SOCAP17 Recap

I was lucky enough to attend SOCAP17 in October 2017 in San Francisco, CA at Fort Mason, thanks to a local funder, the Bush Foundation. This was my first time attending this conference, although I've wanted to attend since the beginning (2007). 

Attending SOCAP for the first time? Read this recap of SOCAP17!

Many attendees arrive at SOCAP with one mission in mind: "Find impact investors who will fund my social enterprise." I had different goals. I had strong intent to meet as many of the 3,000 attendees as possible, attend workshops and networking events for 10+ hours each day, and share the stories of social entrepreneurs through #SocEntMoment videos on social media. But I failed miserably at this. Best laid plans, right?

The morning I got on the airplane to SFO, was the morning the wildfires started in Napa and Sonoma, CA. I received text messages and calls from concerned friends and family about our safety. Arriving at SFO that afternoon, I could already see the smoke in the sky, and feel the heaviness in my lungs. 

SOCAP17 started the next day. If you follow Social Good Impact on Instagram, you'll remember my not-so-great start to the day. I couldn't find the building for my day-long session. I tried to check-in at registration and was yelled at by a SOCAP staff member. I was already feeling ill from the smoke and my mood was dampened. 

I'd reviewed the conference sessions and had a few in mind that sounded interesting. After all, I'd heard from people who had attended SOCAP before, that the best way to approach the conference is to have a plan.

But for the rest of the conference, I decided to have no plan. I attended sessions randomly that I thought might be interesting, but not necessarily the ones I'd planned on. I met people who happened to be around, but not necessarily anyone I PLANNED on meeting. I hopped on to do some live video when the WiFi was stable, but didn't get to accomplish my goal of showcasing social enterprise stories through #SocEntMoment clips. 

And this was ok. I didn't get to do what I'd set out to do, and I was ok. 

I didn't meet 3,000 people, but the few dozen I did meet were high-quality, and I got to reconnect in person with a few people I haven't seen in a few years (see: Jonathan Lewis). I didn't attend every session I wanted to, but of the sessions I did attend, I found value:

Jed Emerson's talk on the Purpose of Capital and Focusing on the Why. I've seen Jed speak before at the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit, and this was a new side of Jed. Heartfelt, strong, straight-forward. Worth the 15 minute watch. You can read the full transcript here, but this section in particular stood out:

"The Purpose of Capital is to advance a more progressively free and just experience of life for all;

The Purpose of Capital is to negate, resist and challenge the present economic, social, environmental and political realities within which we now find ourselves;

The Purpose of Capital is to advance the fulfillment of our potential as a thriving planet and valued people;

The Purpose of Capital is to serve as a fuel for freedom and the attainment of the greatest potential for each person, in every community." - Jed Emerson

(Also, you can find the full SOCAP17 video playlist here.)

James Higa's keynote on 10 things he learned working for Steve Jobs at Apple. I won't list all 10 verbatim but will summarize with this: 

  • Simplicity = Clarity. There is no such thing as a small project. Projects distract you from focusing on the simple clarity of one main project. 
  • Hire people smarter than you. Build a team of A players at every level.
  • Excellence is a habit; practice it every day in every thing. Mistakes are a slide to mediocrity. 
  • Vision + Execution = Success. Do the critical thinking, research and analysis before you create your MVP and iterations. 

Most of the sessions seemed to include a "show and tell" component, and reflections over the past 10 years. (This was the 10th year of SOCAP, so that may have been why.) And while reflection time is good, I was hoping for more action-oriented, forward-focused, metrics-driven content. 

Overall, I came up with a TON of ideas for new free resources for the #socent toolkit. Stay tuned for new social enterprise tools and resources coming soon. If you don't already have access to the free #socent toolkit, you can sign up here.

If I'm lucky enough to attend SOCAP again, there are a couple things I'd do differently. 

  • I would spend WAY MORE time at the picnic tables outside the Festival Pavilion. You'll see these in every photo of SOCAP. I made more connections, had deeper conversations, and learned more from informal conversations near the picnic tables than I did anywhere else at SOCAP. 
  • I would attend every evening dinner, happy hour, networking event possible. This seemed to be the "secret menu" of SOCAP - finding house parties, dine-arounds and other networking opportunities to REALLY get to know people. 

So let me know in the comments below - what did you think of SOCAP17? Or other years you've attended SOCAP? 

Plus - if you attended SOCAP or not, and you're looking to connect with like-minded people year-round, join our private Facebook group called SocEntChat - Social Enterprise Chat

A (Somewhat) Quick Guide to Social Enterprise Funding

After receiving messages for over a year about challenges facing social entrepreneurs, there is a common theme: One of the biggest struggles facing social enterprises is understanding, and access to, start-up and growth funding.

