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It is the case that consumers are expecting more from the brands they make purchases from. In its Good Purpose report, Edelman, (a global PR firm that regularly researches consumer attitudes) measured 16 markets with 8,000 consumers, and found 86% believe that firms should place at least equal emphasis on their social interests (i.e. ‘do good’) as they do on their business interests.

But there have always been organizations providing ‘social good’ – they are the not for profit organizations, (NPOs). Surely the mandate to ‘do good’ is the purview of the not for profit sector? If the ‘for profit’ (FP) organizations are now doing that, how does that impact the traditional NPOs? And if it is the case that NPOs are evolving and striving to become financially sustainable (and less reliant on govt handouts) where will they overlap with the FP ‘social good’ activities? Will both kinds of organizations find they have a new competitor?

I will start by characterizing firms who are providing social good, typically called social enterprises, along a spectrum. After that I will examine an issue that I think will become more apparent over time: can NPOs learn client acquisition skills from the FP world?