Tips for social action projects, part 5: Social enterprise

A social enterprise is a business with a heart. Use your profits from your socially-motivated product or service to expand your reach and help more of your community.

Social enterprise

In the fifth and final part of this series we have some tips for making that work.


The key difference between fundraising activities and social enterprise is that a social enterprise has a longer-term ambition. By re-investing some of your profits you can build your audience and enhance your offer.

Identify the need

Make sure you set yourself clear goals from the start. What do you want to change? Who do you want to support? Why is the issue happening? What can be done about it? Who will pay for it? Why will they buy into your idea? Remember: a social enterprise is about more than just profit—it needs to have a real benefit to others.

Research the market

Does someone else have a similar business model? Are they a competitor or do you want to set up a social enterprise project that compliments their goals? What do they charge for a similar service? What are your target audience willing to pay?

Develop your unique selling point

A unique selling point (USP) helps you stand out from the crowd. Imagine two businesses that supply identical products, but you know that one of them is carbon-neutral and uses environmentally-friendly manufacturing methods. Which would you buy from?

Share your enthusiasm

People are more likely to support your enterprise if they understand exactly what benefits it brings. So make sure you always share how their support delivers impact back to the local or global community. Local media can help.

Keep in touch

Don’t forget to thank all your customers for their support. Ideally keep them informed of your impact as they’ll want to hear how they contributed to your project aims. Remember, Giving Nation is only the beginning — you might need these people again one day!

Commit to success!

This is a real opportunity to make a difference and develop skills ready for employment. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’! Setting up a successful social enterprise project takes commitment, so start by focusing on that issue you are determined to change!

Part one: Effective social action in schools
Part two: Awareness campaigns
Part three: Fundraising campaigns 
Part four: Volunteering

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

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