What types of social enterprise funding are available to new social entrepreneurs?

What funding should I consider as a nonprofit social enterprise? What about as a for-profit social enterprise?

How do I know I need funding for my social enterprise and what would I use it for?

But before looking for funding or approaching any of these funders, investors or options below, you will want to have a good social enterprise idea and a strong business plan

Quick note before we jump in: I know this isn't a complete list and will be adding resources as they come available and as YOU let me know. If an opportunity is missing from this list, please let me know and I'll add it. And bookmark this page so you can revisit it later and get funding for your social enterprise.

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for our list of social enterprise funding options!

Let's take a look at each of these options. 

*Note: Many of these funding options are related to the United States, although there are international opportunities included throughout. 

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for our list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Savings/Self-Fund

What is it?

Your personal or organization's savings. This could be earned income from previous sales, savings from previous fiscal years set aside to start a social enterprise, or an individual's savings if you're a social entrepreneur.

How do you get it?

Save. But for real, there are tons of articles on advice for saving money, so we won't get into that here. Please do know that as a nonprofit organization, it's ok (and preferred!) to have money leftover at the end of the year to reinvest in your organization. Talk with your organization's Chief Financial Officer about how this money is saved and used, and brainstorm starting a social enterprise as one use for these funds.  

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Friends and Family

What is it? 

Money, either as a loan or not, from a friend or family member. who wants to invest in your social enterprise. 

How do you get it?

Ask for their support. You may be surprised at who wants to help your social enterprise get off the ground or grow! The friend or family member may give you money without an expectation of repayment, or they may prefer to loan you money to be repaid at a later date. So - just be really clear about what your friend or family member is expecting - maybe even put the agreement in writing. You don't want to ruin any relationships by having a misunderstanding about money. 

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Philanthropic Grants

What is it?

Funds from a foundation or other grant-giving institution. There is usually an application and review process before you receive funds, which may include submitting a theory of change and business plan. The funding may be tied to meeting specific outcomes, as reported through a grant report. 

How do you get it?

Complete the grant application for the funder. Most grants require that your organization is registered and in good standing as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, or that you have a fiscal sponsor who is one. You'll want to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements and can actually deliver on the results you propose, before applying for the grant. A few foundations that have been associated with funding social enterprises in the past are:

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The Chicago Community Trust

Calvert Foundation

St. Paul Foundation

McKnight Foundation

Northwest Area Foundation

Joyce Foundation

REDF 

VentureWell

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Blue Ridge Labs

Manhattan Institute

Chinook Fund

Kauffman Foundation

Otto Bremer Foundation

The Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation

The Kresge Foundation

Blandin Foundation

Bush Foundation

p.s. Let me know of other funders and I'll list them here! Drop me a line. 

PRO TIP: When you visit event/fellowship or other websites related to social enterprise below, look for sponsors of those events. Those companies and organizations could also be potential funders of your social enterprise!

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Social Enterprise Business Plan Competitions

What is it?

There are a number of business plan competitions you can enter for your social enterprise. Usually, you will complete an online application and submit your idea and/or a full business plan. Depending on the competition, there may be a number of rounds to narrow the applicants based on votes through social media, or expert judges votes. Not only are business plan competitions a great way to find potential funding, but also advisors, board members and other supporters who can help grow your social enterprise. 

How do you get it?

Win! Or there may be prizes if you're a runner up. A few examples of social enterprise business plan competitions:

McKinsey Venture Academy is a social enterprise competition for university students based in the UK and Ireland.

Harvard Business School New Venture Competition

Hult Prize

Net Impact has a number of Challenges, Competitions and Fellowships

University of Florida Big Idea Gator Business Plan Competition

Eureka! Road to Enterprise

Global Social Venture Competition

The Rise Fund: Under 30 Impact Challenge

The Great Social Enterprise Pitch

PRO TIP: If you haven't written a business plan before, don't worry! We have a free business plan template in our #socent toolkit. Download our business plan template for free!

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Fellowships and Accelerators

What is it?

A social enterprise fellowship or accelerator is a cohort or individual experience, usually including face-to-face learning time and often with online or virtual sessions, aimed at growing (accelerating the growth) of your social enterprise business. These can be roughly 6 months to 2 years in length, depending on the program, and are a great way to meet like-minded people who can be a sounding board for your social enterprise. Often times, the fellowship or accelerator will include a small amount of start-up funding, or the option to apply for funding.

How do you get it?

