I strongly believe that non-profit organizations should strive to cultivate additional income streams, including earning revenue from social enterprise activities. This helps to fund operations, build reserves and manage risk.
Some non-profit organizations choose to earn revenue from a “side business” – an undertaking which is distinct from their core offering.
While I support this sentiment, I believe that organizations tend to make two mistakes in how they implement these ideas. The first mistake is to underestimate the complexity, time and costs to achieve this. The second mistake is for organizations to embark on such a venture before they have strengthened their operations and improved their thinking. The third mistake is to neglect opportunities to earn an income which are more readily available.
This article discusses this second and third mistake. It suggests that the establishment of a side business should be the result of a journey and not the first step. It encourages organizations to improve their functioning and attend to weak areas, before they start looking outside of themselves for solutions. It also reminds organizations to thoroughly investigate opportunities to earn an income that may be closer in reach.