Incubate a revenue stream for your nonprofit organization in 6 weeks
alongside other nonprofit innovators


$2500 PER TEAM

APRIL, 2019





  • “I had the best experience. This was better than any MBA class. This is the "real world" component that most other classes only claim to give.
    –Martio Gutierrez, Save a Mind Foundation, Philadelphia

  • “I would recommend this program to anyone who would like a quick, intensive course about earned income revenue structures in a non-profit. I took a LOT away from this course”
    –Katie Petersen, Senior Program Manager, Embarc Chicago

  • “The Accelerator provides all the necessary steps to get you started and thinking about the details and processes to create the income activity. The peer feedback is great and materials are very helpful to transform an idea to something more concrete. Great structure and content. Receiving feedback from Acumen and other peers was key to learning.”
    –Carlota Ferrari, Global Programs Officer, The Hunger Project


Rapidly prototype a product or service to earn mission-aligned revenue for your nonprofit organization.

Develop a model to help your organization create, deliver and capture value from your offering.

Get tips & avoid pitfalls by learning from other nonprofit organizations with earned income streams.

Understand the impact capital spectrum and where to look for seed funding for your idea.

Practice pitching your idea to board members, potential funders, or other stakeholders.


We’ve packaged the steps to help nonprofit leaders to develop a social enterprise model. Over 6 weeks, you and your team will learn the basics of developing an earned income stream, complete your own assignments, and then share them via interactive Learning Labs on Slack. You’ll join a select cohort of other nonprofit leaders to give and receive feedback on your ideas. You should expect to spend at least 6 hours per week working on your project. Most of this work can be done on your own schedule. You will need a Lead Participant to show up to the Learning Lab each week and can have up to 10 people from your organization access all the curriculum materials.

Practical Tutorials

Complete 1 hour of self-paced tutorials each week in a dedicated portal. Tutorials will feature practical case studies, frameworks, and strategies that you can apply directly to your organization's work.


Weekly Project

Spend at least 3 hours per week working on a structured exercise to advance your idea. You’ll interview customers, analyze competitors, build prototypes, and learn quickly.


Interactive Learning Lab

Live interactive session with your cohort. You’ll share a status update on your project and receive feedback from +Acumen and your peers. This is where the magic really begins to happen!




    Continued access to a dedicated portal with guides and videos for each step of the nonprofit social enterprise journey.


    Be part of a small cohort of forward-thinking innovative nonprofit leaders & make lasting professional connections.


    Receive input on your work from +Acumen, based on Acumen’s years of experience training social innovators and investing in social enterprises.


    This is a hands-on, project-based curriculum. You won’t just sit in front of your computer screen, but instead get out into the real world to test your idea and then share your work with a virtual community.


Nonprofit leaders are busy. We’ve packaged the key steps for developing a social enterprise model into a 6-week sprint to make it as accessible as possible.
The program orientation will be on January 29th. The 6 week accelerator will run February 5-March 12 (6 weeks) and the final showcase where you present your work to outside experts will be March 19th.


  • Meet your peers
  • Set up Slack and introduce yourself
  • Consultation on your project idea with +Acumen
  • Schedule customer interviews


The Social Enterprise Mindset

  • Earned Income 101
  • The Desirability, Feasibility and Viability Framework
  • 7 Characteristics of Successful Earned Income Ventures
  • Case Study: Aravind Eyecare
  • Case Study: Seedco
  • Featured Expert: Peter Kim of Bridgespan
  • Featured Expert: Kathleen Kelly Janus, author of Social
         Startup Success
  • Assignment and Dashboard for Week 1
  • Learning Lab 1


Customer Discovery and Value Proposition

  • Introduction to Customer Discovery
  • Value Proposition Design
  • Case Study: La Casa de Don Pedro
  • Featured Expert: Patricia Price of IDEO.org
        and HumanSights
  • Assignment and Dashboard for Week 2
  • Learning Lab 2


Map Your Organizational Core and
Business Model

  • Connecting Customer Insights to a Business Model
  • Types of Nonprofit Business Models
  • How to Create a Core Map
  • How a Business Model Fits Together
  • Nonprofit Revenue Engines
  • Introduction to the Business Model Canvas
  • Case Study: First Book
  • Featured Expert: Vikki Tam of Bain and Company
  • Assignment and Dashboard for Week 3
  • Learning Lab 3


Size Your Market and Develop
Your Financial Model

  • How to Size Your Market
  • How to Set Price
  • Financial Model Template
  • How to Complete the Products/Services and Costs Tab
        of Your Financial Model
  • How to Connect Your Financial Numbers to Your Social
  • Case Study: Drive Change
  • Featured Expert: Meradith Leebrick of IPPF
  • Assignment and Dashboard for Week 4
  • Learning Lab 4


