Nonprofits are agents of change.
Nonprofits have served as the backbone of social change. These organizations have always been driven by powerful missions and quests for impact.
New opportunities for social impact exist with hybrid models that mix philanthropy with revenue-generating activities. By developing a profitable entity, nonprofit organizations can become more self-reliant and plan around more secure sources of funding. Having stable access to funds also strengthens nonprofits’ programmatic effectiveness and efficiency.
More nonprofits leaders are discovering how to align their values and their mission with their operations. In order to achieve a just and equitable future, businesses and nonprofits alike are contributing to a purpose-driven economy.
Why become a nonprofit social enterprise?
Most nonprofits know they cannot count on grants, corporations, individual donors, or government funding alone. When aligned with your current mission, adding a socially responsible stream of revenue—such as a product, service, or marketplace—is yet another income source to support your life-changing programs.
Nonprofit social enterprises in action:
As a nonprofit, your team is committed to your social mission. Becoming a social enterprise provides nonprofits with operational versatility that drives organizational progress toward social impact. Using business as a tool for good, local mission-driven organizations are multiplying their impact in areas such as:
Accessing Food & Health
Appetite for Change uses food as a tool to build health, wealth, and social change, including local eatery, Breaking Bread, that provides revenue and dining options where fresh food access is limited. Similarly, Urban Ventures sells fresh produce, coffee, and more that sustainably employ, educate, and nourish communities. Whereas, Pillsbury United Communities’ promotes community health by pairing nutritious food access with health care and access to wellness services through the North Market.
Prioritizing Art & Culture
Nonprofit Pollen Midwest recently launched their social enterprise, Pollen Studio, operating as a creative agency that gives work to a diverse network of artists and writers who grow social impact through storytelling and engagement. Juxtaposition Arts develops and employs young urban artists through hands-on education initiatives at their design center, gallery, retail shop, and artists’ studio space in North Minneapolis.
In response to a criminal justice system that forces felons to carry around their mistakes, even as they strive for a better life, All Square launched a new kind of restaurant that employs people with criminal records and provides them with professional training to create brighter futures. Neighborhood Development Center offers culturally-affirming business training, financing, and community-building for local entrepreneurs in traditionally underserved communities.
Protecting The Environment
Repowered not only recycles electronics to keep e-waste out of the landfill, they also hire individuals facing barriers to employment and provide extensive job training for better earning potential in the future. Similarly, Tree Trust addresses issues affecting people and the planet through job training and reforestation programs.
Discover a network of support for nonprofits looking to unlock revenue for greater impact.
Forget lakes, Minnesota’s long dedication to social services and philanthropy earns it the title The Land of 10,000 Nonprofits. With that, an ecosystem of support has formed to catalyze and support nonprofits in their pursuit of unlocking social innovation.
- Propel Nonprofits offers a wide array of support to local organizations. From their Financial Leadership Cohort to accounting services and lending, Propel’s programs and services aim to make nonprofits more sustainable and financially healthy by linking strategy, governance, and finance. Propel Nonprofits provides a holistic approach to meet nonprofits’ varied needs, including expertise in social enterprise through their cohort programs.
- With access to national leadership and leveraging local connections, Greater Twin Cities United Way provides funding to dozens of area nonprofits who are working individually and together toward a more stable, equitable community.
- Driven by their own members’ priorities, Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (MACC) provides a platform for collective action to create positive change. With the mission of leading “courageous collaboration,” MACC has resources, such as the Social Enterprise Development Network, specifically designed for impact-driven endeavors. The Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (MACC) has invested $500,000 in the Social Enterprise Development Network to provide nonprofit members with technical assistance and resource navigation.
- Going beyond simple philanthropy, 20 Degrees gives nonprofits and social enterprises access to new forms of revenue and impact-focused capital in order to diversify their funding and strengthen their financial resiliency.
- The Initiative Foundation, serving Central, Southwest, and West Central Minnesota, invests in nonprofit social enterprises through its annual Initiators Fellowship and iFound nonprofit organizational training.
- Every year, more supporting organizations are prioritizing nonprofit social enterprises and revenue-earning strategies. Avisen Legal’s Social Enterprise Team brings together attorneys with expertise in nonprofit tax law and entrepreneurial services. The Minnesota International NGO Network (MINN) provides trainings and professional networking events, like the MINN Summit, to break down sectoral silos.
- Have a mission-driven idea but are stuck on how to bring it to life? Work with the leaders behind Popup Think Tank who design and facilitate free workshops and sessions that move leaders, nonprofit teams, and social enterprise businesses forward with energy and momentum.
Getting started with adding a revenue stream to your nonprofit structure can feel daunting. While our local partners can provide insight and connections, these online resources might also be useful to your Board and staff.
- Proven Strategies to Increase Your Nonprofit’s Revenue by BPlans
- How Nonprofits Generate Revenue Streams via The Balance Small Business
- Insight about whether social enterprise is right for your nonprofit from Philanthropy Impact
- Tips on how to align your mission with your revenue by ASAE
- Social Entrepreneurship Tips from Global Giving
- A Social Enterprise Toolkit by Community-Wealth
- Social Enterprise Basics from Greenlining
- Nonprofit Revenue Generation Certificate Program from EICC
- Revenue Generation for Nonprofits Course by You Got Class