How Weddings & Social Enterprise Can Work Together

Nonprofit organizations don’t have to be so one-dimensional anymore when it comes to funding new business ideas.

Social Enterprise & Creative Funding

Over-reliance on donor funding is no longer sustainable enough, and that’s where social entrepreneurial innovation comes in.

Social enterprises that use business acumen to pursue social missions can be alot more creative when it comes to funding. Interestingly, nonprofit organizations are often able to increase their income by owning and operating facilities linked to their cause.

How Can Weddings & Special Events Support Social Enterprise?

Take for example, ACH Child and Family Services (formerly All Church Home for Children) which creatively renovated the interior of a stone chapel building and reception hall, in order to use the facility for nondenominational weddings, receptions and special events. ACH launched this first social business venture in December 2009, and called it the Belltower Chapel & Garden.

What’s great is that ACH Child and Family Services is founded on a mission of love and family, while the commercial venture they created via the wedding chapel and reception hall is still very relevant to their social mission as it, too, celebrates love and the family unit.

“The new business has exceeded ACH’s expectations and projections, said Barbara Clark-Galupi, vice president of marketing and social business ventures. In the first four months, 108 weddings have been booked, even a few for 2011. More than 20 weddings have been in the chapel, with 12 booked for June. The agency has grossed revenue of $220,000, more than double the $100,000 expected. All profits help cover the operation and maintenance of the property.”

You can read up more on create social enterprises at the article by Betty Dillard entitled ‘Nonprofits say ‘I do’ to growing wedding income.’

Nonprofits & Social Enterprise Income

In her article, Betty praises the importance of social enterprises because it allows traditional nonprofit organizations to tap into a larger and less restricted source of income (as opposed to donor funding).

“More nonprofits are looking to diversify their funding base and develop new ideas to generate greater unrestricted income. “Social enterprise,” as the moneymaking practice is called, is a trend that continues to sweep the nonprofit world as competition for corporate and government funding increases.”

The ACH business model of wedding and special event services was very helpful for them. Using the profits, they’re better able to support children and families struggling with abuse and other life challenges. This is just one of many new business ideas that have been emerging.

What are your thoughts on their innovative social enterprise model?