Should A Social Enterprise Go For-Profit?

Readers comment on the nuances of different legal structures: non-profit, for-profit, and hybrid.  Read the full story at

We just published a case study about a young entrepreneur, Saul Garlick, who is debating which business model to adopt for his social enterprise, ThinkImpact.

In high school, Mr. Garlick started a nonprofit organization called Student Movement for Real Change. By the age of 23, he had graduated from college, and the nonprofit had evolved with a new name, a new mission and a small team of employees. The organization, ThinkImpact, was coordinating trips for young adults to go to South Africa where they gained firsthand experience developing community projects and social businesses. But as the nonprofit grew, Mr. Garlick felt overwhelmed by financial burdens. Rather than focusing on the operations, he spent the bulk of his workweek connecting with potential donors and trying to raise money.

As a result, he is debating whether he should keep ThinkImpact a nonprofit that is dependent on donors or transform it into a commercial organization — or possibly some sort of hybrid that combines both.


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