international development, non-profit, social change

The westernized nature of the #socent industry

Today, I’m so excited to present a guest post over at Jennifer Lentfer’s amazing How Matters blog on social entrepreneurship, and how grassroots groups across the world continue to be marginalized in the race for funding. Here’s an excerpt:

Most social entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders today who are granted awards by prestigious foundations, who are praised for their work by news outlets, who market their organizations effectively both online and off-line are like me. They have a distinct advantage.

But community leaders and activists across Africa, Asia, and Latin America are doing just as much as American social entrepreneurs – if not more – to lift their communities out of poverty, to protect human rights, and to change the status quo. And yet, Southern activists gain little publicity in comparison to the many Western entrepreneurs who easily gain recognition after traveling abroad to do good. The difference is that Southern leaders face numerous barriers to raising funds and publicity for their work – barriers that their more privileged Western counterparts simply do not face.

Click here to visit How Matters and read more about the barriers faced by Southern activists, feminists, community leaders & social entrepreneurs. And please check out Jennifer’s blog while you’re at it: she consistently posts on thought-provoking topics regarding international aid, development, human rights, and how we can support grassroots organizations around the world. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts either here, or over at How Matters!

2 thoughts on “The westernized nature of the #socent industry”

  1. RA says:

    Based on the fund-ers (is that the right word?) you highlight, it almost sounds as though a model that works is one where we have intermediary organizations who have to resources to bring these smaller, “less accessible” NGOs to the attention of donors.  I think what I’d like to know more about, is how these big funds seek out and evaluate organizations that they support?  I hope your time in Bangladesh/California is wonderful! Can’t wait to read more about it!

    1. Akhila says:

      That’s a great idea Ruchi! Definitely think an intermediary that identifies promising groups around the world & helps them connect w/ funders would be really useful! You’ve got me excited about the possibilities now… 😉 As for your question, most funders I’ve had experience with put out a ‘call for proposals’ usually circulated via email, internet, etc. Then they accept proposals in a particular format with specific questions they’ve laid out from groups and select the top groups from those who’ve applied. Usually by reviewing the proposal, the foundation’s needs, and trying to learn more about the organization’s work through recommendations/references. A few groups like Ashoka for example actively seek out organizations/entrepreneurs around the world by going to different countries and not only accepting proposals (from my knowledge)… Other organizations DO NOT accept proposals and only go through their connections/word of mouth.

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