Can My Business (Social Enterprise) Be a Nonprofit?



Erin Bradrick is presenting a free webinar for GrantSpace (Foundation Center) on Wednesday, February 26, at 11 am – noon PT / 2 – 3 pm ET: Can My Business Be a Nonprofit?

As the activities of nonprofit and for-profit organizations continue to blur with the commercialization of charities and the growth of socially purposed taxable entities, we’ll see stronger push back from regulators and critics about improper uses of tax-exempt status. Before you choose a form of entity to operate your social enterprise, it will be critically important to understand the rules of the game and the pros and cons of the nonprofit/tax-exempt and for-profit options. This webinar will help frame the issues using practical examples.

From GrantSpace:

We have been getting a lot of questions along these lines:

  • I want to start a business selling widgets and donate 50-100% of proceeds to charity and/or for every widget sold, donate a widget to a developing country. Can/Should I form a nonprofit org?
  • I have a business that does XYZ services. I want to spend half of my time providing XYZ services to (name disadvantaged group here, e.g., seniors, low income, etc.). Can/Should I form a nonprofit org?
  • I want to start a business that employs disabled veterans. Can/Should I form a nonprofit org?
  • I’m making a film, art, educational software, invention, etc. with some commercial potential. Can it qualify for fiscal sponsorship?

Each of these scenarios seemingly could fit within either a for-profit or a nonprofit model. So, what ARE the essential questions (and answers) you should ask yourself to decide if you should form a for-profit (albeit with social purposes), nonprofit, a nonprofit that is highly entrepreneurial, or some other type of organization?

This webinar will provide answers and guidance on how to decide which route is best for your own goals and needs. We will devote the latter half to Q&A.