cost/benefit analysis, and the like;
  • Help the organization develop market positioning and strategies for key products and services or develop business plan outlines for new high potential ideas; and
  • Serve as a guide to action plan implementation, and provide feedback from general community stakeholders.