It's difficult to raise the money you need to start a new business. It’s even harder if you’re trying to start a business that isn't going to make investors any money. In the case of A Happy Life (www.happylifecoffee.com), a not-for-profit business working with rural farmers in developing countries investments need to be made not only in the product for sale but in the farming community itself. The primary return on investment comes in the form of better quality of life for the beneficiaries but marginal monetary return. This gives “investors” little incentive to back such a project. Any dividend paid to an investor is money that is channeled away from helping people who really need it.
Another option is the crowd-sourcing of funds for a start-up project, which has gained popularity recently. However, this option is a one-off for the consumer and doesn't foster community building which is an attribute to any successful non-profit organization. Although such efforts raise revenue for a company, profitability is marginalized if not negated, leaving money only to restock supply rather than being applied to where it is need most.