Doing Good Well
What does (and does not) make sense in the nonprofit world

Chapter 16: Social Enterprises

Profits for Nonprofits

In their search for financial sustainability, nonprofits are increasingly turning towards profits. Social enterprises, or businesses with a social mission offering a variety of products and services, are mushrooming.

Despite the apparent unfair business advantage of grants, donations and widespread community support, the success rate of social enterprises has been low compared to commercial organizations. Multiple bottom lines, lack of scale and capabilities gaps are often cited as challenges. However, the key reason may be the differing cultures of the charity world as compared to the commercial world.

To encourage more successful social enterprises, it may be easier to change the heart of the business entrepreneur than the head of the social worker.