It’s no secret that I believe the ultimate goal of a Social Enterprise should be not to need to exist…
…after all, if their mission is to end a world problem, not existing means they’ve succeeded, yes?
Regretfully, this isn’t the case. But it could be.
So many Social Enterprises are focussed on intervention; they rescue and save people after something has gone wrong in their life.
It’s a model that almost relies on problems to exist, so they can too.
Now, don’t get me wrong, intervention-based socents, as our world problems stand right now, are vital to our welfare, and arguably, there are some problems we, as humans can never control, such as natural disasters.*
* and yes, I do understand that some natural disasters are a direct link to climate change.
But, what if more was done on the prevention side?
In plain talk, what if we stopped the problem occurring in the first place?
Socents that exist to prevent a problem rather than treat it – wouldn’t that be the dream?
Let’s take homelessness as our example here.
Last year, homelessness in the UK rose by 4%.
That equates to over 320,000 people.
Now, I don’t know how many charities or Social Enterprises exist to tackle the homelessness problem, but this rise of 4% suggests either there isn’t enough, or enough isn’t being done to actually prevent homelessness in the first place, and I’m going to presume it’s the latter.
According to the Office of the Deputy of Homelessness, the causes behind the problem include:
- Fall-out between family and friends and they’re no longer able to accommodate
- Loss of job
- Breakdown in relationships
- Mortgage/rent arrears
That said, wouldn’t it be smart for us socially-focussed entrepreneurs to turn our talents to preventing these actual causes before homelessness has a chance to even happen?
I absolutely, unequivocally and wholeheartedly believe so.
It’s why I’m so damned passionate about working with housing associations, as I can help them understand and implement the tools that actively PREVENT their tenants from becoming homeless, such as skills development and ways to become independent from Universal Credit.
So, let me ask you this – how much time do you spend on prevention compared to intervention?
If you’re unsure, or reading this has hit a nerve, then do something preventative right now and either comment on this blog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I can and want to help you.
Here’s to the army of preventers!