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Blurring the Lines Between Nonprofits and Business

January 11, 2010

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Social enterprises. Are they nonprofit organizations? Do they actually make money?

Some actually combine a little of both.

When the term “nonprofit” comes to mind, most automatically associate it with a business model that focuses more on helping people than actually making money. Most organizations who do help people and have their entire focus directed toward social good do operate using a nonprofit model.

What if you could focus completely on making the world better around you AND still make money? That’s the niche some social enterprises fit into.

Using a traditional  business model, social enterprises use their goods and services to maintain a full-time commitment to their social mission. A great example of this is Greyston Bakery. They are a traditional business in the interest of making profit. What separates them from other businesses is how they make money and help others improve their lives. Greyston gives employment to those who are less likely to be able to gain employment at other places. Employment at the bakery gives less fortunate individuals a second chance at making a more sustainable life for themselves.

Sure, Greyston does focus on making a profit and making money. However, 100% of their profits go to the Greyston Foundation, an organization that helps teach life/job training skills to those caught up in the poverty cycle.

What other businesses do you know with socially responsible goals? Check out a few others here.

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