Fast Company has released its 2008 Social Entrepreneur Awards.
They now include a category that includes for-profit social entrepreneurs. This is a growing trend as social entrepreneurs see fewer advantages and more headaches associated with non-profit status.
This weblog has been following one of the Social Entrepreneur winners, Acumen Fund, and the concept of social entrepreneurship for some time, with a good deal of insight being provided by Entrepreneurial Mind. This has been from the perspectives of both global paradigm shifts now ongoing throughout the world and personal paradigm shifts for myself.
Responding to a request from a reader, Dr. Cornwall provides some additional insights regarding social entrepreneurs.
Sure. Many social entrepreneurs view the traditional non-profit model as being too encumbering, restrictive, and expensive. Many are developing business models in which they generate revenues that can support their causes.
For example, Pura Vida coffee sells free trade coffee. They are a for-profit company. But the owners have committed to funneling all of the profits to help support and develop the farmers who grow their coffee.
We find more and more of today's social entrepreneurs who believe that the IRS places too many restrictions on the non-profits of the world. They would rather use free enterprise to pursue their social objectives.
If we take the position that social-entrepreneurs need the same business skills sets as private business entrepreneurs and that dependency on governments is more of a limitation than a help then this idea has definite merit.
New ideas are also coming from Seth Godin regarding social entrepreneurs, philanthropic organizations and 'new' marketing.
I gave at the office via Seth's Blog by Seth Godin on 1/9/08
Mark Rovner has an insightful post about the current state of fundraising and non-profits.
Seth has some of his own.
As soon as commerce started online, many non-profits discovered lots of income from their websites. This was mistakenly chalked up to brilliant conversion and smart marketing. In fact, it was just technologically advanced donors using a more convenient method to send in money they would have sent in anyway.
The internet allows some organizations to embrace long-distance involvement. It lets charities flip the funnel, not through some simple hand waving, but by reorganizing around the idea of engagement online. It means opening yourself up to volunteers, encouraging them to network, to connect with each other, and yes, even to mutiny. It means giving every one of your professionals a blog and the freedom to use it. It means mixing it up with volunteers, so they have something truly at stake. This is understandably scary for many non-profits, but I'm not so sure you have a choice.
It was Seth Godin who got me thinking in terms of working as an independent change-agent rather than an agent of a governmental organization. Now with that and the ever increasing blurring of distinction between social and private entrepreneurialism, I am going to have to re-think my tags for this weblog.
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