Sector Bending: Blurring the Lines between Nonprofit and For-Profit

By J. Gregory Dees and Beth Battle Anderson

Traditional sector boundaries are increasingly breaking down. On small and large scales, for-profits and nonprofits are moving into new territories and exploring uncharted waters. While this kind of sector-bending is not entirely new–remember Goodwill Industries or Girl Scouts Cookies–it is certainly growing in popularity. Increasingly we are turning to business methods and structures in our efforts to find more cost-effective and sustainable ways to address social problems and deliver socially important goods. Given the abundance of social issues and problems that need to be addressed, it is reasonable to assume that different organizational structures will continue to both be necessary and evolve as time progresses.

Chapter in In Search of the Nonprofit Sector, Peter Frumkin and Jonathan B. Imber (eds), Transaction Publishers, 2004