Funding is a critical factor for Work Integration Programmes (WIP), particularly for those geared towards groups in situations of greater marginalisation. The work carried out over the years in this field has made it clear that productivity and an autonomous status in the regular labour market constitute hard challenges which may never be achieved by some of these individuals. This often implies a long-term path, sometimes with regressive periods, and combined personal, social and professional support, often on a permanent basis.

Some EU Member States acknowledge and fund this work, performed by promoters of WIPs and WISES in general. Funding by public policies is intended to support social work. WISES must manage their economic activity sustainably, offsetting the lower productivity of their workforce with government support. In other states, the work in professional integration of vulnerable groups is less acknowledged and less supported by public policies.

In both cases, the general trend is to reduce state funding of employment and social support policies and resort to the trading of goods and services on the market, as well as mobilising other resources, such as funding through corporate responsibility, fundraising or volunteering.

Therefore, if you are considering designing a Work Integration Programme, you must take into account the different sources of funding and general resources you can mobilise: the revenue from the sales of goods and services on the market, public support and benefits, and a myriad of resources, both monetary and non-monetary (volunteer work, donations, exchange of services and goods).

Seeking for sustainability, many WISEs are diversifying their funding sources throughout activities such as:

  • Extending the services provided to a wider and more diverse range of customers
  • Adopting labelling strategies highlighting social causes and appealing to responsible consumption, which may include new partnerships with suppliers and customers
  • Professionalising financial and resource management through the use of private for-profit sector methods
  • Establishing close relationships with for-profit companies and their corporate responsibility mechanisms
  • Developing commercial relations and strategic partnerships between social enterprises and between these and other economic agents, public authorities and universities
  • Generating revenue from renting physical structures and equipment, e.g. letting spaces such as classrooms, event halls or other equipment
  • Creating for-profit businesses in the open market

Finally, it is important to follow closely the trends in European funding policy for 2020 and the transformation of concepts, products and services in the financial sector.


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