Powering Social Change: Lessons on Community Wealth Generation for Nonprofit Sustainability

Powering Social Change: Lessons on Community Wealth Generation for Nonprofit Sustainability

Facing funding cuts from private- and public-sector sources, some nonprofits have started their own business ventures to generate new revenues — often with promising results, says a new report from consulting firm Community Wealth Ventures. The group analyzed 105 ventures and partnerships operated by 72 nonprofits and found that 69 percent of the ventures were profitable or breaking even, while taking an average of two years to move into the black. Powering Social Change: Lessons on Community Wealth Generation for Nonprofit Sustainability (126 pages, PDF) also reports that 90 percent of the organizations started businesses in line with their missions, and that the most popular enterprises among nonprofits were retail and thrift stores. Produced with support from Atlantic Philanthropies and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the report outlines important lessons for groups looking to diversify revenue streams, provides case studies on successful ventures, and features essays from practitioners and funders in the field.