Approaches to Strategic Planning

Trading and social enterprise

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7. Trading and social enterprise

Third sector organisations are focusing more on trading and social enterprise activities as ways of generating unrestricted income. Whereas some organisations have existing trading activities such as charity shops, room hire and charging for training; others have developed new trading activities that aim to increase income for charitable activities.

Issues for third sector organisations to consider:

  • Do they have an appropriate legal structure for trading / social enterprise?

  • Will the trading activities take management time / resources away from the work of the charity?

  • Some organisations, described as social enterprises, rely almost entirely on trading and contracts as a way of delivering much needed services for local communities.

  • This has been reflected through the level of investment and support available for social enterprises, and the introduction of the a new legal structure – Community Interest Company (CIC)

Information on charities and trading is available on the NCVO website:

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