Complete an application and give it your best shot! Similar to grant funding applications, you will likely need to have a business plan and theory of change prepared as part of the application process. A few examples of social enterprise fellowships and accelerators are:

Echoing Green

Global Good Fund

REDF Accelerator

Kauffman Fellows

Ashoka

Civic Accelerator

Uncharted 

Blue Ridge Labs

Agora Partnerships Accelerator

Voqal Fellowship

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Crowdfunding

What is it?

Crowdfunding is sourcing small amounts ($1-$500 typically) of funds from MANY people, usually in a short period of time. Your crowdfunding contributors pledge the amount they are comfortable with, and usually have the option to choose from a variety of thank you gifts based on their contribution level. Crowdfunding campaigns have been very popular recently, including in the social enterprise sector. It's not only a way of finding funding, but also finding supporters and customers to grow your social enterprise. You'll want to use a crowdfunding campaign strategy when launching a new product, or taking on a new endeavor that requires cash up front (buying a new large piece of equipment in order to be more efficient, for example).

How do you get it?

There are tons of resources online about how to successfully fund a crowdfunding campaign, so here, we'll just talk about a few of the options:

Kickstarter is one of the most well known crowdfunding platforms. This is an all-or-nothing platform, so if you aren't fully funding at the end of the timeframe, you don't receive the funding. It's focused on creative projects so consider that before joining. 

There's a newer crowdfunding platform JUST FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS called StartSomeGood. And Crowdfund 360 can help you develop the plan to achieve your crowdfunding goals.

Other popular crowdfunding platforms are IndiegogoGoFundMe and Crowdrise. All are fairly similar, but read through their individual websites to see which is the best for you. 

Another platform that's gaining traction is Patreon. While this isn't the same style as other crowdfunding, it is an interesting way for individuals to contribute support on a monthly basis, in exchange for rewards. We set up a Patreon page for Social Good Impact earlier this year - You can become a Patreon member here! Plus, if you're interested in creating a Patreon page for your social enterprise, click here to earn bonuses up to $500!

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Loans 

What is it?

According to CDFIfund.gov, "Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, are mission-driven financial institutions that have been certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. CDFIs include credit unions, banks, loan funds, and venture capital funds that operate with a primary mission of serving low-income communities."

How do you get it?

Search the database to find where CDFI Funds have been distributed in your state. Then apply for a loan with one of the awardee organizations. A couple examples are the Nonprofit Finance Fund and Nonprofits Assistance Fund

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Bank Loans

What is it?

A loan from a banking institution that you pay back over a period of time, and pay interest on the amount of the loan. The banker may need collateral (something to ensure you're able to pay back the loan, if you default) in order to approve your loan. You may want to get a loan for a large purchase, like a piece of equipment, to start or grow your social enterprise. 

How do you get it?

Apply for a loan with a bank you trust. If possible, find a nonprofit bank, like a credit union

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Bank Line of Credit

What is it?

Similar to a bank loan, but more flexible. Think of this like your credit card. Your credit card has a maximum limit you can spend, and you receive your statement each month to pay off. A Line of Credit (LOC) is can be helpful if your business has cash flow issues, A/R lag time, or needs for short-term cash, with the intent to pay back right away. 

How do you get it?

Similar to a bank loan, apply for the line of credit with a bank you trust. If possible, find a nonprofit bank, like a credit union

Are you looking for funding for your social enterprise? Click through for the list of social enterprise funding options!

Social Enterprise Funding: Impact Investing, Angel Investors and Venture Capital

What is it?

Impact investing is a newer term and a big buzz phrase in social enterprise right now. According to GIIN, impact investing is basically "investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return."

Angel investors are usually affluent individuals who have money (capital) for your social enterprise to start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt (debt that will be converted to equity later) or ownership equity (equity in your social enterprise now).

On the other hand, a venture capitalist is an investor who either provides start-up or growth loan capital or equity capital.

How do you get it?

The GIIN's Investors' Council has a large list of impact investors.

Investor's Circle has opportunities for impact investing in select US states.

You can also check out B-Corp Fund!

“The B-Corp Fund is a social enterprise venture capital fund that provides up to $250K in direct financing or participates in syndicated investments that are registered as certified benefit corporations:

  • Access to over $250 million in committed capital for investment

  • Exposure to early growth stage benefit corporations

  • Social and environmental impact, with a positive investment return

  • Targeting media and internet, branded food and beverages, and consumer products


To contact B-Corp Fund, please email 
info@bcorpfund.com.” - http://www.bcorpfund.com

Interested in impact investing for yourself? Search Impact Base's online database to get started. 

