Acumen Blog

Net Impact 2007 versus 2008: A Business Student Perspective

An NYU Stern student with a traditional consulting and a nonprofit background talks about the difference between Net Impact 2007 in Tennessee and this year’s conference in 2008, and the trends he’s observed due to the financial crisis.

On the general vibe at Net Impact 2008:
I think people in general had a mix of fear and optimism depending on the sector they are interested in.  Those who want to work in healthcare and education feel a little more optimistic.  Non-profits, too.

Everyone brought their A game.  Last year, you didn’t see that.  This year 80% are business professional; last year, only 50%.  Some wore jeans.  Today everyone is wearing a suit.  You can tell that the job market has changed significantly

On the Career Fair:

This year it’s better than last year.  The level of professionalism was higher this year.  They didn’t just send HR professionals – which is what they did last year – this year they brought people who are a lot closer to the decision-makers in their companies.

It seems like the current crisis works in favor of the social sector. For example, there were a lot more people at the Bridgespan-type tables that there were last year. This is a good thing in the short term, but the non-profit sector needs to be cautious of cherry picking talent.  There would be long-term ramifications if these people weren’t truly committed to the field.

Finding the right balance of skills and commitment is really important – but it’s difficult.


Letter from Jacqueline: My Week in Ghana

I am writing on a return flight from Ghana. The country has not seen a single case of Ebola, yet the impact of fear is profound. As travelers enter the country, attendants screen for high temperatures. Hand sanitizer dispensers are omnipresent. Hotels and conferences have seen massive cancellations. Everywhere are constant reminders of our fragility and the strength of our connectedness. [Read More]

Six online courses we’re taking this year

+Acumen’s free online courses are a great way to learn tools that will help you develop both professionally and personally. Whether you are a social entrepreneur who wants to market to your customers or a young professional that wants to strengthen your leadership skills, we are offering six courses this Fall that will help you develop the tools, knowledge, and networks to change the way the world tackles poverty. [Read More]

Four Emerging Leaders Building the Future of Pakistan

With 60% of Pakistan’s population living under less than a dollar a day, the external narrative of Pakistan is characterised by what the country lacks; a lack of security, a lack of women’s rights, a lack of access to education, and the list goes on. What this narrative ignores are the individuals who work tirelessly to plug those gaps. From human rights to education to food security, Acumen Pakistan Fellows are affecting change through organizations committed to tackling poverty. Their work is truly inspiring, promising a hopeful future for Pakistan. Here are four fellows that are building this future for Pakistan and come together periodically to share learning experiences and grow as leaders. Through five seminars, the fellows have strengthened skills of adaptability, communication, empathy and problem solving through listening. If you are committed to creating change in your community, apply now to be an Acumen Pakistan Fellow. The deadline is 29 September. [Read More]

Acumen Partners with AlphaSights to Better Access Global Expertise

In our work investing in social enterprises that deliver critical goods to the poor, there is a substantial amount of work to evaluate each investment opportunity. A critical part of the diligence process, particularly when it comes to emerging markets, is speaking with industry experts who can provide reliable information about sector trends, market dynamics and public policy – all of which affect our evaluation of potential investment opportunities. [Read More]


Our manifesto begins, “it starts by standing with the poor.” Yet for good reasons, the sector has found it challenging to measure which customers are actually being served through social impact investments – getting accurate data on incomes is notoriously difficult and the logistical challenge and cost of conducting surveys in person prohibitive. [Read More]

Questions for Aspiring Leaders

Bavidra Mohan, Acumen’s India Fellows Manager, attended this years Aspen IDEAS festival as a Scholar. The Scholarship program was established to invite guests from around the world to bring a diverse set of experiences, voices and perspectives to the rich conversations that take place at the IDEAS festival each year. [Read More]