I’ve been exploring starting a socially-conscious venture and weighing the benefits and limitations of for-profit and nonprofit firms. So I read with interest about VisionSpring’s prospectus in your story: “Starting Up: Funding Your Social Venture.” Are you aware of their results or any other examples of nonprofits employing their fundraising methods? —Susan Bernstein, Minneapolis
VisionSpring’s unique fundraising efforts are similar to for-profit business prospectuses. They’ve been a huge success so far, says Miriam Stone, director of business development at VisionSpring in New York. The nonprofit, which aims to reduce poverty through the sale of affordable reading glasses in poor communities, has already raised $2.8 million of the $5 million it set out to generate by launching its fundraising prospectus last June. While recent economic events have slowed the flow of cash to nonprofits, VisionSpring is still on target to raise the full amount by the end of 2009, she says.
To find out about other nonprofits going this route, check out the Nonprofit Finance Fund, which is the organization that VisionSpring used to help structure its prospectus. Another nonprofit resource is the Acumen Fund. Also, the Social Venture Network is a good place to start learning about for-profit social entrepreneurship. (Click here for our story on for-profit social entrepreneurship and here for our story weighing both.)
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