BUSINESS OR CHARITY?
So one of the three troubled, quizzical look, queries we get, along with
“What do you do?”
“…but how do you make money?”
“…so you’re not a charity?”
At this moment in time, we’re not a charity. I know that might come as a shock to some of you. You may even think we’re profiteering capitalists off the back people’s charity but there’s a reason.
With charity you spend most time trying to find money to do your activities than actually focussing on how to do your activities better. Maintaining the right balance is a knife edge and depends so much on the person leading it. Every day is a constant thought of “how do i convince people to give me money to keep doing the work?”. Unfortunately it easily leads down the road of where many international NGOs are today. For many, days are constantly filled with thinking about how can they get enough money not only to keep the boat afloat, but also to have enough to cover the “lean” periods. It is stressful and it is unhealthy.
So we decided with Social Enterprise….although that might not necessarily be any less stressful, or healthy.
In pure terms we’re a for-profit organisation whose aim is to promote the success of the company for the benefit of our members as a whole and, through our business and operations, to have a material positive impact on the communities we serve.
Once profitable FieldWorks will commit a share of its profits to directly support civil society organisations and further their missions, be it through donations, investments, workshops etc. Furthermore a part of the profits will be invested into technologies that can achieve our ends of greater transparency and accountability to beneficiaries. If you are a lawyer or financial adviser who has had experience in setting similar structures up please do get in touch.
We want to establish an eco-system where it is beneficial and in everyone’s best interests, both financially and socially, to work together, to do well.
We’re no Warren Buffet or Richard Branson, so our naivety in business might be endearing, but fatal. However the basic principle is if we can champion good NGOs, and people find value in that, they will pay for our services. This in turn will increase our revenues, which will allow us to make a profit, and which we can then share with those very NGOs we just championed.
If they do good, we do good.