A:The term “social entrepreneurship” broadly encompasses ventures of nonprofits, individuals, and for-profit businesses that can yield both financial and social returns. While social entrepreneurship may be a newer addition to our vocabulary, it is not a new concept or endeavor. The Skoll Foundation provides more background on the concept of social entrepreneurship.
Social entrepreneurship can be translated into an earned income venture, such as selling goods or services, that allows a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to generate income and diversify its funding base, while providing positive impact in the community. For more information on starting a business venture within a nonprofit organization, visit Fieldstone Alliance's Tools You Can Use to assess whether you are ready to launch such a venture.
The concept of social enterprise also applies to civic-minded individuals, businesses, and other hybrid organizations that engage in for-profit ventures with a strong social bottom line. Social Edge, a program of the Skoll Foundation, is a "global online community where social entrepreneurs and other practitioners of the social benefit sector connect to network, learn, inspire and share resources."
Other web resources that address the concept of social entrepreneurship:
Idealist: What Is Social Entrepreneurship?
Summarizes the concept of social entrepreneurship from a number of different perspectives.
Fieldstone Alliance: Short- and Long-Term Approaches to Finding New Revenue Sources
Tips and techniques for conducting a feasibility study and market research on your target audience before launching your venture idea.
The Stanford Social Innovation Review
The Stanford Social Innovation Review offers strategies, tools and ideas for nonprofits, foundations, and socially responsible businesses.
National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise
Learn here about training, planning, financing and managing nonprofit risk.
Social Venture Network
Provides information and convenes conferences for charities and businesses interested in operation in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable way.
Books on the topic include:
- Venture Forth! The Essential Guide to Starting a Moneymaking Business in Your Nonprofit Organization
- Social Entrepreneurship: A Modern Approach to Social Value Creation
- Mission, Inc.: The Practitioners Guide to Social Enterprise
- Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets that Change the World
- The World We Want: New Dimensions in Philanthropy and Social Change
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Katie Artzner and Sarah Jo Neubauer, online librarians at the Foundation Center