Enabling Not Aiding: a Solution to the Non-Profit Brain Drain
PATHFINDER is a new social enterprise developed by co-founders, Shivani Singh and Jessica van Thiel of India and Canada, respectively. PATHFINDER intends to create sustainable, positive impact by enabling promising local social entrepreneurs with the critical resources and support they need to realize innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.
PATHFINDER is different from most consultancies in the way that its model operates. Its intention is to enable social entrepreneurs by providing them with the resources and funding they need to be able to focus entirely on their organizations and causes; because the current model that most non-profit organizations use is just not sustainable.
Too often professionals with a great deal of expertise and education are expected to work for very little or on a voluntary bases (in many cases). This of course is not sustainable and the result is a high turnover of staff, the abandonment of projects and in many cases the closure of the organization.
PATHFINDER aims to prove that their innovative model of operations will address these greatest known industry shortcomings and will tackle them head on by enabling (not aiding) promising local social entrepreneurs and engaging only sustainable and scalable operations.
Their focus is vast, with connections and future collaboration planned with entrepreneurs who support the following international causes: Animal Welfare; Climate Change; Education; Environment; Gender Equality; Human Rights; LGBT Equality and Support; and Water and Sanitation (among others).
Singh and van Thiel recently launched a funding campaign on Indiegogo and are hoping to raise the funds and interest they need to begin their work.
They have decided to deploy their new model of engagement and all of its supporting theories to two excellent pilot projects which include supporting children’s education in Nepal and the production of eco-friendly soaps that will promote sanitation and create jobs for disadvantaged women in India.
One of the projects, PATHFINDER Nepal, assists children with educational subsidies in the Nepalese villages around the Pokhara valley. At the operational level, they regularly visit schoolmasters and aid impoverished children forced to drop out of school; in addition to funding schooling for children, they provide support by visiting families.
The second pilot project, The Drunken Chemist (TDC), is run by two sisters who are scientists/chemists by trade. They make soap formulae with locally sourced, responsible ingredients and they are environmentally sound and ethically tested (i.e. not on animals).
They are collaborating with PATHFINDER because in addition to growing their business in the US, they want to expand and focus on creating social impact.
PATHFINDER is seeking to expand their operations to India, starting in the Rajasthan region, where they aim to open locally run shops, thereby creating jobs for impoverished women and to promote proper sanitation.
PATHFINDER’s goal is to raise an initial $100,000 USD. This is the very least they must raise to be able to begin work on two pilot projects. If they are able to meet their fundraising goal for the year, they expect to be able to work entirely on PATHFINDER, which is ideal for all of the participants.
The pair envision that at the end of 2016, they will have made great strides. The direct impact will be seen at the "grass roots" level through their pilot projects. Supporting the education of the school children in Nepal, and the creation of jobs for rural women in India will be the tangible results seen right from the start.
However, raising funds is tough and raising funds where it is unlikely to make a massive return on investment right away, or where there isn't a cool new gadget to grab, is even tougher. PATHFINDER is a social enterprise and "social entrepreneurship" and is a relatively new, developing trend.
As explained by Sarita Douglas of Demand Media, “A social enterprise faces the same issues that any traditional business faces in its growth and operations. But social entrepreneurs also face unique challenges in delivering the social value, social returns or social impact of the enterprise in addition to commercial value.”
Much work is yet to be done to discover the amazing benefits of running socially responsible and economically sustainable organizations. But Singh and van Thiel are confident that over time, their model will prove to be successful and demonstrating of enormous potential.
On their innovative model and projections for the future Singh said, “Over time, impact will begin to be immeasurable as the potential for expansion and the scope of projects and partnerships is endless.”
Jessica van Thiel
Founding & Managing Partner
PATHFINDER | Consulting for Sustainable Development
For further information: http://pathfindersocent.com/
Jessica van Thiel
+33 682 865 072