If Social Enterprise is the future: why does it need to change?
The benefit of a Social Enterprise culture and the development of that to deliver services is a growing focus of government in the UK. As such the increasing number of practitioners of social enterprise would seem to have 'got it right'. However, as with all things, and as Heraclitus pointed out over 2500 years ago, 'the only constant in life is change'.
Recent economic history has been an object lesson in radical and, in many quarters, unexpected change: funding streams have dried up and finance has become a rare commodity.
Charities and voluntary organisations are having to adjust to the reality of operating in a more 'business like' manner. Research, published through the RAKE Fund, found that charities, voluntary organisations and small businesses seeking to transition to a Social Enterprise model face two key barriers:
A lack of the business skills, capacity and resources needed to establish and maintain an enterprise approach.
A lack of the ability to manage the change faced by their organisations in moving from a grant funded culture to one of earned income.
In addition the increasing demand for their services under reduced funding conditions makes the costs of know-how in business management and cultural change out of their reach both financially and in resource time.
Whilst Social Enterprise may be moving, for the time being at least, to more favourable operating conditions with wider opportunities from the Social Act and tax concessions from the Social Investment Tax Relief, they still face an ever changing environment. Survival in such an environment requires ongoing change management that maintains a successful forward momentum, embraces change as it emerges and has strategies in place to deal with it. A change management process that:
creates a clear understanding of the present organisation: how its operates, where its current and potential future revenue streams lie and challenges being faced
determines the desired future state for revenue generation, process development, structure and relationships
defines a strategic plan and set of actions to transform the organisation and maintain future success in its ever changing environment.
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