Develop a revenue source for your legal empowerment organization in 8 weeks
alongside a cohort of peers


MAY, 2019


Prepared For



  • “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

  • “My biggest takewaways were realizing our unit costs and being able to articulate them. The financial modeling tools make planning and projecting very easy.”
    –Noeline Kirabo, Kyusa Uganda

  • “There's a lot I've learned that will help United Way. The desirability, feasibility, viability framework has probably been the biggest lesson. It's a simple but powerful way of approaching unstructured problems and makes it very chunk up the work in ways that others can understand. I'd love to move the organization in the direction of continuously approaching our work in shorter cycles like this. We learned and achieved so much in 6 short weeks!”
    –Andrew Courtney, Director of Operations and Digital Services, United Way


This program is designed for legal empowerment organizations with at least 3 years of operating experience looking to generate a new source of funding. Legal empowerment organization leaders at any level who are looking to bring more entrepreneurial thinking to their work are welcome to apply! You should apply with a specific, mission-aligned idea to generate revenue that you hope to develop through the accelerator program. You will need a reliable internet connection and be willing to learn from peers. If you are in the early stages of founding an organization and/or do not yet have any initial source of funding, this program is likely not the best fit for you.


Develop a product or service to earn revenue for your legal empowerment organization.

Learn from case studies of other organizations that have built a sustainable source of funding.

Interview potential customers to understand how to build a desirable offering.

Build a financial model to understand the numbers behind your idea.

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


We’ve packaged the steps to help legal empowerment leaders to develop a new source of revenue. Over 8 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 Lab. You’ll join a select cohort of other legal empowerment organizations 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. You can continue to access the online learning materials and peer community even after the program ends.

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.


We’ve packaged the key steps for developing a revenue stream into a 8-week sprint to make it as accessible as possible. Orientation will be held on May 6 and the program runs from May 14 to June 25. The final showcase where you present to outside experts will be held on July 2nd.



  • Get Oriented
  • Meet Your Peers
  • Introduction to Innovative Financing for Legal
         Empowerment Organizations
  • Earned Income 101
  • The Desirability, Feasibility and Viability Framework
  • 7 Characteristics of Successful Earned Income Ventures
  • Case Studies from other Legal Empowerment
  • Assignment: Hypothesis Dashboard


The Social Enterprise Mindset

  • Introduction to Customer Interviews and Market
  • Value Proposition Design
  • Legal Empowerment Case Study
  • Assignment: Customer Interviews
  • Learning Lab


Customer Discovery

  • Individual Coaching
  • Assignment: Customer Interviews


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
  • Revenues Sources for Legal Empowerment Organizations
  • Introduction to the Business Model Canvas
  • Case Study: First Book
  • Featured Expert: Vikki Tam of Bain and Company
  • Assignment: Business Model Canvas and Core Map
  • Learning Lab


Size Your Market and Develop
Your Financial Model

  • How to Size Your Market
  • How to Set Prices
  • Financial Model Template
  • How to Connect Your Financial Numbers to Your Social
  • Legal Empowerment Case Study
  • Assignment: Financial Model
  • Learning Lab


Develop and Test a Minimum
Viable Product

  • What is a Minimum Viable Product?
  • Business Experiment Design
  • Examples of Minimum Viable Products
  • Case Study: Living Goods
  • Featured Expert: Ann Mei Chang, USAID and Lean Impact
  • Assignment: MVP Development
  • Learning Lab


Individual Consultations and Presentation Development

  • Case Study: International Development Enterprises India
  • Assignment: MVP Testing
  • Consultation on Business Experiments


Final Showcase

  • Present your final projects to experts
          for feedback


Contact our Program Manager.


6 Peer Learning Labs and 2 Coaching Consultations

Final Showcase where you receive feedback from outside experts

Lifetime access to 22 video tutorials, 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 (curriculum will remain accessible after the 8-week program ends)

Sample assignments showcasing other nonprofit business models

Certificate in Nonprofit Innovation from +Acumen

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


  • How are participants selected?

    We are looking for participants who (1) have a specific idea to generate income for an existing legal empowerment organization (2) are excited about learning from peers (3) have a strong and reliable internet connection to participate in video calls. We will review applications on a rolling basis and invite finalists for a 30 minute phone interview.

  • What is the tuition?

    The program is free to all selected organizations thanks to generous sponsorship from Open Society Foundations.

  • How many organizations have participated? What have been the results?

    50 organizations from around the world have participated in the accelerator program to date. Around 75% of all who start the program successfully complete the accelerator within the 8 weeks and emerge with a plan for testing an earned income idea. Several organizations have generated sales and revenue during the accelerator program. More commonly, participants emerge with a roadmap for continuing to test and update their idea and many of them use the tools and curriculum to test other ideas after the program ends. Some of them discover quickly that their initial idea will not work--and they report that their time was well spent discovering this sooner rather than later! In the months following the program organizations have generated up to $60k in revenue and attracted additional capital from funders who were impressed by their plans to achieve financial stability and diversify their funding models.

  • Who runs the program?

    This program has been developed by +Acumen, the World’s School for Social Change. +Acumen offers a variety of free and low-cost online learning opportunities for social entrepreneurs and social innovators available at The curriculum for this accelerator has been developed based on Acumen’s 15+ years of experience as an impact investor funding social enterprise models around the world. Learn more at

  • 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 8-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.

  • Do I need to attend all Learning Labs?

    The Learning Labs are the core of this experience. We strongly recommend that each organization designate one Lead Participant who can attend all 6 Labs. If you cannot tend for any reason, you should designate a substitute from your organization.

  • Will I earn a Certificate?

    Lead Participants will receive a Certificate and detailed feedback report from +Acumen if you successfully complete the Accelerator.

  • 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 8 weeks, this probably isn’t the program for you. You can also divide some of the work on your assignments amidst other people on your nonprofit team.

  • How much feedback will I receive from +Acumen?

    You will receive a written feedback report each week that compiles feedback from your Acumen coach and peers. You will also have two coaching consultations. Acumen coaches will also be available to ask questions online during the accelerator.

  • How many people per organization 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.