I think there may be many reasons why we are better off being a for-profit as an alternative to a nonprofit in the pursuit of wide and deep social impact. In my building of TAVOS, I realized through the business planning of the social enterprise that there were two ways to cover the high costs of a Latin American-scale deployment: either dedicate my life and one of the others to fundraising and not work directly with the people I want to serve or look for income-generation strategies to make every community unit of the initiative sustainable. I decided for the latter. Some of my reasons were:
1. I rather devote myself to care of the people I want to serve and let the market dynamics push my organization to listen, than devoting my life to fundraising to end up detached from the end beneficiaries.
2. The communities I am trying to serve are highly entrepreneurial. 50-60% of the economy in Latin America is informal. That means that Francisco in Catia, a low-income suburban neighborhood in Caracas, wakes up every morning thinking how he will make it to bring food to the table the next day. Francisco and 100 million other Latin Americans are better served by bringing opportunities they could use to tap into their spirit than by bringing charity that will leave them highly vulnerable if the funding gets dry.
3. A for-profit will make the social impact sustainable and scalable if we are serving well the needs of the target population. If we are failing, the market will tell.
4. Embedded in my last comment, the for-profit approach forces better learnings of the market and customers than the nonprofit approach.
I do agree that there is a challenge in leading and executing with integrity a hybrid social/business-mission venture. But I think that it holds true for any enterprise today. There is also an interesting discussion about for-profits with organizational and governance structures that "lock" their social mission, for example: a parent nonprofit or member association. But that is a whole new discussion.