Given that financial constraints often stifle the impact of nonprofits, some social organizations have started to incorporate commercial aspects to avoid financial dependence. Such social enterprises innovatively combat global problems by fusing market-based strategies and philanthropic structures. Although its potential is uncontested, the social enterprise field is still relatively young and, to date, few hybrid companies have been effectively scaled. Specifically, social businesses face the unique challenge of operating in an interim sector with limited infrastructure development. This thesis investigates the sustainability of social enterprises by isolating specific variables associated with organizational success. This dissertation empirically tests for the correlation between financial health and access to leverage, use of a market-based strategy, board size, inclusion of women on the board, and business background of board members. This research also draws from interviews with prominent social entrepreneurs to elaborate on additional factors related to sustainability, such as strategic allocation of value to stakeholders, transparency of vision, brand development, and the organizational structure of the company. Overall, this thesis finds that board size is inversely correlated with financial success and demonstrates how cause-driven businesses can utilize stakeholder research to develop a competitive advantage.
Mergers and strategic alliances, two forms of strategic restructuring that are normally associated with the private sector, are becoming increasingly popular in the nonprofit sector. The board of directors is among the key stakeholders who generally have a role in the strategic restructuring process. This thesis takes an in-depth look at what the merger and strategic alliance process looks like for three recent cases in the Colorado Springs area, as well as what the board of director’s role was in those processes. Interviews were conducted with eleven board members, executives and staff members at AspenPointe, the Pikes Peak YMCA, former USO of the Pikes Peak Region, Partners in Housing, and the Myron Stratton Home. The findings show that the board has an integral and complex role in the nonprofit merger and strategic alliance process.