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.”