Radiance Blog

#2 Nonprofit Sector Transformer and Macro Disruptor

Reinventing the Nonprofit Sector – A Corona POV Series

The second internal transformer and macro disrupter we’re seeing in the nonprofit sector is: the rise of the social entrepreneur.

In 2004, I began speaking about the blurring of the lines between the nonprofit and for-profit sectors.  What was once a well-defined marker is now a big, fuzzy line.  More businesses are concerned with making the world a better place, and more nonprofits are engaged in entrepreneurial practices as they build sustainable organizations.  The lingering U.S. recession has given rise to more entrepreneurship.  Survival meant learning how to build, sell and earn a profit from a better mousetrap.  It didn’t matter if you had 501c3 status or not.  The loss of the “do good” distinction, which was the basis of many nonprofits’ competitive advantage, was no longer a differentiator.  And that’s a seismic shift.

Now, add to the mix the number of for-profit businesses with a social mission.  Some are established as L3Cs or B-Corporations, and many others simply tout their social mission and community impact goals.  If I can feel good about a purchase that achieves a larger objective, be it via Chipotle (sustainable farming) or my neighborhood café (job training for low-income women), then I’ve accomplished two goals in one…and so did the business.

Most individuals in this space that I’ve met or read about don’t call themselves nonprofit executive directors.  They aptly refer to themselves as social entrepreneurs.  How does the sector think of them?  How will this trend reshape the sector?

What comes in at #3 on our list of nonprofit sector transformers and disruptors? The use of social enterprise practices.

View each part of this Corona POV Series:

Reinventing the Nonprofit Sector

#1 Nonprofit Sector Transformer and Macro Disruptor- You don’t have to be a non-profit to “do good”.

#3 Nonprofit Sector Transformer and Macro Disruptor- Use of social enterprise practices.

#4 Nonprofit Sector Transformer and Macro Disruptor – Shifting donor expectations. 



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