Wednesday, March 23, 2011

To Charity or Not

That is the question.

A social entrepreneur is someone who "recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change (a social venture). While a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. Thus, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals." (Wikipedia).

When I started this company one of my goals was to be as transparent as possible when it came to where the money raised was going, how much was going to where and what all of my costs were. I did not want to be one of those races that generically states "a portion of the proceeds goes to X" and in reality 1% goes to charity. Some local races have gotten in trouble for that and I wanted no part of it, even if it meant losing a few participants who didn't think the percentage was high enough.

For the upcoming Good Karma 5K I decided to put in the advertising how much was going to the charities. After much number crunching I figured out that 50% was a good percentage. Run for Good was recently bashed in the comments section of an online local newspaper piece for having 50%, not 100% of the proceeds go to the causes for Good Karma 5K. It raises a good point about these kinds of events. If you advertise as benefiting a charity, must 100% of the proceeds go to that cause? My answer is no, this is found money for these organizations who now will get these funds, and needed publicity without the drain on staff or the usual donor base, all the while making a small profit for the company. After all, we are still in the growing stages of this company and we have to be careful about sustaining the business to bring more great events to help more people in the future. We would have loved to have donated more, perhaps next year.

Is that not the definition of social entrepreneurship?

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