P O S T E D B Y A L B E R T
The lines between the sectors have blurred, I’m reminded, and it’s the IRS that forces incorporated entities into nonprofit and for-profit boxes. The social entrepreneur who starts a profit-making venture to support her charitable work shows us how to free our not-for-profit minds. Blended entities such as B-corporations promise double and even triple bottom lines. If you’re hip to the jive, you avoid using words like nonprofit altogether.
Am I imagining this or do I sometimes detect a bit of a sneer in all this sector agnosticism?
Belittlements aside, the view that nonprofit designation is largely a matter of IRS convention—or worse, a failure of entrepreneurial imagination—appears to be gaining currency.
I understand the frustration some people feel with the normal course of business at many not-for-profits. But our sector agnosticism overlooks an uncomfortable truth: there are important social goods nobody wants to pay for. If it really were possible for a business-minded individual to turn a hefty profit by providing health care to the penniless, for example, it would have happened long ago.
R U a philanthrocapitalist? If you are, I’ll eat my shoe if you can convince a hundred investors to buy stock in a company that promises to make a killing by helping returning prisoners reintegrate into their communities.
The nonprofit status of organizations that provide services to the indigent reflects not a failure of imagination or of will, but rather a sober assessment of what people value enough to pay for freely. If you’re selling a product like the iPhone, you’re in luck. If not, you might need to resort to begging like the rest of us not-for-profit shlumps.
Image source: Sketchpot