Two hands working together
Redeeming the world sounds like a pretty humongous goal. We all look for ways to give back to our community, to #pay_it_forward. Social enterprise is something that we can participate in whether you want to enhance your own business into a social enterprise or spend your consumer dollars supporting the businesses who are a social enterprise.
If you were to make a list of businesses who are looking to redeem our world, who would be on that list? They are known as #social_enterprises and some may be well known and others you might not recognize. We encourage you to take a look and consider doing business with these social enterprises, who are working hard to redeem our world. There is a link at the end of the article for the Social Venture Network’s list. I am sure that googling can find even more companies.
More and more businesses and organizations are stepping up to #giveback to society. There are two ways they are paying it forward, through contributions to charities and through having a business that doubles as a social enterprise.
#Charities fill one kind of gap being filled of, “the give the man a fish”. They come to a problem with advocacy and policy changes. There is no money to be made in work of most charitable foundations. When there is a natural disaster, they can mobilize and get working much faster than social enterprise can.
With social enterprises, we have the gap being filled of “teach a man to fish”. They believe that what they create needs to create a deep and lasting impact. They want the beneficiary of their work to benefit long term. It is geared towards delivering long-term sustainable changes. They do this by commercializing the skills that the individual who needs assistance learns. They look at the problem and see how they can fix it at the best possible price, and maybe even get paid for the solution.
What we are advocating is the combination of the two hands working together. The right hand – without passion, without compassion, without drive we can’t create social change. The left – without advocacy, without policy, we can’t create social change. I don’t think the right hand or the left hand is better than the other. Combining them together just makes sense, many hands make short work as the saying goes. Sharing resources, values and working together we will serve the short term assistance that is needed and put things in place to see lasting long term change.
We saw this in our post a few weeks back. A college girl saw a short term need with the homeless in Detroit – it was cold and they needed jackets and sleeping blankets to keep warm. She took her skills and created a sample sleeping blanket that converts into a jacket. She then applied for a grant, which she won. She then taught and employed several homeless women to sew the jacket/sleeping blankets. They then had sponsors with local businesses to purchase the jacket/blankets to provide to those who needed them. The charity got the grant and sponsorship’s and provided the needed jackets/sleeping blankets. The social enterprise was created by her employing the homeless to manufacture the jacket/blankets.
We need to think outside the box of how things have always done. Everyone uses the once a year fundraising format. They have the
charity runs, the silent auctions with dinner, or the annual golf tournament. This just makes raising funds way to hard and too much work.
Instead lets think outside the box and look to innovate to create something new, different, and then apply a business model to it so that the service provided becomes self sustaining.