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|Articles - May 2014|
|Monday, April 28, 2014|
Page 5 of 5
V. Cautionary tales
A key assumption behind impact investing and social ventures is that business and nonprofits can harness the power of the market for social benefit. From the nonprofit perspective, market-oriented initiatives can also help shore up a shaky business model. “The nonprofit model is a very running-by-the-seat-of-your-pants proposition, because it does rely on charitable goodwill toward your mission,” says Jim White, executive director of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon. For years nonprofits have pursued so-called “earned revenue” strategies — setting up affiliated stores or cafes, for example — to help sustain operations, he says. But those efforts can go awry. The recent implosion of Evergreen International Airlines in McMinnville is a case in point. “Things got a little too blended,” White says. At issue was whether the company’s affiliated nonprofit enterprises, including the Evergreen Air and Space museum, deserved its property-tax exemption — especially since the museum’s water park is the star attraction. The Oregon Department of Justice also investigated possible mingling of funds between the for-profit aviation wing and the nonprofit entities, which is prohibited under Oregon law.
The legal restrictions on nonprofits complicate the evolution of blended models. Fueled by new technologies, such models could also pose a new threat to cash-strapped nonprofits. The rise of crowdfunding, for example, allows people to donate to private businesses as if they were a charitable organization. “What’s unique about these kinds of events is there is no return on investment,” White says. Instead, “people are looking at these businesses as a community asset.” He raises an intriguing question: In the future will nonprofits have to compete with social-enterprise startups for donor dollars?
Elements of the nonprofit sector “can’t and shouldn’t be monetized,” White says. “There are people economics leaves behind in our society; that’s the reality.” Looking ahead, he anticipates “confusion and probably court testing” around hybrid organizations. Despite the unknowns, the fourth sector holds powerful promise. As White observes: “It’s a fascinating topic.”
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."
Friday, February 27, 2015
VIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY DAN COOK | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
A real-estate developer and a Lithia Motors executive aim to revamp the city's forlorn downtown.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
|The 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon|
|Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs |
|How Oregon will survive the loss of Hanjin|
|On the Brink|
|Thy neighbor's house|
|How a Utah-based essential oils company cornered the Oregon market|
|Green Rush: Cashing in on legal marijuana|
|McDonalds pledges to stop selling chicken raised with antibiotics|
|Uber invests in mapping software, setting up contention with Google|
|Bill Gates leads Forbes' richest people list|
|Oil continues to gain on supply risks|
|With AmEx out, Costco turns to Visa, Citi|
|California gas prices spike|
|SeaWorld aims to alter marketing strategy|
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