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4 Tips for Social Enterprises & Charities in 2019

At Social Investment Scotland (SIS), we believe that socially-driven organisations have the resilience and purposeful approach to enterprise required for growth and sustainability throughout 2019. As we begin another year of challenges and opportunities, we’d like to share with you our top tips for driving growth and impact in for a Social Enterprise in 2019.

#1 Profit for sustainable impact
While the sector continually adjusts to the evolving financial climate, it is crucial for social enterprises and charities to be clever with their cashflow. Sustainability can be achieved through enterprising for profit, with this profit then being reinvested into the organisation and its impact. Future-proof the impact you’re making by focusing on your finances becoming self-reliant this year.
(Note: profit is not achieved immediately. It takes time, thought and a commitment to sustainability.)

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#2 Social value as added value
While our purpose as a social enterprise is our key driver, it may not be our target audience’s key purchasing requirement. Ensure your product or service can compete in the wider marketplace (including against non-social businesses) to earn the custom of people who may not be fully swayed by the social-aspect. This will open you up to new audiences, allowing you to maximise income to create your desired impact. Consider that, for customers, your social value should be the sprinkles on top and not your unique selling point (USP).

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#3 Tell your story
There is a lot to be said for social impact measurement and how it can influence your actions moving forwards. However, while the facts and figures are good for reporting, it’s important to remember that your impact is a very human thing. Look to also tell the narrative of the difference you’re making in a real and relatable way (think less statistics and more stories). This will keep your purpose front-of-mind with your wider stakeholders, but also your team internally – you don’t want to lose sight of why you’re here.

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#4 Balance not burnout
From our experience, social entrepreneurs can be very passionate and hardworking people. This means they’re willing to shed blood, sweat and tears in order to make the difference they desire. This attribute is admirable and required from time-to-time, however, it can also lead to burnout.
Surround yourself with an equally committed team who can support you. Share the demands of social enterprise, allowing everyone to work towards a more balanced lifestyle. While difficult to do, striving for balance means you can sustain your efforts and ultimately make longer-term impact.

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We are currently running numerous free workshops and masterclasses to support social enterprises and charities to grow their impact and become more sustainable. Explore these on our Support page or get in touch to find out more about how we might be able to support you in 2019.