EMES is used to working digitally: being an international network of over 300 researchers working on SE we know what it is to hold working sessions online. Imagining that a full Ocean can be apart physically and yet such interesting work gets done may no longer seem incredible but it still excites us when our members share what comes out of their joint collaboration.
An example of this was a recent meeting of four of our members – Marthe Nyssens in Belgium, Simone Poledrini in Italy, and Elizabeth Searing and Dennis Young in the US (in Albany and Cleveland, respectively). These four long-standing EMES colleagues had an animated online meeting to discuss their involvement in two interconnected research projects. Both are about how social enterprises finance their activities and how their financial resources vary from one SE to another.
In particular, the first project explores the link between specific sources of income (earned revenue, gifts and grants, government funding) and organizational characteristics and services, applying the Benefits Theory of nonprofit finance. This project will serve as one of the first worldwide tests of Benefits Theory on social economy organizations.
The second focuses on measuring the mix of these revenue sources using cluster analysis, i.e., by identifying distinctly different clusters of SEs according to their particular combinations of financial resources. It is anticipated that these clusters will provide another way of modeling how the financing of social enterprises is related to their organizational characteristics and the nature of the services they offer, and the authors hope to present a new typology of social enterprise finance.
Both research projects are using data from the International Comparative Social Enterprise Mapping (ICSEM) project, which was a project of EMES from 2013-2017. Hopefully both studies will be available in print by the end of the year!