Like super heroes in the business world, social entrepreneurs find business solutions to social problems. This may include bringing electricity to rural areas or finding a new way to educate girls in areas where women are traditionally underserved. The sky is the limit when it comes to social entrepreneurship, which means you never know what type of new venture you’ll see cropping up next.
Of course, when you are trying to tackle an important societal issue, you need funds. And because your ideal customer for your social entrepreneurship initiative may not be affluent, then you often have to turn to other funding sources to get your venture off the ground.
If you have an interest in social entrepreneurship, we’ve put together a list of resources for finding funding:
Crowdfunding has become a popular buzzword lately, with funding campaigns for projects like bringing back the popular kid’s show Reading Rainbow making national headlines. But crowdfunding is also a way social entrepreneurs can raise money from friends, family, colleagues and virtual strangers. The upside to crowdfunding is that the amount of potential lenders is virtually limitless. The downside is that unless your business is very novel or can grab headlines, you have a small chance of raising significant amounts of money. And many crowdfunding platforms will return donations to if your campaign doesn’t raise the full amount you initially asked for.
One key to crowdfunding is to generate buzz by making your pitch interesting, unique or heartwarming. Try posting a video showing some of the people your social venture will help.
If you’re interested in crowdfunding as a way to raise money for your business, check out the granddaddy of all crowdfunding platforms – Kickstarter, or look into more targeted platforms like StartSomeGood or Fundly.
Because social entrepreneurships are out for social good, they may qualify for grants and other funding that you often hear about going toward non-profits. Start at the Foundation Center’s website to learn about specific grants your business may qualify for. Do keep in mind that grant writing can be an involved and in-depth process.
The Skoll Foundation is so dedicated to identifying and cultivating social entrepreneurs that they even host the annual “Skoll Awards” for social entrepreneurship. Check out their website to find out if you qualify for funding from the Skoll Foundation.
Just as social ventures may qualify for non-profit funding because of their social aspect, they may qualify for more traditional forms of business funding because of their more traditional business components. Even if you are a social entrepreneur, don’t discount bank loans, merchant cash advance loans and other forms of small business fundraising that more traditional for-profit businesses rely on.
Are you a social entrepreneur? Tell us about your venture – and your method of fundraising! – in the comments!