“A Twestivus for the Rest of Us”

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Today marks the second annual celebration of Twestival, the global charity event held in 175 cities worldwide. This year’s featured organization gaining support from the Twitterverse is Concern Worldwide. Concern is a non-governmental, international, humanitarian organization dedicated to the reduction of suffering and working towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries. The organization puts a large emphasis on helping the estimated 70+ million children who are not enrolled in school gain an education.

This is a great cause but what does this mean for you?

One of the best ways to find out what you can do to help is to check out Mashable’s recent posting on the five ways to get involved with Twestival. There they give tips on which locations to visit, how to donate online and how you can offer your support on Twitter. Today we are going to be dedicating our tweets to the cause, tweeting facts about education in poor countries to help raise awareness.

Twestival is just one more example of how Twitter can be used to accomplish social good.

Run With Mark

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Talk about pushing yourself to the limit for a good cause.

Mark Cooper of Edinburgh, England is attempting to run a 1,300 mile trek from Amseterdam to Barcelona all in the name of charity. Trying to raise £25,000  for an organization called Headway Group, Cooper will run  the equivalent of 50 marathons in 56 days.

Why do this for this particular organization? In an interview, Cooper explains why:

“I have chosen The Edinburgh Headway Group (EHG) as the work they do to support people who have suffered an acquired brain injury such as a stroke. My Mother Sheila passed away in 1997 from a Brain Haemorrhage and I consider the work the EHG do as vital.”

As a result of wanting a lifestyle changein 2007, Mark Cooper has found that pushing himself to the limits is something he really enjoys. As a result, he is using his new found passion in a way to help others around him. He’s not the only one. Others out there have used their skills to develop social enterprises and other organizations to help make their world a better place.

How are your passions helping others?

Follow Mark on Twitter http://twitter.com/runwithmark or keep tabs on his route by clicking here.

Blurring the Lines Between Nonprofits and Business

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Social enterprises. Are they nonprofit organizations? Do they actually make money?

Some actually combine a little of both.

When the term “nonprofit” comes to mind, most automatically associate it with a business model that focuses more on helping people than actually making money. Most organizations who do help people and have their entire focus directed toward social good do operate using a nonprofit model.

What if you could focus completely on making the world better around you AND still make money? That’s the niche some social enterprises fit into.

Using a traditional  business model, social enterprises use their goods and services to maintain a full-time commitment to their social mission. A great example of this is Greyston Bakery. They are a traditional business in the interest of making profit. What separates them from other businesses is how they make money and help others improve their lives. Greyston gives employment to those who are less likely to be able to gain employment at other places. Employment at the bakery gives less fortunate individuals a second chance at making a more sustainable life for themselves.

Sure, Greyston does focus on making a profit and making money. However, 100% of their profits go to the Greyston Foundation, an organization that helps teach life/job training skills to those caught up in the poverty cycle.

What other businesses do you know with socially responsible goals? Check out a few others here.

Social Enterprise: What is it?

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The term “social enterprise” is becoming an ever popular buzz word in the world of social responsibility gurus and aspiring world changers.

What exactly is a social enterprise?

Many individuals group social enterprises in the same cluster as non-profit organizations. While it is true that many social enterprises operate under a non-profit status, many more are actually generating revenue. Social enterprises are becoming an increasingly popular business model and provide more financial flexibility for doing good than a traditional non-profit model.

So what separates a for-profit social enterprise from any other money making company?

One huge difference…and this may be a shocker…social entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily in it for the money. They design a business model to make profits but aren’t obligated to serve the interest of share holders or investors looking for a large ROI. Most social enterprise groups reinvest those profits into their business or into the community around them. For example, Helping Hand Rewards partners like Greyston Bakery, Bright Endeavors and The Enterprising Kitchen use the profits generated from their products to teach life skills training, job skills training, and help find more permanent employment situations for individuals in their programs.

In a nutshell, social enterprises are fulfilling a need. According to an article in the Telegraph:

 “Wherever there is a social or environmental need, social enterprises will be working on solutions- whether that’s saving the local village post office or shop, tackling global warming, combating homelessness or providing better health and social care services.”

For-profit social enterprises believe that being a competitive and profitable business is the best methodology for attaining socially responsible goals. What do you think?