9 Critical Success Factors to Keep in Mind When Considering a Social Enterprise

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More nonprofits are now exploring social enterprise as a means to create a sustainable revenue stream in support of their organization’s mission. In large part, this is being driven by a need to replace harder-to-get government and foundation funding and reduced giving from other sources. Besides the financial advantages of a social enterprise, there are also other intangible benefits, which I have pulled together in a blog series to help companies think through and formulate a strategy for implementing the right model.

If you are exploring social enterprise as a potential revenue stream for your organization to fulfill its mission, stop and take a minute to walk through the 9 critical success factors outlined below. Why? Because there are several criteria that should be top of mind to select the right enterprise model based on your organization’s mission and its ability to successfully build, grow, manage and sustain the enterprise. Not every model is right for every organization.

As a board member and advisor to several non-profits, I use the following nine basic selection criteria to help these organizations assess potential social enterprise models for viability:

Social Enterprise: What is it, exactly?

Intro and Critical Success Factor 1: Must support and be consistent with your mission

Critical Success Factor 2: Market Viability

Critical Success Factor 3: Differentiation

Critical Success Factor 4: Funding and Resources… Culture Matters, too

Critical Success Factor 5: Proportionate Allocation of Resources

Critical Success Factor 6: Must be Scalable and Sustainable

Critical Success Factor 7: Should reach break-even in a “reasonable” period of time

Critical Success Factor 8: Should create greater visibility for your non profit’s brand

Critical Success Factor 9: The importance of business planning for your social enterprise

I hope you find this information of value. If you have any questions on evaluation or creating a sustainable social enterprise, feel free to call or e-mail me at 312-920-1700 or jstoynoff@Synthesis.Biz.


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