For the Love of Laundry: Comparing Organizational Forms to Scale a Social Enterprise
(7 pages of text)
The London, Ontario, social enterprise For the Love of Laundry was founded in 2014 with the intention of selling homemade, eco-friendly soaps and using the profits to fund free laundry events in the community. In 2017, the founder's goal was to increase the scale of the business and its social impact. She needed to decide how to structure the organization to increase its scale while maintaining control of its strategic direction.
The founder compared the pros and cons of the four organizational structures available for social enterprises in Canada—for-profit organization, non-profit organization, registered charity, and co-operative—to decide which option would best suit the organization. She wanted to ensure that the organization’s social aspect remained central while she sought funds to increase its scale. She needed to balance the triple bottom line, but with a primary focus on the social component. She also needed to consider the importance of corporate identity for social enterprises in the scaling process.
This case is suitable for undergraduate and graduate courses in social entrepreneurship, business ethics, strategy, and corporate social responsibility. It is particularly well suited to discussions of balancing a triple bottom line with scaling organizational operations, and of the ambiguity surrounding social enterprise structures. Students face a real-world, multi-faceted decision pertaining to organizational structure, financial growth, and social impact. After working through the case and assignment questions, students should be able to do the following:
- Describe the purpose of the social enterprise model and its effectiveness in the current global context.
- Understand the role organizational identity plays in the scaling process.
- Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the four structural options available for social enterprises in Canada.
- Recommend an optimal organizational structure for a social enterprise that balances the founder's desires and the triple bottom line.
Social Advocacy Organizations
Canada, Small, 2017
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