Skip links

How To Start An Organization From Scratch #2 Identify A Social Challenge

Like most social entrepreneurs, when I started my organization I was driven by a deep desire to provide a solution for unemployed youth in Uganda. I was convinced that I am part of the solution and definitely was convinced that there’s alot I could do to help lighten the burden of youth unemployment for the Ugandan economy. I was right and I am still driven by this same unwavering conviction.
Unfortunately I have also come across many social entrepreneurs who started organisations without a clear sense of purpose. Some people started organisations because they thought there was money in such ventures. Others wanted something to do with their extra time and resources after retirement. While others started organisations because they had the power and influence to do so.

The most outstanding organisations that deliver positive impact for their beneficiaries are those that are committed to solving a social challenge for a specific group of people. You need to identify a social challenge that you want to address and map out a specific group or groups of people that you will be targeting. The more specific you are, the better your chances of achieving your desired impact.
Most organisations are non profit making and others are social enterprises. In the recent years, organisational structure’s have shifted from typical non profit to using business models that facilitate financial sustainability. Social enterprises are more appealing to funders and donors in the current social impact space.
Consider how you might provide a solution for a social challenge in a way that enables your organization to make money so as to be sustainable. This means that the social challenge you’re addressing is big enough to keep you in business for years and affects a big percentage of the population to make it viable as well as relevant for your beneficiaries.
Start by observing the societal challenges that people in your society face and consider how you might eliminate that challenge for them in a way that adds value for your beneficiaries. Consider how long it could take to eliminate that challenge entirely because that determines how long you will stay relevant. If it’s a short term problem then consider running that as a project within a bigger mission.
One way to concretize your problem statement is by working through the business model canvas for social enterprises. This model helps you think through your value proposition and how you could best deliver it for your targeted beneficiaries. Carry out extensive research before you set up your organization.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.