When Social Enterprises Make More Sense

Nonprofit organizations help make the world go round, but so do social enterprises...and sometimes they do it even better! In Season 3, Episode 12, we’ll hear from social enterprise founders Emily Mahoney from BRANDED Collective and Dominique Anderson from Junior CEO Tennessee who help strengthen the social sector. This is a great episode for nonprofits who want to learn how to collaborate with social enterprises, and for aspiring nonprofit founders who may not have considered the option of starting a for-profit mission-led business.


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☑️ Don’t let your awareness and advocacy efforts fall to the wayside.

If I learned anything from my talk with Emily, it was this: Nonprofit organizations in New York did an AMAZING job at educating Emily and her community about the horrors of sex trafficking. The reason Emily decided to start her social enterprise is that those nonprofits told their story so well that those stories resonated with her more than any other cause area. (Listen to the full episode to hear more about this.) People can’t support your organization through social enterprises or any other efforts if they don’t know the need exists!

☑️ Be clear about your mission, values, and programs.

Emily says she and her cofounder Lauren were drawn to support End Slavery Tennessee with their social enterprise because the organization was so clear about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it. Do your website, brochures, building signage, and other marketing materials portray an accurate message about your organization?

☑️ Form clarity around your partnerships.

If your organization would like to enter into a long-term relationship with a social enterprise or other partner organization, be clear about the expectations for each party. BRANDED uses a memorandum of understanding with End Slavery Tennessee.

☑️ If you hear someone tell you they want to start a nonprofit, talk it out with them.

I would strongly discourage you from blowing someone off or blindly encouraging someone if they say they want to start a nonprofit. Ask some questions, and let them know about other options they could consider, such as forming a program within an existing nonprofit, starting a fund at the local community foundation, or opening a social enterprise.

☑️ Whether you have a nonprofit or a social enterprise, you need to be able to demonstrate your organization’s value.

Nonprofits need to be able to package their information in a way to convince donors and grantors to give them money because they are creating real impact. Social enterprises need to be able to package their information in a way to convince angel investors, social impact investors, and clients to give them money because they offer a sustainable product or service.

And if you need more help...

☑️ Email me and tell me what's going on at your nonprofit.

What are your current goals? What issues are you facing? Give me some background information, and we'll go from there! I never charge for an initial consultation, and I'll be honest if I can't help you. I'll also be happy to connect you with the other resources in my network who may be able to provide better advice or services for your situation.

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