Why a Social Enterprise? How Art Restart benefits The Gathering Place August 24, 2015 12:41

Social Enterprise is the current buzzword in nonprofit land, most likely because the previous buzzword, ‘sustainability,’ called for a new way of thinking about funding. Traditionally, nonprofits receive funding via grants, donations, fundraising activities, and for some organizations, through the services they provide to clients. In our current economic climate, many organizations are looking for new ways to increase their income and make themselves more self-sufficient. While a social enterprise can take on many characteristics, Art Restart, the social enterprise that benefits The Gathering Place, is a program that functions like a business in order to generate revenue for the organization.

So what does that mean? For The Gathering Place, a day-time drop-in shelter that provides women, children, and transgender individuals experiencing poverty and/or homelessness with a safe place to spend their days, it means more money and thus, more programming. TGP relies on donations, foundation grants, and fundraising initiatives to supports its building, programming, and staff. However, in order to sustain our programming, which includes serving three meals a day to anywhere from 250 to 350 unique visitors each day, TGP needed to find additional revenue streams beyond the traditional nonprofit financial model. Thus, Art Restart was born!

In October 2014, Art Restart launched for the holiday season, and within three months, sold almost 35,000 cards and actually made money; $32,889 net profit, to be precise! Plus, Art Restart distributed almost $1,800 in royalties to the artists. Every artists at The Gathering Place has the opportunity to submit work to be featured in the Art Restart catalog. If her art is purchased, the member will receive royalties of the net sale. Industry standards for greeting card royalties are 1-5% and our artists are at the top of those figures with 5% royalties. Our artists love Art Restart, because a single piece of art has the potential to sell numerous times. Additionally, our artists feel happy to contribute to this program that actually makes money for The Gathering Place. “I consider this my way of giving back to The Gathering Place,” artist OUI states, “which has given me so much.”

How can Art Restart work for you? While our Card Project program is great for purchasing single cards, Art Restart provides those same unique, handmade cards in large quantities, which is perfect for businesses, schools, organizations, or individuals looking to send out cards in bulk. Cards can be purchased in quantities of 50, 100, 250, and up with significant price breaks starting at 1,000 units.

The front if the card features a specific work of art, chosen by the customer, and printed on high quality card stock. The back of the card includes information about Art Restart and The Gathering Place, letting your network know that this card demonstrates your dedication to support women and children in need. The back of the card also has space to put your company’s logo; a unique co-branding opportunity that connects your business to The Gathering Place!

Art Restart is a unique departure for The Gathering Place, but it has been successful, not only for the organization, but for the individual artists. We hope that you will help support our social enterprise and the numerous women, children, and transgender individuals in need who benefit from Art Restart's success!