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Social Profit Organisations

We think that non-governmental organisations / Civil Society Organisations like Powerful Information are better described as 'social profit' rather than 'non-profit' organisations. 'Non-profit' is a negative term that implies little or no value. In reality, non-profit organisations can and do deliver significant value to society. We've discussed this on another page.

Scene from one of the workshops we ran with community groups in Kelme, Lithuania, at the end of a 3 year project on Water and Healthcare in rural areas. We are here exploring different organisational and political routes that can be used to help resolve l

It has been suggested that the use of words like 'non-profit' can lead to low expectations and that non-profit organisations can succumb to this low level of expectation and not be accountable for delivering on their mission. The concept of a social profit organisation demands far greater performance and accountability.

We like very much the idea of social investment 'stock exchanges' such as those now established in Brazil and South Africa. As Tamzin Ractliffe, founder of Greater Good South Africa, has argued, this represents a shift in thinking that moves beyond the idea of charity, or of corporate social responsibility as a means whereby businesses 'pay something back', to the idea of committed investment in accountable development projects that yield measurable achievements, specifically a 'social profit' that can be measured by how lives have changed for the better.

"The provision of clear, accurate and concise information, before and after, means that investors know exactly how their investment will be used, and exactly what kind of social impact, social profit, their investment generates."

Social Investment Exchanges (like SASIX in South Africa, www.sasix.co.za) emulate the traditional stock exchange by connecting eligible, bona fide organisations requiring funds for specific social development projects with potential investors -- corporate donors, trusts, foundations and the general public. Social investment projects are carefully selected through the use of organisational and project evaluation tools. Regular prospectus's offer a list of projects from which donors can select ones fancy; alternatively, donors can create their own portfolio of development projects.