Why are so many charities ineffective?
SOCIAL entrepreneurship—the application of business principles and practises to solve social problems—is all the rage. The new sort of philanthropist who sees giving as a social investment wants to support social entrepreneurs in the same way that for-profit investors want to back ordinary (anti-social?) entrepreneurs. Judging by the number of courses in social entrepreneurship now taught at leading business schools, many an MBA student would rather work for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) than a traditional company.
Yet even as its popularity soars, sober observers of social entrepreneurship are starting to ask if it lives up to the hype. Where is the social-entrepreneurial equivalent of a for-profit start-up like Google or Microsoft or any other large global business? Where is the evidence of massive social change?