Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Noam Kostucki, Noam is a social entrepreneur and recently a speaker at TED, Noam has given training, coaching and consulting at Yale University, HP, Tata, UnLtd and the British Heart Foundation. He is the founder of Seeducation (www.seeducation.org) and SeedPro.
In the UK alone, the social enterprise market grew from $24 billion (2007) to $97 billion (2010), and some people are still wondering whether "making money from doing good" is realistic.
I believe that everyone can make a healthy living from doing good. In my TED talk, I explored the question of "when is doing good the best way to make money"?
Now I want to look at what kind of social enterprise model can work for you.
If you are part of the 75% of the people who start by telling saying "but... you don't understand: what I do is different. In my business we can't do [...]", don't worry: just write down all the problems with doing what you would want to do and find a solution for each barrier, one by one, rather than all together.
When starting with social entrepreneurship, people wonder what they can do and how it applies to their industry or specific business. I don't have a set answer, and no good consultant ought to. But we've got 2 other things in our sleeves:
1) a set of questions to ask you... most people I meet don't actually know much about their market and own line of business
2) a set of models you can get inspired by... most people find the answer themselves once they've seen how someone else has made it work
This is why I have identified for you 6 of the most common big models. Take a look at how different organisations understand the idea of "making money from doing good" and take the best from each.
1. Buy 1, get 1 free for someone else: like the Jojo Project or Tom's shoes, for every item you buy, someone else gets the same for free
2. Profit go to do inspiring good: OneWater that sells commercial water in supermarket invests most of its profit to build roundabouts for children to spin in Africa. As they turn the roundabout, they pump water to a water tower for the village and the surrounding ones. They also sell advertising space at the top of water towers to generate more revenue.
3. Intrinsic good: FEED Project is a company that sells bags and clothes that do good. Each items you buy is intrinsically good because they are made of eco-friendly material, and as an added value, each item also helps feed people in the developing world. So as they do more good, they make more money, the more money they make, the more good they do!
4. Invest in your future market: Seeducation is the "charity" that gives free education to individuals on how to make a living from doing good. SeedPro is the "company" that get paid by organisations for training, coaching and consulting on how to make money from doing good. These charitable activities support people in creating social enterprises. The more people Seeducation helps, the more social enterprises there are... and therefore the biggest the market is for SeedPro.
5. Improve the chain: Innocent drinks sells high price top of the range juice. They charge you for quality product, but also for the quality of the service they provide you: the go back all along the chain of production and makes sure every aspect is ethical and sustainable. They pay fair price and help their providers improve their sustainability and profitability.
6. Uncontested experts: For example, Age UK, the charity to help the elderly really runs 4 businesses that generate 104 million pounds from trading in 2010 or the Directory of Social Change that makes year on year about 95% of the money it needs from selling training, books, conferences and online tools.
If you want to learn more about how you charity can start making money from doing good, check the TED talk or tell you what you want to know about through comments, questions and ideas!