Many NGOs are looking for ways to enhance their sustainability, diversify their income sources and become less dependent on external funding. Many opt for a transition from international development-dependent organisation to operating as a social enterprise.

Being a social enterprise means offering valuable products and services, in line with the organisation’s mission, that are (partially) paid for and at the same time contribute to meaningful social impact. Social entrepreneurship combines a market orientation with a social purpose, generating both financial and social revenues. 

To prepare for this transformation, NGOs need to:

  • understand what a social enterprise is: the characteristics, elements and the differences with an NGO
  • understand the what and how of a social enterprise: business models, value proposition, financing streams and outputs.
  • know a step-by-step approach to transforming (parts of) your NGO into a social enterprise. We believe the Business Canvas Model is highly suitable.
  • know how to complement an enterprise approach with a domestic support raising (DSR) approach; complementing financial sustainability with a ‘social license to operate’

To help NGOs to become familiar and confident with this transformation process, MDF completed a training course on “NGO to Social Enterprise” in the 1st week of July in Bangkok, Thailand, which 22 participants of various NGOs from different countries attended.  Their organisations are either planning to (partially) transform into a social enterprise or are already in the transformation process. The participants actively learned, shared their experiences on and also contributed ideas for an even more successful NGO to Social Enterprise training in the future.


Need help on this? Please contact us at or join the next NGO to Social Enterprise training. We will keep you informed of MDF Asia’s 2020 training calendar soon.