For profits vs Not-for profits (Greed vs Scale)

Following is an extract from a recent research publication from Stanford University;

“It is interesting to note that there were several funding models …. One possible model was nonprofits supported by earned-income ventures distinct and separate from their core mission-related activities. Another possible model was nonprofits that operated on a strictly fee-for-service model…, without important supplementary fundraising …. Although there are some nonprofits supporting themselves with such funding approaches, they were not present among the large nonprofits that we studied. It is our belief that these types of approaches do not lend themselves to large-scale, sustained nonprofit advantage over for-profit entities. (Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2009 Spring).

Above statement tend to shock my deep belief, that fuels the Social enterprise ambition behind Fusion. Why?

We follow Non-profit models, but closely adopting for-profit strategies such as ‘Fee for service’ approach in a niche market (ICT skill demands of rural Sri Lanka) to generate scalable revenues (profits) to support core operation.

How is it Not-for Profit?

1. at our pricing we tend to be in favor of customer, (and closely follow Low cost value chains to cut down cost)

2. no share holders to extract the profit (out of the enterprise) thus, it is ploughed back to expansion and improvements.

Why dont we go into For-profit model?

Simply to avoid cultivating (& promoting) bad human attitudes that tend to be granted in normal profit oriented enterprise practice such as;

  • unethical practices (killing, intoxication)
  • promotion of greed (aversion and aggression)
  • support competition (that kills the spirit of sharing, peace and happiness).

How perfect are we in our exercise?

This is the question I ask from myself every morning and evening, (and also promote my key staff to follow). It is a question of honesty and integrity to nobody but one’s own belief system (myself).

How do I do this?

Meditation – meditation – meditation.

Vipassana meditation (for about 1 – 1.5 hrs) helps me to go deeper and establish my own clarity. And every day I realize, I am better human today than yesterday. And every evening I convince myself that;

  • I did not support killing of any life forms (non-violence)
  • I did not steal or help stealing (no  malpractices)
  • I did not lie (no untrue statements)
  • I promote cultivation of aversion (avoid anger, hatred)
  • I promote ahimsa (help my well-being, help others well-being)

Can this ensure that Fusion expand to the desired scale?

I am not sure. But I do believe, there is a destiny for everything. The moment we learn to follow such destiny we can be less aggressive, more peaceful and can still contribute to some scale. (It is a personal challange to adjust our ‘desired scale’ to the ‘feasible scale’).


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