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The Non-Profit Perspective

Coopetition

In business, as within in most domains, the chief motivator is competition. Competition to survive, to win or to help. That’s not to say that there can’t be other forms of motivating assets, but competition is by far the most used, amongst humans and nature itself. And it has more than shown its efficacy time and time again providing further testament to its wide use. But we are also a conscious and empathetic species, capable of not just putting ourselves in others shoes but also of thinking beyond the immediate and down the line toward the horizon and futures to come. It sounds whimsical because in truth it is. Unlike competition, cooperation requires information, communication and understanding, some of the hardest tools to master individually, let alone as a collective. And this is why we need to orchestrate a bond between these two powerful tools. Linking competition and cooperation in new and wondrous ways that propel all the aspects involved forward.

So what is Coopetition?
This is a word that means both competition and cooperation. It suggests the use of working together to better provide an economic and social edge in the marketplace. Together we can do more and so forth. This blended form of strategic approach allows organisations to reap the rewards of a competitive industry whilst maintaining a support structure intended to help them compete. The result is an improved value and a reduced cost. We can immediately see that this sort of business practice would flourish within the social sector, where ideally pride and profits are put behind creating a real impact to the community and teaming up should, therefore, be easy since the intended result for everyone is a better community.

This also encourages not only better communication and collective information but also provides each member with the strength and capability of the whole. This is an invaluable resource, especially to the smaller entities of the social sector, where getting attention is one of the biggest barriers to entry. Using set up collaboratives and trusts the entities involved can build together, with each impact made from within a mark to the good of the entire group, resulting in better awareness and support for the group and its participants.

Of course, in such a setting the organisation is only as good as its weakest member so the incentive on the organisations already involved is to aid and support those new to the collaborative whilst those just entering will be motivated to put their best foot forwards and strive to improve themselves and as a result the whole group through their attitude and their efforts. One such entity focussed on creating this coopetition in practice is the NGO Assist Trust. With the right efforts and a growing number of members groups such as this one can only produce effective and impacting results. Let’s help the community, as a community.
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Want to team up?... So do we! Join us at the NGO Assist Trust and let's battle problems together!
Social Entrepreneurship

By now everyone has probably heard of the term Social Entrepreneurship, or Social Enterprise. It is not a new term but the concept is one still rarely seen within many industries, especially in South Africa. Instead, we have far more often what is known as Non-Profit Organisations which are tasked with dealing with the problems of society. Some of our hardest and most ingrained societal issues and we expect a couple of groups to be able to do it alone, and without making the money to do it?! Surely this cannot be the way to solve problems. Especially when we live in a world that has the capacity to be as open and transparent as we have ever seen, enabling everyone the scope and vision to identify and communicate problems around them. We can all help, regardless of what we do and it is time that the onus of this responsibility is shifted upon all members of society. We together can make a true and long-lasting difference.

Back to Basics
Let’s start at the beginning then. What exactly is a Social Enterprise and how does it differ from an NPO? As we’ve alluded to before, the main point of difference comes down to the income line. A social entrepreneur realises that the best way to consistently carry out their mission is to build a business around it, such that the organisation itself can sustain any endeavours necessary. This frees up the ball and chain or cup in hand mentality that NPOs have developed. Bound and tethered to their donations and investments an NPO under the current status quo is severely limited and rarely in a position to look toward expansion or growth in any capacity.

But how do we turn NPO into Social Enterprise when their effective customers are the ones sorely in need of assistance?
How do we charge for service and operate like a business when we are catering to the most disadvantaged?
Well the truth is we all have the capacity to offer something. We are all able to create value in today’s world, even when we don’t always realise it. From selling crafts on the street, to helping out at food and wellness centres and even down to handing out flyers in shopping centres and at events, there are many ways to return favour and create additional value. This exchange system does several things. Firstly, it allows more power and freedom to those being helped. The teach a man to fish analogy comes to mind rather prevalently here. Additionally, it enables that return on investment for the helping social enterprises and allows them to further their reach or expand their efforts. In this regard terms like economies of scale and other business jargon become effective and relevant. Finally, this allows the entire system to better integrate with the corporate side of things. This is a big factor because not only are there a lot of resources tied up there, but they are also being more and more obliged to offer those excess resources in the pursuit of aiding society. See the thing is this, more and more we are starting to realise that emotion and business don’t have to remain completely separated, we simply need to realise their roles in society and the bigger picture and work together to make the world a better place for everyone…
What does Social Media Marketing mean for NPOs?

If you asked a hundred people about social media you’d get a lot of varying answers. From good to bad, to important and back down to unnecessary, everyone will have an opinion. However, the point is, that of those hundred people you asked, every one of them gives an opinion on the topic, good or bad. This is because everyone knows about social media at the very least, which translates to a massive online community even if half of them aren’t online. And that’s pretty much the case. Around 2.3 billion people use Facebook in some capacity in 2018, and there are many other platforms growing in popularity. This is a statistic simply impossible to ignore from a marketing perspective, especially when it’s free to sign up and start talking immediately.

Many of us however, and this is especially the case in the NPO sector, are intimidated by social media marketing. What do we say, how do we say it and what do we want to motivate our supporters and followers to do? Well of course this is a largely unique set of questions each organisation needs to ask itself. And what we’ll quickly find is that regardless of which form of call to action or consumer persona you’re after, there’ll be a capacity to discover it across social media. From there it’s just a matter of starting an online dialogue that enables an open and transparent environment for others to investigate and, over time, trust and support.

How do we start using it?
Well a good place to start is always by doing a bit of personal research. What are other organisations like mine doing online? Who are they talking to for advice and help? From there the next best move would be to contact us at Sustainable Strategy Implementation NPC, or visit our website www.sustainablestrategy.org.za for social media marketing support. We are always happy to offer advice and assistance as well as marketing packages for NPOs and social enterprises. Additionally, members joining the NGO Assist Trust will have access to more support from our social marketing team!
Time to show the world NPOs know how to adapt to the future!

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