Giving Compass' Take:

• Hanane Benkhallouk, writing for Medium, discusses the significance of social entrepreneurship and how this practice can combine financial gain with social action. 

• How can social entrepreneurship drive philanthropy forward? How is the model different from a traditional nonprofit?

• Learn more about the social enterprise model. 

Give a person a stick, and he or she will draw a line in the sand. As a social entrepreneur and business consultant, I frequently find myself coming up against a corporate tendency to put business operatives into boxes, as though they can only have one focus: money, or social action. With firsthand experience standing with one foot on either side of the metaphorical divide, I can say with full confidence that this mindset is nonsense — and limiting for those on both sides.

Rather, I would argue that to enact true social change for the future, we will need to draw on both the innovative creativity of profit-minded entrepreneurship and the moral direction of nonprofit work to form a sustainable practice of social entrepreneurship.

Perhaps part of the issue lies in a misunderstanding of what social entrepreneurship is. In my role as a consultant in the field, I often come across clients who are taken aback by my asking for compensation — as though I should offer my services pro bono because the task at hand is rooted in the pursuit for social change. For a moment, then, let’s consider the efficacy of that purely charitable attitude in business.

Nonprofit charities are notorious for their low talent retention and high executive turnover rates, and are often considered detours on a person’s professional path, rather than a final destination. Relatedly, those who work and lead nonprofits are often underpaid, overworked, and left with minimal upward mobility. Simply put, these organizations don’t offer attractive or feasible sources of income for employees, thus leading even passionate employees to leave the nonprofit in search of more sustainable employment options. As a result, nonprofits often find themselves achieving well below their potential.

Read the full article about social entrepreneurship by Hanane Benkhallouk at Medium.