Whether you agree or disagree, I firmly believe that as social entrepreneurs, we should be aiming for prevention rather than intervention.
Well, here are a few examples:
Instead of focussing all our efforts on working with offenders, we should put more onus on reducing the number of people who commit crimes.
Instead of putting more domestically-abused women in hostels, we should improve and increase the education of children, men and women about relationships and anger management, so they’re less likely to grow up to be abusers, or develop abusive traits.
Or, what about the homeless crisis? How about devoting more attention to resolving the issues that make people homeless, instead of simply providing more meals?
Now, depending on how well you know my reasoning for this, I appreciate you might have just read that and thought my views callous – but let me assure you, they’re anything but.
Prevention over intervention really is the only way we’re going to win the war on a wayward society, and whether you’re for or against my argument, I’m sure you can appreciate why I believe that.
So, are all social entrepreneurs failing to hit the mark?
Of course not. I see many great socents thrive and then cease to exist because they’ve achieved their desired impact; in fact, many go on to set up another to repeat the process!
But, it’s not the majority, and that’s my focus here.
And, even the Social entrepreneurs who do agree with this argument, can somethings only do so in principle.
It’s not until we start talking about how it applies to what they actually do in their socent and what needs to change that things become tough.
They’ll find an excuse as to why they can’t apply the changes, or will point blank say “I don’t want to close”, which again leads me to ask how much impact do they really want to make?
Let me ask you this though, if you’re working from the perspective of maximising your impact, then surely you’d want to get as close to that as possible?
You’d honestly think so, but sadly this isn’t being demonstrated by a lot of our country’s good-willed entrepreneurs.
Whether it’s solving big global issues like poverty, hunger and climate change, or something local to you, if you’re still doing exactly the same thing in 20 years’ time you’re not really having an impact – you’re now working with the next generation affected by the same problem.
And, quite honestly, if effecting change really is your driver, then achieving it comes down to having a robust impact led strategy.
If you took a different perspective now, in 2039, you’d not be working with the next generation because you would have significantly reduced the problem – simply by shifting some of your resources and focus on to preventing the problem.
Sorta like tackling the root causes rather than just trimming the leaves.
So, let’s be honest here – who is genuinely here to make change and who is simply looking at this as a way to pay their bills and employ other people?
Most people have plans to grow their social enterprise, but if we’re really going to challenge things then at some point the strategy and plan should be to stop this.
Are you with me?
As always, I welcome your comments, positive or other. Please email me via firstname.lastname@example.org