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Creating Community, One Cup at a Time

[This is the first in a series of posts about the development of The Village Coffeehouse, a social hub being designed and launched by local entrepreneur, Alice Hartling, in the beautiful village of Canning, Nova Scotia.]

Alice and I have been meeting regularly for the last three weeks, and are making great progress. There's too much to share in one post (more to come later), but we're ready to share the Coffeehouse's Impact Model.

In an earlier post, I shared about the "Job #1" importance of getting clarity about your social enterprise's intended impact. In the absence of this, it's far too easy to end up focusing on the financial performance of the enterprise, to the exclusion of the enterprise's social purpose. While financial sustainability is of course essential to the success of any social enterprise, it's the means to the end of helping to create a more thriving community.

With this in mind, let's take a look at the Village Coffeehouse's Impact Model:

Like all impact models that I help my clients with, we have defined the ultimate impact, the three outcomes that are essential for creating that impact, the measures to track the achievement of these outcomes, and the strategies to ensure they happen. The Village Coffeehouse is a "third place" that is all about connecting and engaging people; about creating a vibrant local community.As a simplified logic model, this diagram is not intended to convey everything that will happen at the enterprise, but rather just the things that must happen. You'll notice that the top three levels, from Impact down to Performance Measures, are all focused on the people in Alice's community (not the enterprise) - how their lives will be improved and how Alice will measure these improvements. It's not until you get to Strategies that the enterprise's activities get mentioned.

This is a first draft and it will no doubt be updated, especially after Alice opens her doors and learns from experience. Being a one-page tool, it'll be easy to update.

Be sure to come back and see how things develop. We've got a lot more to share.

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