Is Social Enteprise Dead?
Posted by Allison Fine on October 24, 2008
On the Chronicle’s Give and Take blog there is a fascinating post summarizing Jeff Trexler, a professor of social entrepreneurship at Pace University post on “social enterprises”, nonprofits structured like for-profit businesses and whether they can survive in an economic downturn.
Trexler writes, “At the peak of the bubble this gave the movement a rhetorical advantage, but as the economy tanks, this same language can make the social entrepreneur seem untrustworthy, defined by profit, self-interest, and the very business practices that created the problems charity now has to solve,” he continues.
I think this is a fascinating argument. I wrote a post this week about ways that nonprofits need to enhance their connectedness with constituents to survive the downturn. But Trexler gives this an interesting twist on whether the language and framework that has made nonprofits that came of age in a go-go time unsuccessful during a bust because they remind people of go-go times! Hoisted by their own petard, really.
As you all know I have written and talked about my discomfort with the notion that nonprofits will be more effective if they were just more business-like. Maybe now the focus will be on being more non-profity and being more successful, we’ll see!
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