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A Sea Change in the Social Sector - Examining Earned-Income Ventures and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits in Rhode Island - Seth Marbin - PPSO Senior Honors Thesis - Brown University - May 2005

A Sea Change in the Social Sector - Examining Earned-Income Ventures and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits in Rhode Island - Seth Marbin - PPSO Senior Honors Thesis - Brown University - May 2005

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Published by Seth Marbin
Nonprofits across the nation are increasingly launching earned-income ventures to support their social missions. Even though this is not a new strategy for many nonprofits, for the sector as a whole it is a fundamental shift from traditional sources of revenue.

This study identifies and evaluates significant factors associated with nonprofits operating earned-income ventures in Rhode Island and compares these results to data collected for a recently published national study. New data collected from a web-based survey of over 325 Rhode Island nonprofits is analyzed along with data from over 375 nonprofits in a national sample. This study also examines the types of earned-income ventures organizations are operating, the perceived impact, how nonprofits define themselves as “entrepreneurial,” and the reasons why some organizations have never operated ventures. Insights from Rhode Island nonprofit leaders, academics, and funders are also included in this mixed-methods approach, to help understand the motivations of nonprofits launching and operating earned-income ventures. The findings suggest that Rhode Island organizations are operating earned-income ventures at a rate of three times the comparable national sample. Additionally the majority of ventures are related to the organizations’ social missions, and the impacts are overwhelmingly positive.

Key Words: Rhode Island, entrepreneurial, nonprofit, organizations, earned-income, ventures, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship.

A SEA CHANGE IN THE SOCIAL SECTOR

Examining Earned-Income Ventures and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits in Rhode Island



By Seth J. Marbin, Brown University, May 2005. Thesis submitted as partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of B.A. in Public and Private Sector Organizations.
Advisor: Professor Ann Dill, Ph.D. | Reader: Dean Michael Plater, Ph.D.
Nonprofits across the nation are increasingly launching earned-income ventures to support their social missions. Even though this is not a new strategy for many nonprofits, for the sector as a whole it is a fundamental shift from traditional sources of revenue.

This study identifies and evaluates significant factors associated with nonprofits operating earned-income ventures in Rhode Island and compares these results to data collected for a recently published national study. New data collected from a web-based survey of over 325 Rhode Island nonprofits is analyzed along with data from over 375 nonprofits in a national sample. This study also examines the types of earned-income ventures organizations are operating, the perceived impact, how nonprofits define themselves as “entrepreneurial,” and the reasons why some organizations have never operated ventures. Insights from Rhode Island nonprofit leaders, academics, and funders are also included in this mixed-methods approach, to help understand the motivations of nonprofits launching and operating earned-income ventures. The findings suggest that Rhode Island organizations are operating earned-income ventures at a rate of three times the comparable national sample. Additionally the majority of ventures are related to the organizations’ social missions, and the impacts are overwhelmingly positive.

Key Words: Rhode Island, entrepreneurial, nonprofit, organizations, earned-income, ventures, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship.

A SEA CHANGE IN THE SOCIAL SECTOR

Examining Earned-Income Ventures and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits in Rhode Island



By Seth J. Marbin, Brown University, May 2005. Thesis submitted as partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of B.A. in Public and Private Sector Organizations.
Advisor: Professor Ann Dill, Ph.D. | Reader: Dean Michael Plater, Ph.D.

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Published by: Seth Marbin on Nov 17, 2013
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 A Sea Change in the Social Sector: Examining Earned-Income Ventures and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits in Rhode Island
 
Seth J. Marbin | PPSO Senior Honors Thesis | Brown University | May 2005 | Page 1 of 104
 
 A SEA CHANGE IN THE SOCIAL SECTOR
Examining Earned-Income Ventures and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits in Rhode Island By Seth J. Marbin Brown University, May 2005
 
Thesis submitted as partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of B.A. in Public and Private Sector Organizations Advisor: Professor Ann Dill, Ph.D. | Reader: Dean Michael Plater, Ph.D.
 Abstract
 Nonprofits across the nation are increasingly launching earned-income ventures to support their social missions. Even though this is not a new strategy for many nonprofits, for the sector as a whole it is a fundamental shift from traditional sources of revenue. This study identifies and evaluates significant factors associated with nonprofits operating earned-income ventures in Rhode Island and compares these results to data collected for a recently published national study. New data collected from a web-based survey of over 325 Rhode Island nonprofits is analyzed along with data from over 375 nonprofits in a national sample. This study also examines the types of earned-income ventures organizations are operating, the perceived impact, how nonprofits define themselves as “entrepreneurial,” and the reasons why some organizations have never operated ventures. Insights from Rhode Island nonprofit leaders, academics, and funders are also included in this mixed-methods approach, to help understand the motivations of nonprofits launching and operating earned-income ventures. The findings suggest that Rhode Island organizations are operating earned-income ventures at a rate of three times the comparable national sample. Additionally the majority of ventures are related to the organizations’ social missions, and the impacts are overwhelmingly positive.
Key Words
Rhode Island, entrepreneurial, nonprofit, organizations, earned-income, ventures, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship.
 