Social Enterprise Funding: Non-traditional and other ideas

Your church or faith-based group may have a budget for local missions, and could support your social enterprise efforts. 

A local rotary or other business networking group may have opportunities for annual grants or loans for start-up of your venture. 

Host an event! Ticket sales, silent or live auctions, and raffles can be a great way to generate cash. Don't forget - you can sell your social enterprise product at the event too! With events, be cautious about how much time you spend on it, or it could be a losing battle.

As with any of the options mentioned here, make sure you're following your local laws on fundraising, taxes, etc.

What else? How have you funded your social enterprise start-up and growth? What has worked well and what hasn't? Let me know in the comments below!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

26 Essential Social Enterprise Books

BONUS

This post contains affiliate links.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Five Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. for Social Entrepreneurs

Five quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. for Social Entrepreneurs

This is a big week for the United States, and the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16, and Inauguration Day for the new President of the United States of America on Friday, January 20. 

I've delayed writing anything about the President-Elect, partly in hopes that the day would not come, and partly because I just don't know what to say. Even sitting here today writing this post, I'm still not sure exactly what to say.

But I do know that this is not the time for inaction. This is not the time to think that someone else will take care of it. This is not the time to watch discrimination happen and stay silent. Many of the things Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of decades ago, ring just as true today as ever. 

With the timing of this monumental week, I'm drawing inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr. that can help social entrepreneurs, and all of us, to stay grounded and motivated. These are five of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness. - MLK, Jr.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. -MLK, Jr.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" -MLK, Jr.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
The time is always right to do what is right. -MLK, Jr.
The time is always right to do what is right. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. -MLK, Jr.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

What are some of your favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes? How do they relate to your work in social entrepreneurship? Let me know in the comments below.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Bethany Palm Accepted to REDF's Inaugural Cohort of REDF Accelerator Program

Check out the full press release from REDF below!

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS:

Lori Warren, Director of Marketing & Communications, REDF, lwarren@redf.org (415) 561-6683

Nicole Villanueva, Account Executive, FleishmanHillard, Nicole.Villanueva@fleishman.com (415) 318-4049

REDF ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL COHORT OF THE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FOR JOBS

ACCELERATOR PROGRAM

SAN FRANCISCO (October 6, 2016) - Today REDF announced its inaugural Social Enterprise for Jobs (SE4Jobs) Accelerator cohort of emerging leaders. The selected 18 participants, recognized from among more than 50 applicants across the nation, run double-bottom line businesses that support people facing the greatest barriers to employment. Program participants will apply skills to grow their social enterprises so they can impact more lives.

“Our Accelerator program is the first of its kind created to develop the future leaders of the social enterprise field on a national scale,” says Carla Javits, REDF CEO and president. “We want to strengthen the ability of social enterprise leaders to scale up their efforts to create jobs and provide support to people overcoming serious employment barriers like homelessness, incarceration, substance use and mental health struggles so they can be job-ready and achieve long-term employment success.”

Program participants will receive expert guidance on core business competencies and employee support programs, as well as the opportunity to build peer networks. The SE4Jobs Accelerator is an extension of REDF’s national Social Enterprise for Jobs network that was created in 2011 and is aligned with REDF’s national expansion and commitment to developing regional social enterprise ecosystems. The SE4Jobs Accelerator will be delivered in partnership with the Points of Light Civic Accelerator (CivicX), a national startup boot camp and investment fund for for-profit and nonprofit “civic ventures” that engage people to solve critical social issues. Since 2012, the Civic Accelerator has supported over 250 social entrepreneurs from across the country to scale their solutions to pressing social issues. 

“We are excited to expand our impact and bring our curriculum and learning to the REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator, as we partner to train and support leading innovators building sustainable solutions to workforce development,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator.

Below is the list of the 18 participants in our first Social Enterprise for Jobs Accelerator cohort:

East Coast

·         AltheaBates, The Kitchen, Hartford, CT

·         Holly Shook, CUPs Coffeehouse, Baltimore, MD

·         Rae Gallagher, Flying Fruit, Baltimore, MD

 

Midwest

·         Jeremy Haines, Reclaim Detroit, Detroit, MI

·         Bethany Palm, EmergeWORKS, Minneapolis, MN

·         Michelle Horovitz, Appetite For Change, Minneapolis, MN

·         Thomas Adams, Better Futures Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

·         Linda Kramer, Lindy and Company, Dayton, OH

 

South

·         Wesley Rose, T-Town Tacos, Tulsa, OK

·         Betty Kirkland, Project Return, Nashville, TN

 

