Social enterprises use a variety of methods to generate commercial income to sustain operations. At any given time, a social enterprise may use one or a combination of methods, based on the type of enterprise and business strategy.
|Charging constituents or clients for social services in order to recover costs of service provision.
|Museums charge entry fees; microfinance institutions sell financial services; rural clinics collect sliding scale fees for doctor visits.
|Earned income through manufacturing and product sales, or through mark-up and resale of products.
|Horticulture cooperative sells flowers wholesale to suppliers; a fair trade company imports cocoa beans and manufactures them into chocolate products to sell in western markets; a handicraft marketing company sells artisan products through a catalogue and takes a commission on sales; a café employing disabled people sells coffee and snacks to the public.
|Commercialization of a skill or expertise to a market willing and able to pay.
|Hunger relief organization sells catering services to schools and institutions; children's education organization provides daycare service for a fee; mental health organization sell psychotherapy and counseling services; a national microfinance institution sells management consulting services to other nonprofit organizations interested in starting credit programs.
|Fees collected from members of a group, association, or organization in exchange for services such as a newsletter, discounts, conferences, insurance, etc.
|Dairy subsector trade association provides market information and linkages to its paying members; organization of social enterprise practitioners receives newsletter, listserv, industry reports, job listings, and an annual conference in exchange for an annual fee.
|Generating income by renting or leasing a tangible asset such as office space, building, land, vehicles, or equipment.
|Human services organization leases its idle office space to another nonprofit organization; a community development organization rents its trucks to a moving company on the weekends; an environmental conservation organization leases its land to an eco-touring organization.
|Generating income by leveraging an intangible asset such as proprietary content, methodology, brand, reputation, relationships, goodwill, etc.
|International Children's organization licenses its logo and brand name to a clothing line; a university obtains research contracts for scientific study from technology companies; a membership organization sells its mailing list; a youth news agency sells its print content to an online educational service targeting young people.
|Passive income earned from investments.
|Interest income and dividends from bonds, stocks, savings deposits, and other investments.
|Unrelated Business Activities
|Revenues from a business unrelated to the organization's mission and created for the purpose of funding specific social activities or the organization at-large.
|Museum shop or retail store of an environmental organization; Girl Scout cookies; a catalogue trinket business supporting a public radio station; nonprofit real estate holdings.