Measuring the Worth of Social Good: Valuation in an Emergent Non-profit Social Enterprise

Paul-Brian McInerney (2021)

Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, Online first

Abstract. Non-profit social enterprises address social problems with business models. This paper examines the founding years of an early non-profit social enterprise in the United States to highlight the role venture capital and venture philanthropy played in shaping performance measures. While venture philanthropies funded the creation of blended value models of performance measures, other practices from venture capital, such as taking board seats and engaging in managerial oversight, were quietly playing a profound role in the financialization of performance measurement in non-profit social enterprise. The early influence of venture capital valorised quantitative performance measures, the objectivity, calculability, and commensurability of which made them attractive to key stakeholders. More recent work in performance measurement have sought to incorporate a wider range of stakeholders. However, this paper explains the legacy of venture capital in financializing performance measures with which social enterprises continue to grapple.

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