 A Sea Change in the Social Sector: Examining Earned-Income Ventures and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits in Rhode Island
 
Seth J. Marbin | PPSO Senior Honors Thesis | Brown University | May 2005 | Page 2 of 104
 
Table of Contents
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .............................................................................................4
 
INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................................5
 O
VERVIEW
.......................................................................................................................5 S
TATEMENT OF
P
URPOSE
.................................................................................................6
ESEARCH
Q
UESTIONS
....................................................................................................6 D
EFINITIONS
....................................................................................................................7 W
HY
HODE
I
SLAND
?...................................................................................................10
LITERATURE REVIEW ..............................................................................................14
 B
ACKGROUND
................................................................................................................14 D
ESCRIPTION OF THE
T
REND
:
 
F
ROM THE
1980
S TO
T
ODAY
...........................................15 B
ENEFITS
.......................................................................................................................16 C
AUTIONS
......................................................................................................................16 O
PPOSITIONS
..................................................................................................................17
ELATION TO
M
ISSION
...................................................................................................18 S
PECTRUM
.....................................................................................................................20 P
REVIOUS
ESEARCH
F
INDINGS
.....................................................................................20 W
HY THE
S
EA
C
HANGE IS
O
CCURRING
..........................................................................23
METHODS......................................................................................................................27
 T
HE
W
EB
-B
ASED
S
URVEY
.............................................................................................27 O
VERVIEW OF
W
EB
-S
URVEY
Q
UESTIONS
......................................................................28
ECRUITMENT OF
P
ARTICIPANTS
...................................................................................29 S
URVEY
I
 NCENTIVES
......................................................................................................30 C
OMPARISON
A
 NALYSIS
................................................................................................30 I
 NTERVIEWS
...................................................................................................................30 D
ATA
A
 NALYSIS
P
ROCESS
.............................................................................................31
RHODE ISLAND FINDINGS.......................................................................................33
 D
EMOGRAPHICS OF THE
RI
 
 N
ONPROFIT
S
AMPLE
...........................................................33 C
HARACTERISTICS OF THE
RI
 
E
ARNED
-I
 NCOME
V
ENTURES
..........................................34 D
ESCRIPTION OF THE
RI
 
E
ARNED
-I
 NCOME
V
ENTURES
...................................................36 P
ROFILES OF
T
HREE
RI
 
E
ARNED
-I
 NCOME
V
ENTURES
....................................................37
Cookie Place Cafe, Providence - An EIV from the Start..........................................37 
 
 Edward King House, Newport - Recently Launched an EIV....................................38 
 
Crossroads Rhode Island, Providence – About to Launch an EIV...........................39
 
ELATION OF
V
ENTURE
S
G
OALS TO
O
RGANIZATION
S
M
ISSION
..................................40
EASONS FOR
L
AUNCHING
(
AND
 N
OT
L
AUNCHING
)
 AN
EIV.........................................41 P
ERCEIVED
I
MPACT OF
O
PERATING AN
EIV...................................................................44 H
OW
 N
ONPROFITS
D
EFINE
“E
 NTREPRENEURIAL
..........................................................45 U
SEFUL
S
UPPORT AND
A
SSISTANCE
...............................................................................49
ECENT
HODE
I
SLAND
D
EVELOPMENTS
......................................................................50
 Amos House, Providence in National Business Plan Competition...........................50
 
 
 A Sea Change in the Social Sector: Examining Earned-Income Ventures and Entrepreneurial Nonprofits in Rhode Island
 
Seth J. Marbin | PPSO Senior Honors Thesis | Brown University | May 2005 | Page 3 of 104
 
 MBA Students Partnering with Nonprofits to plan EIVs..........................................51
 
 Rhode Island Nonprofits Engaged in Learning Community.....................................51
 
RHODE ISLAND COMPARED TO THE NATIONAL SAMPLE...........................52
 
HODE
I
SLAND
D
ESCRIPTIVE
S
TATISTICS
......................................................................53  N
ATIONAL
D
ESCRIPTIVE
S
TATISTICS
.............................................................................53 B
IVARIATE
C
ROSS
-T
ABULATIONS AND
C
HI
-S
QUARE
T
ESTS
..........................................54
“Entrepreneurial” Organizations............................................................................54
 
Program Area...........................................................................................................54
 
 Age of Organizations................................................................................................55
 
 Budget.......................................................................................................................55
 L
OGISTIC
EGRESSION
...................................................................................................56
“Entrepreneurial” Organizations............................................................................57 
 
Program Area...........................................................................................................57 
 
 Age of Organizations................................................................................................58 
 
 Budget.......................................................................................................................58 
 
LIMITATIONS...............................................................................................................59
 E
THICAL
C
ONSIDERATIONS
............................................................................................63
CONCLUSIONS.............................................................................................................64
 S
UGGESTIONS FOR
F
UTURE
ESEARCH
..........................................................................66
ATTACHMENTS...........................................................................................................67
 1. I
 NTERVIEW
P
ARTICIPANTS
.....................................................................................67 2. I
 NTERVIEW
G
UIDE FOR
 N
ONPROFITS
......................................................................68 3. I
 NTERVIEW
G
UIDE FOR
S
UPPORTING
O
RGANIZATION
............................................68 4. I
 NFORMED
C
ONSENT
F
ORM
....................................................................................69 5. P
OSTCARD
..............................................................................................................70 6. E-
MAIL
...................................................................................................................71 7. M
EDIA
ELEASE
1.................................................................................................72 8. M
EDIA
ELEASE
2.................................................................................................73 9. P
ROVIDENCE
J
OURNAL
A
RTICLE
............................................................................74 10. S
OCIAL
V
ENTURE
P
ARTNERS OF
HODE
I
SLAND
W
EBSITE
....................................75 11. T
RANSCRIPT OF
WRNI
 
ADIO
A
 NNOUNCEMENT
...................................................76 12. E-N
EWSLETTER
-
 
RI
 
F
OUNDATION
........................................................................76 13. E-N
EWSLETTER
-
 
 NOWLEDGE
E
XCHANGE
C
ENTER 
.............................................77 14. E-N
EWSLETTER
-
 
P
ROVIDENCE
D
EPT OF
A
RT
,
 
C
ULTURE
&
 
T
OURISM
....................77 15. S
URVEY
.................................................................................................................78
APPENDIX......................................................................................................................89
 
WORKS CITED..............................................................................................................99
 

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