Social enterprise

What is a human bridge?

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Ummm…this isn’t what I had in mind, but it is impressive. Could there be any other reason more important to build a bridge than this? I think so!

What is charity?

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When I mention what I am doing through the 10 City Bridge Run to many people, often the response is “are you doing that for charity?”

We have corrupted and confused the meaning of the word charity by have too much emphasis toward a consumer focus. We have confused the word (verb) charity for the description (noun) of ‘a charity’. But does this really matter?

I think it does. We have made ‘doing good’ a commodity. Philanthropy has become for many a means of finding reward and status. Brand and agency now define how we understand value and trust. I think that is all wrong.

Are these things right?

  • ‘Charities’ ambushing people on the street and signing them up onto monthly direct debit forms to their credit cards.
  • Corporate events seeking sponsorship to the right ‘charity’ because of the reputation gained.
  • Treating those who give larger sums of money with extra-special care because of their ‘philanthropy’.

What happened to the neighbourly culture of helping out your mate in Australia? The proverbial cup of sugar when it was asked. Helping out when someone is in need.

Where I live in Kings Cross there are many people who stop and ask you for ‘change’. Is the right thing just to give them what they ask- a few bucks- or is it more appropriate to ask how we can help them? All too often the stereotype (and often the reality) is that these people will just go and drink the money away, or worse score and shoot up. Surely if we really cared we would look to their needs beyond just throwing them a couple of coins so they were off our conscience.

I believe we need to be bridges to help those in need. We can’t meet everyones need, and neither will we want to all of the time. We have our own concerns to look to as well.

10 City Bridge Run presents a new approach to philanthropy. Philanthropy doesn’t mean ‘not-for-profit’. It means doing good in the interest of others.

In the 10 City Bridge Run sponsorship received supports the production of a book, “Above the Line” using a social enterprise business model. Proceeds enable the 10 City Bridge Run to occur and to meet the Six Outcomes. Sponsorship is received by Social Alchemy, a social business as defined by Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Muhammad Yunus. Please join us on the journey and become a sponsor.

This is a participative and altruistic initiative. It is charity in action.

Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid

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Author Seth Godin at PDF 2007
Author Seth Godin

Seth Godin uncharacteristically has written more than just a couple of lines in his blog tonight. Hmmm. Something is floating his boat! Read all about it here: the paradox of marketing and the “Bottom Billion”.

He draws upon his work around tribes, and the distinction in world view between someone who is keeping up just surviving, and someone who is pursuing happiness wrapped up inside the latest box of something for sale.

And here’s the kicker: If you’re a tenth-generation subsistence farmer, your point of view is different from someone working in an R&D lab in Palo Alto.

A nice little segue to join three posts from this evening: this one, the previous video about social enterprise (provided courtesy of Seth), and the previous reflection of Peter Singer’s considerations about a nudge.

Inspired?

The Double Bottom Line

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Check out this video circulating about social enterprise with a case study of D.Light Design.

Well articulated and presented.

Social Alchemy is a social business, also known as a social enterprise. But what is in a name? All too easy for people just to slap the label across their charity activity?

What does this mean for opportunities in the eradication of poverty, not just extreme poverty, but poverty in general? How can this also relate to the human dimension beyond physical need for everyone throughout the supply chain?

A silver bullet? Perhaps not, but definitely a step in the right direction.