I get this question quite a bit. Why would a nonprofit look at doing something that is risky, increases their workload and challenges the way the system works? Well, quite frankly, it is to make things better.
Tradition tells us that a nonprofit leader needs to spend copious hours writing grants for smaller and smaller pots of money in order to simply maintain their status quo. In fact, many executive directors I speak with tell me that they are barely staying afloat. Fundraising and donations are more challenging to acquire and the cost of doing business continues to rise.
What social enterprise allows for is a creativity to look at the gaps in our services and the problems within the system we work and figure out how to solve them using a business model.
Examples in our community are strong.
- Mine 101 helps Women’s Community house create a children’s program that never existed before due to funding limitations.
- Cleanworks enables Pathways Skill Development to support more people to overcome their barriers to employment.
- Impact Junk Solutions is WOTCH's business that is helping to break down the barriers and stigma around people with mental health issues working in our community.
Yes, it is a lot of work, and it is risky; however, it is proving to have amazing outcomes for the people in our community.
Pillar is excited to be working in partnership with Dr. Oana Branzei from the Ivey Busienss School. HBA and MBA students have been helping our nonprofits through the exploration of social enterprise and it has proved to be a successful way for nonprofit leaders to get ahead.
Dr. Branzei recently wrote an article about the work she is doing globally where she is teaching business models to solve social problems.
In “Hope in Hopeless Settings”, she explains that “business opportunities help individuals and communities imagine and bring about a new, different, better future”. I highly recommend you read her article…it is truly inspiring.
For more information about how social enterprise can help your organization and the people you serve, contact Chris Moss today.