6 ideas for social venture franchising

The word “franchise” is likely to conjure up an image of one fast food restaurant after another popping up along a highway, but for-profit food service is not the only activity benefiting from franchising.

In his book “The Mission-Driven Venture” Marc J. Lane reveals that social venture franchising is an increasingly attractive business model for philanthropic ventures. It is a license to market a product or service in a standardized way, but for the mission-driven franchisee it avoids some of the risks of a new business without sacrificing the personal satisfaction of initiating one’s own venture.

Lane wrote that social venture franchising has certain appeals:

  • Existing goodwill. The franchisee will be dealing in a proven and well-known socially beneficial product or service.
  • Relatively small capital investment. The franchisor will have already undertaken substantial research, marketing and advertising, and the franchisee won’t be responsible for most of the costs.
  • Good help from the beginning. The franchisor might help select the site and help with other negotiations and can supply equipment and a time-tested design for layout.
  • Continuing managerial expertise. This might even include management assistance, employee training, inventory control aids, accounting help and more.
  • Mass buying power. A large franchisor can command volume discounts and pass them along to the franchisee.
  • Wide-area promotion. The impact of the franchisor’s advertising might do more for a small social entrepreneur than the franchisee ever could do alone.