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Richard Brubaker:Who should pay for your mistake?

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【观点】| Insight

By Jointing.Media, in Shanghai  2010-04-15

Chinese

1-Definition of SE

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Description:Richard believes that a lot of different entrepreneurial models are available, which broadens the definition of Social Enterprise. For example, a company that consistently donate to NGOs and/or provide services for societies’ wellbeing can be considered a Social Enterprises. However, the definition of Social Enterprise is different from the Western to China; due to the restriction of NGOs in law in China, a lot of NGOs are registered under the category of Social Enterprise. Richard and his co-workers are still trying to identify Social Enterprise in a proper way and understand how the Social Enterprises are being operated.

2-Difference between NGO and SE-1

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Description:Richard thinks that the difference between a social enterprise and an NGO largely depends how they generate money and how they operate. He points out that in general, social enterprises will generate profit from their services, while NGOs are often repelled by the idea of making a profit. Also, the person running a social enterprise often has more business training than people who run NGOs. Still, aside from generalizations, differences between how Chinese and US NGOs operate exist. Richard gave the example of a Shanghai social enterprise that educates children who are mentally or physically handicapped. Since they are in China, they have developed a tuition based program and fundraise to supplement children who cannot afford it. While in the US, NGOs would not even consider collecting tuition and instead, fund raise the entire amount.

3-Difference between NGO and SE-2

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Description:Richard told us the way NGO and SE operate their programs is different. He gave an example of Children’s education to explain that: the way they make money to help those children and people they need to help to do that are different. First, NGO tends to encourage people to donate money by arousing their sincerely primary emotion, while SE tends to make money by providing service. Second, SE requires issue people (who understand issues very much) and business people (who know the fundamental of business) to work together and they need to do a lot of researches, while NGO people don’t understand business as much as issues and usually there’s an obvious need they can help right away. That’s why lots of NGOs have troubles on organizations: they know the issues, they emphasize on issues, but they don’t know how to grow in the right way.

4-Difference between NGO and SE-3

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Description:Every issue is going to have different ways to work through. So the NGO and SE can hardly be exactly the same thing. But they both end benefiting the society. It’s better for the society to possess both the organizations. Now, how they will do that can be different. NGO’s foundery is money and they put the money into work. SE develops profitable service that has benefited the society that the society pays for.

5-SE is the future direction of the GRO?

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Description:Richard claims that there remains to approach for GRO to consider: one is to be an SE, and the other favors an NGO development. Of the two, the majority of GRO is likely to take the path of NGO. Paradoxically, they grow toward to be an SE model, since being in that model they have a larger opportunity gaining more profitability with more freedom. However, Richard does not perceive a general trend switching to the SE model.

He think there are a lot of dynamics push that as well. However, the government policies are more in favor of the larger NGOs due to their stability, capability and better brand name. But there are a lot of questions about how effective those groups are. Chinese government should figure out the state quo of NGO hierarchy: ones who are the strongest and thus be supported; ones who are the smaller but with the potential to grow, and thus be helped; and who are really small without any change, thus be figuring out what to do.

6-What can we learn from successful models?

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DescriptionDifferent models are totally different. However, China can learn from others. Though the management of NGO in the USA is the best right now, it cannot be the best forever. Richard thinks lessons should be learnt from here about how to develop skills and capacity. For instance, Chinese NGOs do not program ahead of time. NGOs in America chat about when and where, but their counterparts in China do not chat with each other. He stressed that most events Chinese NGOs did here are only for short term goal, but we should more emphasize on long term program to develop in the future. The biggest problem for Chinese NGOs is internal staff. Because of the unstable staff, the process is not consistent.

7-Measurement is very important

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Description: Richard generalized how he did measurement for his organization and emphasized that it is critical. He stated that different organization should have different measurement for an appropriate evaluation. He would use the numbers to get the picture of operation and review the feedback from various participants to drive his staff to improve.

8-Role of NGOs in CSR.mp3

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Description: Richard thinks that employees are different from CEOs, the former are expected to join more community services, and the latter make donations to NGOs mostly. If employees willing to go to hospitals, help children and do many other community services, they are thought to be better employees. What’s more, they are likely to stay in companies which is helpful for the HR and other management work.

9-Who should pay for your mistake?

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DescriptionRichard believes that starting a new business is difficult enough for graduating students, let alone making them start an NGO. Mistakes are inevitable when people start operating a business; He thinks that these starters should not borrow friends or parents money to learn from these mistakes. Instead, Richard suggests that graduating students should work for big companies, like GE which would guide and support them through entrepreneurial mistakes.

10-Hiring right people is very hard

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Description:Richard believes that in an NGO, managing people is the most difficult task. He provides two strategies for successful NGO or SE employment: one has to understand the applicants’ motivations. He observes that some people may be very passionate for the first few weeks but then lose interest. Also, Richard believes that one should always evaluate applicants carefully: since more people are participating in the maturing non-profit businesses now, one must set standards not just for good intentions but also for practical skills.

11-Operation of HOS

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Description: HOS has partnership with many organizations and long-term partnership with some organizations like Shanghai Children Hospital and so on. These organizations have some resources and they need the volunteer services like recruitment and training. Because HOS have many professional volunteers like accountants and web designers which could provide them with professional services.
Staff of Starbucks also take part in the volunteer activities. HOS is in charge of management, training and measurement. Starbucks provides the volunteer opportunities with their staff and cover the cost.

Edited by Shixin

Contributors:WendyAdrianPFStephanie、Liupin、Yifan