The Mighty Five: April.
A cross-sector curation of the month’s best social impact listens & reads
We read and listen to a lot around here. Articles, journals, case studies, podcasts – anything that provides nuggets of insight to fuel our mission and work. And we distill them down to our very top five in a regular monthly roundup. We hope you gain as much from reading it as we do from curating it.
An impassioned social enterprise debate.
SSIR | 8min
When an article titled "Social Enterprise is not Social Change" shows up in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, an impassioned debate is sure to follow. A slew of people commented on the original piece, and then again to the authors' response. We even saw well-articulated rebuttals offsite (like this one from Joining Vision + Action, and this one from Andy Horsnell), so there’s not much more to add to the debate. But for the record, we recognize the great power of the social enterprise and the fact that it must work alongside political and governmental action.
Corporations as communities and activists.
The Hedgehog Review | 9min
OK, we do have something to add. "The Last Association Standing" takes a fascinating look at the evolving relationship and dependence we Americans have with the corporation. Which sparked a thought: if we agree corporations and their brands function as social institutions for all of us Bowling Alone, then the false dichotomy set up in SSIR becomes even more problematic. Business has always been inextricably woven into our American political life. So it’s no wonder it increasingly attempts to fill the gaps left by those who wield public-sector power. And no surprise that company leadership is playing the role of CEO activists.
The power of programmatic impact, put simply.
Gates Notes | 4min
As a strategic marketing agency, we get excited to see complex concepts explained with both simplicity and resonance. While not overly designed, our jaws dropped at this infographic depicting the worldwide variance between income groups. What a great reminder to social enterprises and NGOs that programmatic impact directly hinges on the ability to effectively communicate with stakeholders (aka marketing). We look forward to the day the social sector embraces and intentionally funds this pillar of business – versus seeing it as a necessary evil of operational overhead.
Empowerment through cash.
Mercy Corps | 5min
Personal agency and dignity is fundamental to effective social change. But when responding to natural disasters or rebuilding communities ravaged by war, it can be difficult to balance these principles with immediate humanitarian relief. That’s why we love learning more about Mercy Corps’ cash aid programs deployed in Mosul and in West Nile refugee settlements (among other locations). Besides its efficacy being studied and proven, “Cash gives people dignity. It allows them to make their own decisions and choices about what they need and when.”
Celebrating six mighty changemakers.
Skoll World Forum | 2min + videos
We’re in Oxford, England this week along with hundreds of others at the Skoll World Forum, arguably the premier event centered on social entrepreneurship and social change. Every year, The Skoll Awards recognize transformative leaders whose organizations disrupt the status quo, drive sustainable large-scale change, and are poised to create an even greater impact on the world. Take a look at the videos celebrating the 2018 awardees, including MyAgro, Code for America, and Callisto. Inspiring to say the least.
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