TechSoup Sees Upside for Nonprofits in Downturn
Ben-Horin, the self-proclaimed child of the '60s who launched his company with $2,500, chuckles that he is now asked for advice on how to build a profitable social enterprise.
"People ask me, 'What's the business model? What's the secret sauce?' " he said. "My answer was to find a company that makes a product that everyone in the world needs and that allows you to donate it and charge a small amount."
He also believes in the importance of looking for opportunity in times of turmoil. When the dot-com boom went bust in 2000, Ben-Horin watched as responses to job notices went from five per posting to more than 300.
"A whole group of talented people got liberated," Ben-Horin said. "A certain number of those people welcomed what happened. There was this increasing feeling that something was missing, that selling toothpaste on the Web was not enough. I see something similar happening today, where giving is a way to validate your role in a world in financial turmoil."