CEO of NESC shares insight on the momentum of Social Enterprise.
The nonprofit community is facing a historic financial challenge, threatening the economic viability of institutions which provide critical services to a substantial portion of our nation’s population. With the dramatic reduction in government support at all levels for nonprofits, the increasing restrictions on foundation support to nonprofits, the slow recovery from the great recession and the latest blow – government sequestration – nonprofits are increasingly unable to meet the demands placed on them.
With over 15 million children living in poverty , with meals on wheels programs being eliminated for millions of people desperate to put food on the table, with pre-school and extra-curriculum program cut-backs, and countless other societal breakdowns, nonprofit organizations are needed more than ever to help address the needs of people who have no other recourse.
NESC’s mission is to help strengthen the management of the nation’s nonprofits. Not the least of our goals within this mission is to help ensure the financial sustainability of our nonprofit clients. Our social enterprise consulting service has proved to be vital to many of our clients seeking to enhance their revenue streams from non-restrictive sources.
This consulting service entails working with our clients to identify existing underleveraged and/or non-monetized assets. If we’re successful in the identification phase, we proceed to aid in the development of a focused business plan for realizing the full potential of the asset, including a financial projection and timeline for implementation. We also have the capability to assist in the implementation of the business plan, including organizing and structuring a business as well as seeking financing.
As NESC has become more involved in social enterprise financing activities, we’ve begun to offer our clients a new channel for financial support by directly approaching venture philanthropy funding sources. The venture capital sector is receptive to the concept of leveraging existing assets as a means of generating recurrent cash flow, and some venture capitalists have focused all or a part of their activities on applying this investment philosophy to the world of philanthropy.
NESC has taken two approaches to the venture philanthropy sector – one is to analyze the venture philanthropist’s existing portfolio of investees to identify suitable social enterprise opportunities, and the other is to serve as a matchmaker, finding suitable new investees.
Joe Townsend has served admirably as NESC Sector Head for Social Enterprise since its inception, and he and his team of social enterprise consultants are to be congratulated for their creativity and initiative for bringing this valuable service to the aid of our clients in a time of great need.
The next issue of our newsletter will focus on Executive Search.
Marv Berenblum, Chief Executive Officer, NESC