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Overhauling The Conversation Around Charity Revenue Streams

6 March 2019 at 5:02 pm
Maggie Coggan
As charities increasingly look to other revenue streams to stay afloat, a guidebook is aiming to help not-for-profit leaders navigate the world of social enterprise.   

Maggie Coggan | 6 March 2019 at 5:02 pm


Overhauling The Conversation Around Charity Revenue Streams
6 March 2019 at 5:02 pm

As charities increasingly look to other revenue streams to stay afloat, a guidebook is aiming to help not-for-profit leaders navigate the world of social enterprise.   

Published in partnership with Wayside Chapel, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) researchers said despite information emerging to help for-profit business focus on social purpose, the same hadn’t been done for for-purpose organisations.

“Research is emerging globally on how to navigate such challenges, but this is mainly from the perspective of for-profit firms, and yet many social enterprises are emerging from the non-profit and community sector,” UTS Associate Professor Danielle Logue said.

The dual purpose businesses are referred to as “hybrid enterprises” because they blur the divide between for-profit and not for profit, and have multiple purposes, which researchers said could create management and organisational challenges.

The guidebook covers the challenges of managing organisational identity, knowing when the business was drifting from mission, considering staff capabilities across both social and business fields, and understanding tensions between social and financial goals.

Researcher Melissa Edwards told Pro Bono News the guide was meant to change the conversation around hybrid organising, so that charities could diversify their funding streams through business, but remain in line with their purpose.  

“It’s about understanding opportunities that can be generated, so rather than seeing it as something that you do ‘instead of’, it should be done ‘as well as’,” Edwards said.    

While Wayside Chapel has a long history of providing programs for marginalised members of the community, its first social enterprise Heart Café provides training and support for disadvantaged young people via its employment support program, Wingspan.  

Edwards said the cafe, which was used as a live case study for the guidebook, is expanding on the employment support programs the charity already runs, rather than just being a stand alone enterprise.  

“So the enterprise is serving that social purpose of inclusiveness, and that enables it to also have a broader impact in terms of the achievement of its core mission,” she said.

“But as a viable enterprise it’s also providing a revenue stream.”  

Jon Owen, Wayside Chapel pastor and CEO, said the partnership with UTS helped the business operate a profit based business, while maintaining their for-purpose vision.

“Wayside Chapel set an ambitious goal when we launched Heart Café – we wanted to establish a successfully viable café in the heart of Bondi Beach that provided employment opportunities to help young people break the cycle of disadvantage, all while staying true to our organisational mission and vision,” Owen said.  

“The partnership with UTS has provided a framework to navigate the complexities of the project and create a platform for success.”

Edwards said the key difference of a hybrid organisation was they were not defined by their for-profit or non-profit status.

“Rather it’s how they create and deliver different forms of value as a core part of managing their organisational mission and strategy,” she said.

The ‘Managing Hybrid-Enterprises’ guide will be officially launched on 12 March, and made available to the public soon after.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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