Case Studies: Ashoka

Ashoka is a non-profit organization designed to promote the profession of social entrepreneurship around the world. The network of people working toward Ashoka's goals currently numbers 1,100. These individuals, otherwise referred to as Ashoka Fellows, are from 38 different countries. They are innovators with an idea for social change and the entrepreneurial drive to achieve it.

"L-Soft's software has enabled us to reach and engage a number of people that would have been impossible."

In 1999, Ashoka realized the need for better communication with not only its 1,100 Ashoka Fellows but also the large network of Ashoka friends and supporters. They needed a communication tool that would allow the organization to keep in constant contact with the large group of people involved with Ashoka. Stephanie Fischer, an Ashoka representative said:

"The mission of Ashoka is to promote the profession of social entrepreneurship, so circulating information and success stories as well as sparking dialogues is of primary importance. Similarly, in building the first and only association of leading social entrepreneurs, we need to constantly explore ways to enable Ashoka Fellows to collaborate, support and learn from one another."

In order to fill their email list management needs, Ashoka turned to L-Soft for a donation. L-Soft, eager to donate to this worthy cause, provided Ashoka with a ListPlex® node running on L-Soft's server using the popular LISTSERV® software.

Initially, Ashoka launched five LISTSERV email lists in order to promote's (a social entrepreneurial publication) most current articles and to create a forum of discussion on any topic related to social entrepreneurship. After some trial and error, Ashoka said they had learned a variety of lessons about what works best.

Since ListPlex was first implemented, Ashoka has launched several successful mailing lists. With approximately 2,500 subscribers, News@Ashoka is now their most widely read mailing list. Launched in August 2000, it is a bi-monthly newsletter for Ashoka supporters, which has received rave reviews. Supporters and friends that previously received organizational updates only during fundraising mailings can now stay in constant touch with the organization. Another successful mailing list is the Entrepreneur Social. It was launched in December 2000 in response to Ashoka's West African staff and fellows' desire to engage French-speakers working in the field of social entrepreneurship.

"L-Soft's software has enabled us to reach and engage a number of people that would have been impossible," said Fischer. "We are grateful for the L-Soft donation, which has been very helpful in strengthening the community of Ashoka Fellows and engaging Ashoka supporters. We look forward to the coming year, in which we plan to launch a Social Entrepreneurship News Service and several other regionally based Fellow discussion forums."

Case study written in January 2001 with the assistance of Stephanie Fischer, Ashoka.

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