Mission Orientation

Mission Orientation

Social enterprises can be classified based on their mission orientation.

Mission-Centric Social Enterprise

Mission-Centric Social Enterprise

The enterprise is central to the organization's social mission. These social enterprises are created for the express purpose of advancing the mission using a self-financing model.

Organizations created to employ disadvantaged populations (employment development) and microfinance institutions are examples of this type of social enterprise.

Mission-centric social enterprises often take the form of embedded social enterprises.

Mouvement Paysan de Papaye, an example of Mission-Centric Social Enterprise

The mission of Mouvement Paysan de Papaye (MPP) in rural Haiti is "to establish at the community level cooperative enterprises that allow the peasants to advance economically." MPP's mission is the foundation of its social programs, guiding decisions ranging from which industries to enter, to how to design its business models.

MMP uses social enterprise as strategy to create economic opportunities for its clients through new jobs, by opening markets, and supporting self-employment. The organization's target population benefits from its social enterprises in four ways, as: employees, business owners, customers and community members. As well, MMP's enterprises achieve supplementary impact by mitigating another critical social problem its clients face: food insecurity.

In central Haiti, where food supplies are unreliable; little sustainable farming knowledge exists; and there is a lack of access to agricultural inputs, people often go hungry. To address this problem and accomplish its mission, MPP began three mission-centric cooperative enterprises: a bakery that makes and sells traditional Haitian flat bread, a farm, and a store that sells agricultural and farm inputs.

  1. The bakery provides 24 jobs for MMP’s clients in addition to a reliable food supply to the community.
  2. The store promotes sustainable cultivation and food production, and hence, fosters self-employment (farming) and creates more jobs.
  3. The third business, a 50-acre farm, grows produce and animal feed, and raises livestock, supplying the local population with a sustainable source of food and over a hundred jobs.

In sum, MPP's three businesses create nearly 200 jobs for local peasants and supply essential goods and services to the community.

Financially, the social enterprises are self-sufficient, not only covering their own costs, but earning a surplus which MMP uses to subsidize its literacy, advocacy, micro-loans, agricultural and education programs.

Mission-Related Social Enterprise

Mission-Related Social Enterprise

The enterprise is related to the organization's mission or core social services. Mission-related social enterprises have synergistic properties, creating social value for programs and generating economic value to subsidize the organization's social programs and/or operating expenses.

Commercialization of social services is a common form of the mission-related social enterprise. One example is a family services organization that provides free meals to the children of low income families enrolled in the organization's day care programs. Utilizing its industrial kitchen, staff dietitian and cooks, the organization starts a catering business serving the "social institutional" market segment--schools, day care centers, hospitals willing and able to pay for this service.

Mission expansion is another type of mission-related social enterprise. An example is a women's economic development organization that supports self-employed single mothers through small business consulting services; and then expands its mission by opening a sliding-scale fee-based childcare social enterprise to permit its clients more time to focus on their business.

Mission-related social enterprises often take the form of integrated social enterprises.

Essential Eldercare, an example of Mission-Related Social Enterprise

IONA Senior Services is an example of a nonprofit organization that launched a mission-related social enterprise, Essential Eldercare. IONA is “dedicated to enabling older people to live with dignity and independence. Through its professional staff, corps of volunteers, and close collaboration with other organizations, IONA provides services and access to programs designed to meet the needs of seniors and their families.” IONA accomplishes its mission by providing free and subsidized eldercare services to low income elderly residents of Washington DC, which includes adult day care, fitness, computer classes, recreational activities, counseling, meals, etc.

IONA commercialized its core social services to start Essential Eldercare, a premier eldercare social enterprise, as a means to generate income to support the organization's nonprofit activities. Essential Eldercare (EE) sells premium eldercare services to middle and high income seniors in the greater Washington Metro area. Although there are marginal differences between the types of eldercare services rendered by IONA and EE, the main difference is the markets they serve, thus Essential Eldercare social enterprise's activities are related to IONA's mission. It's important to note that IONA's mission does not dictate the economic status of the seniors it serves. Therefore by expanding eldercare services into an affluent market, IONA is able to reach a greater number of seniors and increase its social impact.

EE is structured as a profit center within the nonprofit parent organization, IONA. Assets and synergies are leveraged across the nonprofit and social enterprise. For example, IONA rents office space and infrastructure (computer lab, fitness facilities, etc.) to EE; it also subcontracts IONA's social workers and eldercare specialists; and shares back office services and their related expenses, such as reception, intake and accounting. EE benefits from IONA's location, superb facility, name recognition and stellar reputation to sell its products. The inter-relationship between IONA and Essential Eldercare is evidenced in EE's mission: “to provide families premium quality eldercare services with compassion and integrity. By meeting the needs of an affluent target market, Essential Eldercare will generate excess revenue and capacity to serve more economically and socially disadvantaged frail seniors.”

Social Enterprise Unrelated to Mission

Social Enterprise Unrelated to Mission

The enterprise is not related to the organization's mission, or intended to advance the mission other than by generating income for its social programs and operating costs.

Business activities may have a social bent, add marketing or branding value, operate in an industry related to the nonprofit parent organization's services or sector, however, profit potential is the motivation for creating a social enterprise unrelated to mission.

Social enterprises unrelated to mission usually take the form of external social enterprises.

Save the Children's Licensing Program, an example of Social Enterprise Unrelated to Mission

Save the Children is an international development organization dedicated to creating real and lasting change for children in need. Save the Children was founded in 1932 and operates in over 40 developing countries and in 17 states across the United States. In addition to traditional nonprofit fundraising activities and child sponsorship, Save the Children has established a corporate licensing program to help fund its social programs and overhead. The first licensing agreement was negotiated in 1992 with an exclusive line of neckties featuring original artwork created by children. It would not be an exaggeration to say that today millions of Americans recognize the Save the Children name, logo and distinctive artwork on a host of products. Several dignitaries, including President Clinton, and have been photographed wearing Save the Children's ties and scarves.

Licensing relationships are sought with companies in consumer-related industries, based on the mutually beneficial goal of increased profit for companies and a significant and steady income stream for Save the Children's work worldwide. Licensees use Save the Children's name, logo to market their products. Enclosed with each licensed item is a tag that describes the organization's mission and work, which functions as a marketing vehicle for Save the Children. Corporate partners benefit from Save the Children's reputation to boost their image and to attract socially conscious consumers. Since the program's inception, Save the Children has developed licensing agreements with some 30 companies representing a wide range of products: infant wear, men's boxer shorts, bow ties, cummerbunds, eyeglass cases, mugs, cookie jars, checks, t-shirts, greeting cards, stationary, candles, puzzles, and women's silk scarves. Many of Save the Children's licensee's products have high visibility and are distributed through major retailers such as TJ Maxx, Nordstroms, Walmart and broadcast shopping channels such as Shop NBC.

Although unrelated to Save the Children's program activities concerning children's education, health, economic security, physical safety, etc., the licensing social enterprise generates a significant amount of unrestricted revenue ($4.5 million in 2003) and represents millions of dollars in marketing value for the organization. The licensing social enterprise is structured as a profit center within the organization along with other corporate partnership alliance programs such as cause-related marketing campaigns.