Since taking up a management position in a charity nearly 10 years ago, I have had a real interest in charities and the voluntary sector. And in the past couple of years social enterprises have really peaked my interest and I am often heard saying that “social enterprises are the organisations of the future”. I am currently on the board of a charity, an advisor to a social enterprise, mentor and coach young social entrepreneurs and give a lot of my time to organisations, networks and people with no expectation of payment. And through all this I have been coming across a lot of people who want to “give” to their community or to others but don’t know how.
So there are people out there wanting to give.
And there are so many charities running on the smell of an oily rag to help their members or their beneficiaries.
So what isn’t working with this?
Surely these two needs should fit neatly together?
And so I have started to think:
Is there a different model to giving?
Is there a different model to charitable work?
Do we need organisations and charities to make social good happen?
Could we get self-forming groups of people solving problems, using their skills and strengths to help others (and allow them to learn and grow in the process) and then move on to the next challenge?
If people want to give of themselves, how do we allow them to do so with less hoop jumping, form filling, bureaucracy?
Now don’t get me wrong. So many charities and social enterprises do amazing good and I’m not calling for abolishment of them. I am just wondering whether the model needs to move and change with the times. I wonder whether the structures of organisations are hindering more involvement of people and solving of problems.
People want to make a positive difference in their lives and help those around them. I truly believe people want to help shape the future of this world and want to be a part of something “bigger”. So we need to start looking at ways for there to be win-win with regards to giving. Giving cash is all well and good, but as a society and as a world we can do more with brains and skills than cash.
I have no idea what the answer is, but I shall continue to ponder and discuss. Any ideas from you would be gratefully received. And if you want to join in on this dialogue then I would love to hear from you.