Second, in the single stakeholder model there is a large group of members
drawn from the beneficiaries. The emphasis is on self-help. In employee-
owned firms, any employee is eligible to be a member. In community
businesses, residents of the community are eligible to become members.
In consumer co-operatives and credit unions everyone who is a client of
the business may apply for membership. Once you become a member you
are entitled to vote at AGMs. Members are generally drawn from:
a) a geographical base: a particular region or local authority;
b) a social base: an ethnic or minority group, or women, young people,
the elderly, people with disabilities, the unemployed etc.;
c) a community base: a group with a sense of belonging, shared history
and common interests, who may live in the same area or be connected
by common employment or other factors.
Social enterprises generally select one stakeholder group to control the
business. While all stakeholders have an interest in the business succeeding,
it takes a group of members with a strong sense of common purpose to
drive a business forward. Building a business requires commitment. If the
stakeholders who control the business do not share the deep sense of need,
the business is unlikely to thrive.
Third, the multi-stakeholder model involves joint-ownership by two or more
stakeholder groups. Social firms may include both representatives of sponsoring
agencies and representatives of the beneficiaries. When the multi-stakeholder
model is used, the organisation's constitution usually sets out two or more
classes of members. Each class or group will have a pre-determined portion
of votes at AGMs, and rights to elect a given number of directors.
Governance is more demanding in multi-stakeholder than in single
stakeholder organisations. It is important to limit the number of stakeholder
groups to those that have a strong interest in the social enterprise's success.