West Coast

·         Sabrina Mutukisna, The Town Kitchen, Oakland, CA

·         Dana Frasz, Food Shift, Oakland, CA

·         Frank Ricceri, Growing Grounds, San Luis Obispo, CA

·         Kevin Rodin, LA Towel & Linen Service, Los Angeles, CA

·         Chrissy Padilla Birkey, Good Soil Industries, Los Angeles, CA

·         Shana Lancaster, Mamacitas Café, Oakland, CA

·         Ricardo Moreno, Verde Landscape, Portland, OR

 

“Participating in the REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator means access to mentors, entrepreneurs and content experts who truly understand our business model and will propel us to the next stage of growth,” said Sabrina Mutukisna, founder and CEO of Town Kitchen. “The heft and experience of REDF and particularly of SE4Jobs represents, for us, a huge repository of experience and expertise, as well as a ready-made pool of peers,” added Bettie Kirkland, Executive Director of Project Return.

 

In addition to supporting growth and providing valuable peer assistance for participants, the program will help those most in need of another chance in life. "Being part of the REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator cohort is going to be a game changer for Good Soil Industries,” said Chrissy Padilla Birkey, Executive Director, Good Soil Industries. “In the last year we have seen the need for second chance jobs increase in our community, and need all the help we can get to meet the demand.”

The SE4Jobs Accelerator program will be offered annually with the next application period opening in mid-2017.

About REDF

REDF creates jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work – like young people who are disconnected from school or work, people who’ve been homeless or incarcerated, and those with mental health or substance use challenges. Founded in 1997 by George R. Roberts (KKR), REDF provides funding and business expertise to mission-driven organizations around the country to launch and grow social enterprises, which are businesses with a “double bottom line” that make money and reinvest their revenue to employ and support more people. For more information, follow REDF on Twitter at @REDFworks or visit http://redf.org/redf-se4jobs-accelerator/.

Minnesota Social Enterprise Round Up!

It can be hard to find businesses with a social purpose - so I'm on a quest to make it super super easy. Lots of activity is happening in Minnesota in social enterprise, so let's start with that! 

There are a few listed here, but I need your help! If a social enterprise is missing, please let me know, using the form below, and I'll add them to the list. Easy peasy. 

 

Pin that!

 
Name *
Name

 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

What is a social enterprise?

One of the questions I get most often is:

 
So, what is a social enterprise?
— everybody
 

Usually followed by: 

"How do you know what one is?"

"Is my organization a social enterprise?!" 

So let's talk a little about what a social enterprise is - and what it is not.

A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IS

As defined in partnership with the Social Enterprise Alliance - Twin Cities board of directors: 

A social enterprise is an organization that sells products or services in order to achieve its social purpose.

Break it down!  Ok, let's take a couple of those terms in the definition and make sure we understand and agree on what they mean. 

Sells products or services = sells a tangible good or delivers a service for a fee. 

Social purpose = nonprofit with tax-exempt status for social purpose OR business with social purpose declared in Articles of Incorporation, in directors decision-making, and included in regular reporting.

Whoa, what? How do you know if an organization has a social purpose? 

A social enterprise can be social by:

Sharing: Organizations that exist to share some or all of their profits with charitable organizations or causes.

Selling: Organizations that make their impact through what they sell or to whom they sell it.

Sourcing: Organizations that develop their programs by how they make their products or services, typically using environmentally sustainable methods.

Staffing: Organizations that employ underserved communities, for example individuals with disabilities or individuals who are/were homeless.

So, what do we call these social enterprises?

In the nonprofit sector, we call it a COMMERCIAL NONPROFIT.

In the business sector, we call it a SOCIAL BUSINESS.

Confused? It's ok. Don't worry. We'll get through this. 

Ok, now that we know what a social enterprise IS, let's talk about what a social enterprise is not. 

A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IS NOT

A social enterprise is not a CONTRIBUTION NONPROFIT (a nonprofit organization that exclusively relies on philanthropic contributions; a charity in the traditional sense). These organizations are not a social enterprise because they don't sell a product or service. Remember that part of the definition? Oh yeah. 

A social enterprise is not a TRADITIONAL BUSINESS (a business that exists for the sole purpose of making profit). These companies are not a social enterprise because they don't have a social purpose. There are lots of businesses that have nice things they do for the community, but they are not social enterprises because the social purpose is not part of the structure, goals, reporting and decision-making.

What is a social enterprise? Get the full definition by clicking the image.

Make sense? Agree? Disagree? Let's discuss in the comments section below! 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

I'd love to hear from you! Find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest