Social Enterprise: The Solution for Struggling Charities?
A social enterprise is a business that trades for social/and or environmental purpose. Social enterprises are businesses. They have a mission and a purpose, and that is social, and they achieve this by selling products or services.
As many charitable organisations struggle to obtain funding they may find themselves shifting to the social enterprise model, in this way they become businesses that generate their income by selling goods and services rather than through grants and donations.
A good example of this would be the Salvation Army with their Sallies stores, their social services programmes or their counselling services and so on. They still of course may seek grants and donations but they have found a way to become more self-sustainable. They would then reinvest the profits/surpluses they make in support of their social mission.
We are starting to see a shift worldwide where a trend is developing for many companies that are now looking to become engaged in social investment, where they invest in businesses that offer both a financial and a social return.
Through this we will see a change in language and relationships. For instance if you’re changing your organisation from receiving a grant from a funder to delivering a contract of services, then your funders and your clients may well be the same organisation, but, through the delivery of a contract your relationship with them changes.
This development means that your organisation will have to have a mindset shift in how they look at the future of the organisation, how they want to be seen, and how they engage.