Modern Philanthropy by Way of Social Enterprise

Modern Philanthropy by Way of Social Enterprise

Modern Philanthropy by Way of Social Enterprise

The pandemic shook the foundations of every industry and nearly every community. A global experience of that magnitude will leave discernable marks upon humanity, more specifically the organizations and people who function within it.

Charitable acts alone, although noble, are being viewed by many philanthropy proponents as shortsighted. Charity, by broad definition, is about remedying an immediate need. Philanthropy is about addressing those needs in the long term, for the current generations and for generations to come.

While the first may save lives, the second saves and sustains them. The functioning of nonprofit organizations is shifting out of necessity, perhaps partially goaded by a savvy populace who want more information and would like to see results from contributions. 

The internet changed things, more doors are opened, more debit and credit card numbers are a few keystrokes away. While the Millennial generation is philanthropy-focused, in fact 74% of them describe themselves as philanthropists, according to a recent Fidelity Charitable report, they are also more cognizant of organizations and more attuned to the principles that drive them to contribute.

The paradigm shift away from chucking money at social issues without direction was long-coming. Corporate Social Responsibility is now widely known by its acronym: CSR. It is becoming commonplace in boardroom discussions and when people consider investments. CSR remains a point of debate between proponents, economists and some free market capitalists. However, recent research suggests it is beneficial for all involved: the companies and the communities they support.

“Economists initially thought corporate social responsibility stemmed from self-serving reasons like financial gain. But contemporary researchers believe companies have altruistic motivations, too. Most companies choose issues that help their local community or relate to their primary mission,” according to academic research.

Still, there is yet another avenue: for the nonprofits themselves to work toward sustainability.

The concept, while disruptive a few years ago, is evolving into a nonprofit trend. Many are heeding that age-old wisdom: adapt to survive. They are also keenly aware of the lives that depend on their ability to adapt.

The redefinition of philanthropy is in many aspects a reckoning, a push to replace old ideas with new ones. It is a revolutionary concept that has the potential to better the world.

A significant change in the ways people want to donate means that nonprofits need to facilitate that consumer/donor desire.

Social enterprise pioneers like Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity’s ReSTore and Grameen Bank paved the way for others like ME to WE.

Social enterprise is paving the way for consumers to meet their needs while also helping empower other people in society. ME to WE, for example, took $20 million donated through social enterprise to create We Village regions that focus on job creation through eco-travel and the creation and sale of artisanal and fairtrade products.

Millennials are driving the charge to social change by using daily purchases to generate social change.

Published by Irfan Haider

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