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The nonprofit sector and private sector have historically operated in vastly different ways, but is this always in the best interest of those involved? Jean Oelwang, CEO of Virgin Unite, would argue that nonprofit organizations have a lot to learn from the business practices of the private sector if they wish to maximize their impact. Oelwang sees nonprofit largely as a “market of good intentions” that in many cases fails to scale or incentivize cooperation in an effective way. By collaborating with members of the Virgin group such as Virgin Mobile, Virgin Trains, and Virgin Airlines, Virgin Unite strives to demonstrate that socially responsible innovations can bridge all sectors. Oelwang discusses Virgin Unite’s emphasis on core operational sustainability as means for long-term change, and their reasons for choosing a wider scope of impact. Jean Oelwang was speaking as part of the “Social Innovation Through Corporate Responsibility” class at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Attracting transformational philanthropy and leveraging volunteers to scale are just two lessons nonprofits can learn from looking to organizations beyond those they traditionally identify with.