At Soleran, we want to be thoughtful in how we approach every problem - at work and beyond. An internal philosophy we live out with our clients is “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” The same can be said for charitable causes. With our best practices in consulting and software, we try to remain impactful and intentional. In the case of charity work, we need to be mindful of what we do to help. Soleran is deeply committed to understanding how to do charity well. Poverty is one of the many areas of charity work that has captured the heart of our company.
Not all giving is good and not all giving is bad. Even if our generosity makes us feel better about ourselves, is it actually helping anything? Maybe instead, we should think twice about where and how we spend our money, as well as how much we consume and then just give away in general. There is a growing network and education for charity work. Educate yourself.
At Soleran, we want to be thoughtful in how we approach every problem - at work and beyond. An internal philosophy we live out with our clients is “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
The same can be said for charitable causes. With our best practices in consulting and software, we try to remain impactful and intentional. We have a software platform that can literally do anything. But sometimes we overengineer just to make it look cooler, to see the gears turn, or make us feel good. In the end, it doesn’t actually do anything to help. In the case of charity work, we need to be mindful in what we do to help. It takes intentionality and time to make real change.
Soleran is deeply committed to understanding how to do charity well. Poverty is one of the many areas of charity work that has captured the heart of our company. The concept of “teach a man to fish” is rooted in the philosophy of helping an individual become self-sustainable. In the case of poverty, job creation transforms communities. It is quite literally the key to self-sustaining communities. Jobs beget jobs and the need for handouts goes away.
With this job creation model, all non-profits, if doing their charity work in this fashion, should perpetually be working themselves out of a job in a community. After a period of time, the non-profit should leave the area because skills, jobs, and infrastructure abound in that region. Then the non-profit moves on to the next community and the next. If the model is to stay in that community indefinitely, the community is not transformed. It is dependent. This trail of fundamental impact from beginning to end is:
Using thoughtful best practices
Learn to manage themselves
Helping them learn to help themselves
This is the beginning of a new, healthier community full of dignity and independence.
If solving poverty were easy, it would be done by now. If throwing money at it solved all the world’s problems, it would have been solved decades ago. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. It’s not just the money. It’s the long work - something we have to commit some time to as well as resources. Adoption of this philosophy is the next step or learning curve in making charitable causes really impactful.
The hardest part about this type of compassion is you don’t get the warm fuzzies right away. It’s not an immediate feel-good story. Going into a community to “help” and then leaving after a few weeks or donating shoes once a pair is bought overseas are examples of the “feel good” charity to which we have become accustomed. The problem is that those communities are only getting temporary help and in most cases, that temporary help becomes detrimental to the local economy. What happens when the local shoe factory has no reason to make shoes because an overseas shipment of new shoes is coming? Jobs are lost and poverty remains or deepens.
Commitment to the long-term grants an amazing sense of fulfillment and accomplishment when sustainable change happens in a community, far surpassing any other type of charitable situation. Supporting the backbone of organizations to be on the ground helping create jobs is the new model.
Tom Bassford founded the non-profit, Significant Matters. The organization’s sole purpose is to ”put legs” to the philosophy of creating self-sustaining communities through charitable giving. Instead of providing short-term needs, he is interested in providing for the backbone of charitable organizations supporting the entire infrastructure, thus the whole community. Tom began a conference called SatTalks with like-minded charitable organizations from all over the world. These organizations have firsthand knowledge of how to create self-sustaining communities.
They believe in the power of this philosophy as an agent of real change in charity work in general. We choose to support Significant Matters and this philosophy. On a small scale at Soleran, we believe in and use this philosophy with our clients. We support & train our clients with the skills they need to be self-sufficient on our software. We want our clients to soar with our software. Not be dependent on our Support team. This concept is what drives Significant Matters. Bassford discusses this new charity model in his article, Calculus of Compassion. We are on a journey to find organizations pursuing this kind of charitable self-sustainability, locally and beyond.
Is all immediate/emergency relief bad? The answer is no. Emergency relief has its place and is certainly a major need after a natural disaster, terrorist attack, war, or other unforeseen events. But if those organizations providing emergency relief do not leave, then dependence on the organization may become the unintended result.
Emergency relief is not the same as long-term change. Long-term change is built with the mindset to help for a short period of time and most importantly, to build skills and provide opportunities for jobs in a community. The goal is to build infrastructure and jobs, then leave to let them grow as a community without handouts. We try to think through the economy of impact as an entire lifecycle of transformation.
We love and support these types of charities ourselves. Organizations like this also need help supporting the backbone. We encourage you to look into ways to do the heavy lifting behind the scenes as well to help those organizations make real transformational impact in those particular communities where a sponsor child or family lives.
Great resources to explore and educate yourself on thoughtful giving.
A few of our favorite SaT Talks from non-profit leaders around the world and how their work has impacted the communities they serve.
Poverty Cure’s work in this space is unprecedented. Here are some episode trailers to give you a taste of the work they do.
Mission Statement: Our mission is to advance sustainable solutions to material poverty through the faith-driven community.
What They Do: We do this by working with faith-driven individuals, businesses, churches and other organizations to pursue and promote sustainable and transformative solutions for people and communities fighting poverty and seeking a better future. All as an expression of our love for God and neighbor.
Mission Statement: To walk with the poor and marginalized of the world.
What They Do: Unbound is an international nonprofit that partners with families living in poverty, empowering them to become self-sufficient and fulfill their desired potential. Unbound is currently piloting a Small Business Accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs scale their business by providing a small infusion of capital. Since 2019, Unbound has distributed more than $400,000 to enable these families to grow their emerging business. Families are investing the capital in equipment, new products and new skills so they can provide important goods and services to their local communities.
Mission Statement: To make disciples by serving, sharing life, and sharing Jesus with people from all places.
What They Do: We envision a growing multicultural community of disciples making disciples, where immigrants and others are thriving and using our gifts together to transform our neighborhood and the world for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Mission Statement: Convoy of Hope’s goal is to bring help and hope to those who are impoverished, hungry, and hurting.
What They Do: Convoy of Hope is a faith based, non-profit with a driving passion to feed the world through children’s feeding initiatives, community outreach, and disaster response. In partnership with local churches, businesses, civic organizations, and government agencies, Convoy strategically offers help and hope to communities around the world.
Mission & What They Do: Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mission Statement: Our mission is to follow Jesus where the need is greatest, responding to crisis and partnering with local churches to bring restoration to those living in poverty.
What They Do: We want to see a world restored to how God intended by empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty. We want to equip Christians and churches to take action so that all people can fulfill their God-given potential and live life to the full. In more than 50 years, we’ve helped vast numbers of communities to be transformed. Between 2006 and 2016, we calculated that Tearfund reached 32 million people through our community development projects, and 13 million people benefitted from our disaster response work. We’ve supported people on the brink of disaster to become resilient to shocks, self-sufficient and empowered, boldly speaking up for their rights.
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