Trend Report: Sector-Switching

By Jennifer Amanda Jones
NonProfit Quarterly (NPQ)

Until recently, the boundary between for-profit and nonprofit, at least in theory and public perception, was clear. There was a distinction, codified by legal status and crystalized in a collective understanding of disparate motivations and bottom lines. The for-profit world made a profit, and the nonprofit world made a difference.

Today, that boundary has become increasingly blurred, at least in terms of discourse. The term social enterprise isbandied about with very little exactitude. It is linked to the development of so-called hybrid forms like B corporations and L3Cs, neither of which have been proven to be monuments to effectiveness so far. Perhaps that is not where the real action is; perhaps it’s in hybridity—that is, borrowing from and linking to the work of the other sector while retaining a clear sense of integrity. (Nonprofit Quarterly will have much more about this last topic in the next edition of the print journal.)

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