Are social enterprises a better choice for doing good than NGOs


As per definition: “A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, environment or health. They provide analysis and expertise; serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements. Their relationship with offices and agencies of the United Nations system differs depending on their goals, their venue and the mandate of a particular institution”.

Very often this definition means that NGOs are big institutions and as such are slowed down from their own structure and “bureaucracy”. They do an amazing job but can be limited from their own size. Very often they operate in difficult and multinational environments with huge logistics and territorial problems.

On a local or national level they can still manage to operate effectively but the contribution that a social enterprise can have to that effectiveness can be massive.

I wouldn’t say that one is better that the other but I would definitely say that the synergy between them is a key factor to the future of good.

Major NGOs often have a reach to resources and places that can’t be access from a social enterprise. On the other hand a social enterprise can put its ability to act fast and swiftly at use with a self-sustainable business model supporting all the operation behind that.

I personally think that is more a matter of finding a way to work together and look at the areas where they can complement each other rather than choose one or the other. The future of “good” is based on mixed business models and synergies designed to activate collaborations and find resources in a more effective and sustainable way.