“I want to start a non-profit because I want to help people and money is not that important to a non-profit.”   I hear that often from well-intentioned people; unfortunately, they are setting themselves up for complete failure.  Society has conjured up a false view of the non-profit industry.  Yes, industry.  The non-profit world has its lingo, best practices, industry-specific jobs, and its fair share of political games and financial scandals.  Moreover, non-profits are probably more concerned with money than for-profit entities because funding is unstable and competitive. What society has forgotten is that non-profits are really just a type of business entity.  A non-profit IS a business.  A business whose business is doing good and whose structure is to redistribute its profits back into the organization/community to continue doing good. Non-profits have become synonymous with doing good, but social enterprise argues that doing good is not limited to one business model.  A social enterprise could be a not-for-profit, for-profit, co-op, or an emerging model called L3C.  For some examples, check out, SCRAP, a non-profit whose mission is “to inspire creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior by providing educational program and affordable materials to the community;” KNO Clothing a for-profit clothing company fighting homelessness; Evergreen Cooperatives a conglomerate of four cooperatives roviding job creation, wealth building, and sustainability to Cleveland, Ohio; and MOO Milk Co. an L3C promoting farm preservation and economic development by organic dairy farming.  Doing good is not limited to non-profits and does not discriminate; there are many paths to doing good.

Advertisements