Develop and Test a Minimum
Viable Product

  • What is a Minimum Viable Product?
  • Business Experiment Design
  • Examples of MVPs
  • Case Study: Living Goods
  • Featured Expert: Ann Mei Chang, USAID and Lean Impact
  • Featured Expert: Nabila Amarsy, UNDP and Strategyzer
  • Assignment and Dashboard for Week 5
  • Learning Lab 5


Understand the Funding Landscape,
Cultivate Champions, and Develop
Your Pitch

  • How to Mobilize Your Stakeholders and Find Your
  • Understand Legal Structures
  • The Impact Capital Spectrum
  • Case Study: International Development Enterprises India
  • Case Study: One Acre Fund
  • Featured Expert: Anne Marie Burgoyne, Emerson
  • Assignment and Dashboard for Week 6
  • Learning Lab 6: Final Presentation to Experts


Contact our Program Manager.


6 Learning Labs and 1 Orientation Session

Lifetime access to 22 video tutorials, 8 practical case studies sharing the detailed experiences of other organizations, and 6 workbooks with step-by-step instructions for each stage of the process hosted on a dedicated resource portal (portal will remain accessible after the 6-week program ends)

Closed Community of Nonprofit Innovators (Slack group will remain accessible after the 6-week program ends)

Certificate in Nonprofit Innovation from +Acumen

Final Feedback Report from +Acumen and a LinkedIn endorsement if you successfully complete the Accelerator

Frequent Questions

  • How are participants selected?

    Acceptance will be on an application-basis. We will be looking for participants who work in existing nonprofit organizations and have the ability to launch an initiative.

  • How will this be different than a +Acumen free course?

    We’ve heard repeatedly from +Acumen course participants that they want more facilitated interaction with peers and feedback on their assignments. Since we can’t offer this at scale to thousands of learners in our free courses, we are excited to be piloting these new Accelerator models so that we can give a smaller group of our best students targeted feedback and a more facilitated experience. Although this Accelerator will build upon some of the core content covered in other +Acumen courses, the majority of video tutorials and case studies are being developed exclusively for this Accelerator.

  • Am I guaranteed to emerge with a profitable idea?

    No. There are no guarantees of profitability in the field of social entrepreneurship. This Accelerator will offer you a structured process for testing out potential ideas to generate earned income for your nonprofit organization, but there is no guarantee that the idea you generate through this 6-week program will be the exact one that starts to earn revenue from your organization. All good ideas require iteration and development as they interact with the market. However, you will gain a replicable process for quickly testing ideas so that you can learn faster and identify a promising business model more efficiently in the long run. We’ll do our best to set you up for success using the best tools and case studies we’ve come across in Acumen’s 15+ years as an impact investor.

  • What if I can’t attend the live Learning Labs?

    The Learning Labs are the core of this experience. If you need to miss more than two, we’d suggest that you sign up for the Accelerator at a different time. We will record access to the Q&A sessions so that you can reference them later.

  • What if I can’t participate this round?

    We plan to offer a next session later in 2019. Sign up to receive information on the next cohort.

  • Will I earn a Certificate?

    Yes, you will receive a Certificate and detailed feedback report from +Acumen if you successfully complete the Accelerator. You can also opt to receive a written, customized endorsement from +Acumen for your LinkedIn profile if you successfully complete the program.

  • How much time should I expect to spend each week?

    The more time you put in, the better the outcomes! We’ve streamlined the steps in this process so that you should be able to complete all activities within 6 hours per week, but there will certainly be opportunities for you to go deeper and spend much more time on each stage to significantly develop your ideas. If you can’t commit to at least 6 hours for 6 weeks, this probably isn’t the program for you.

  • How much feedback will I receive from +Acumen?

    You will be able to submit questions to the facilitator each week. A curated set of questions from all participants will be answered via a live video chat before each Learning Lab and we will also provide written responses over Slack to all participant questions. You will also receive a detailed feedback report at the end of the Accelerator itemizing the strengths and weaknesses of your idea and a list of follow-on resources that could be valuable.

  • Are scholarships available?

    Yes. We will do our best to accomodate all eligible nonprofits who are committed to developing an earned income idea. Scholarships of up to 50% are available.

  • How many people per organizaiton can participate in the Learning Lab?

    One person per organization should participate in the weekly Learning Lab. This should be the same person each week. Up to 10 additional people from your organization can access all of the curriculum materials and participate in completing the weekly assignments.

  • What technology will I need access to?

    You will need to be able to use and download video conference software and access an online learning platform provided by +Acumen. We expect you to have a strong, reliable internet connection to participate in the weekly Learning Labs via video conference.

  • What is the Tuition?

    Tuition is $2500 per organization. Need-based scholarships of up to 50% are available.