Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Funding Them to Fish

Nonprofits often seek start-up and growth capital for social enterprise ventures from local grantmakers. The Social Enterprise Alliance partnered with 100 funders across North America to craft a case statement in support of earned income ventures.

The result of that collaboration is Funding Them to Fish:The Case for Supporting the Earned Income Activities of Non-Profits.

I liked the following:

Types of Earned-Income Activities Supported by [Funding] Peers

Not surprisingly, the largest single category of earned income activity funded by grantmakers was Fee for Service initiatives. Nonprofits most commonly gain comfort and experience with earned income efforts through the introduction or expansion of fee for service or other tuition-based programs.

However, funders also report support for a broad array of enterprise efforts, including:

  • Service Businesses
  • Retail Operations
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale Assembly
  • Software Products
  • Consulting
  • Rental Housing
  • Agri-business
  • Real Estate Development
  • Restaurants and Catering
  • Packaging
  • Home Repair

  • As a tool to stimulate interest, I think this brief hits the mark. The funders list of examples isn't exhaustive, but it does allude to a wealth of opportunities and really each non-profit represents a point of potential innovation.

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