What happens when mission conflicts with firm performance? One solution – hybrid organization with both for-profit and non profit entities

Azavea has been doing a lot of work in the Philadelphia community using data and mapping tools to help Philadelphia citizens learn, think more clearly and support their opinions about issues we are facing. But Azavea is a for-profit and these activities can be a drain on limited resources. What to do?

One solution – set up a separate non-profit that can seek grant funding to support such activities. But its not a solution without drawbacks. Tony Abraham of Generocity provides great incite into the problem in his article here.

In the article, Azavea’s founder Robert Cheetham notes the costs that are involved that make this a decision that must be carefully considered:

  1. Oversaturation — “Do I want to be the one responsible for creating one more nonprofit?” asked Cheetham. “Is this really necessary?”
  2. Management — There’s always the chance a separate nonprofit will be more trouble to manage than it is worth in terms of the benefits it will bring. Taxes, accounting, overhead costs — that all takes time and capacity.
  3. Fundraising — Fundraising also takes time and capacity. “Will we be able to raise enough funds to make it worthwhile?” he asked.

Azavea is not the first to face this choice. Embrace, a start up that developed a safer alternative to expensive incubators for babies born prematurely who need to be kept warm, struggled with this issue as well.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.