The concept of social entrepreneurship is highly discussed: social labs, industries, universities and huge organizations from the social sector are very interested in it. The entrepreneurial idea behind is amazing: the promising win – win approach – that goes beyond the traditional charity events -, the potential sustainability behind and the innovative character are an interesting and often successful approach that leads to more impact and social change – outside, but even inside companies. Social entrepreneurship is the latest trend, the modern way of support and – without doubt – future-oriented.
But it would be wrong to see this kind of engagement as an advanced development step of charity and therefore the better one. Sometimes, reading the articles of influencing newspapers, magazines and listening to talks in front of large audiences it seems that social entrepreneurship is seen as the only, the right and best high-level engagement for academics, upper level classes, richer and more educated people who want to engage. There is nothing wrong with it – it is just that we should not forget that even pure donations and charity events, traditional volunteering and engagement that comes from one time activities – such as sport events – is not less important.
Donations cover short-term needs and therefore a basic support to make change happen: immediate, direct and tangible. Just think about the European issue with migrants. There is needed help: Direct and very simple help. Food, clothing, bags…. there is a huge list of items. Additionally, migrants need support to learn the language, to find houses and to feel somehow safe.
When I visited children home in India I heard that they live from less than 15 EUR a month; there is a huge need of basics, e.g. as undergarment or school bags. That’s the point where charity fits in and where it makes sense to engage.
Social entrepreneurship is a mid-and long-term activity that – once the basic needs are covered – can help to make a real social support.
I have experienced even another phenomena: Human beings who engage want to be part of the support, feel that their contribution makes a difference. As soon as possible. They want to feel that they can help. Engaging and see in the effect in some years only – this is difficult to “sell”. Besides this factor – just from an organizational point of view – it is impossible to engage a huge mass in social enterprises – think about thousands of employees in a company. It is impossible to explain to each of them the concept of social entrepreneurship and to bring all of them in contact with single social enterprises. But volunteering and one time engagements are something you can offer to all of them – and the mass engagement can be very helpful, too. The mass movement can help to make a lot of people ambassadors of a good idea and create in this way even a lot of impact.
Making impact is based on both types of engagement: the traditional charity/donations/one time engagements and social entrepreneurial ideas and activities. The short-term help is needed to cover basic needs, the mid-and long-term engagement via social entrepreneurial ideas that ensures that there will be a better future where people in need get a chance to build up their own life in a different way and to make more happen: more health, a healthier environment, better education to all. What do you think?