Why is it that so many organizations, seeking to do good in the world, miss opportunities to do so – and indeed sometimes exacerbate the very problem they seek to address? The Business of Doing Good reveals six insights for microfinance and other social purpose organizations using the marketplace to tackle a range of pressing social challenges. To deliver on good intentions, we need to do more than simply deliver ‘good products’, and become organizations designed to do good.
The Business of Doing Good charts the course of one remarkable and profitable social enterprise (AMK) that has, with single-minded purpose, made radical choices and reached deep into rural Cambodia, touching the lives of millions of people living in poverty.
The book also highlights the critical role of the international development charity Concern Worldwide in providing the 'patient capital' that allowed AMK to innovate and respond to clients needs, and in maintaining a focus on AMK's social purpose and avoid the mission drift that has affected so many microfinance organisations.
This is a practical book that aims sets out important questions for the microfinance practitioners, social entrepreneurs, businesses, impact investors, philanthropists, and students of international development and business.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
"This is an uplifting, hugely insightful read with key lessons for all of us. How to deliver societal as well as economic value is a challenge faced by big business, social enterprise and voluntary sector organisations like Concern and Oxfam alike. The blurring of our organisational boundaries has led to exciting innovation in this space that we all need to analyse more. Through the open telling of one Cambodian organisation's story, it's successes, failures and the lives it's touched. It's a story of learning, innovation, resilience and the simplicity and importance we often forget of people connecting with people. Organisations like Concern and Oxfam support and learn from many local partner organisations like AMK. We all share the ambition that local organisations will become self sustaining, dynamic contributors to overcoming poverty at national scale in poorer countries, but there are very few success stories of social enterprise at scale. Here is one."
Penny Lawrence, Deputy Chief Executive, Oxfam GB
"Anyone who thinks too much of the discussion about social impact is theoretical - read this!"
Tris Lumley, Director of Development, New Philanthropy Capital
"For funders, investors and donors, The Business of Doing Good is a must-read. In its granular portrayal of a value-laden, client-focused microfinance institution, the book asks us to re-evaluate and re-dedicate ourselves to designing funding mechanisms that strategically favor and fund the social enterprises which love their clients first and care for their investors second. This book calls us to be the kind of engaged, thoughtful, mission-focused bankers, accountants, investors, lawyers, analysts and auditors the world deserves."
Jonathan C. Lewis, Founder/Chair, MCE Social Capital & Opportunity Collaboration
“A lucid and thought-provoking account of how things actually work in the field, based on the history and experience of AMK in Cambodia. It should become a well-thumbed staple for many of us working in social investment generally and microfinance especially.”
David Woods, Managing Director, Oikocredit International
"Anton Simanowitz and Katherine Knotts have made an important and practical contribution to the discussion about how social enterprise and inclusive business can be more client-centered and contribute the most to the battle to end global poverty by 2030. By rigorously focusing on the critical issues related to client-centricity in a microfinance institution that has been off the radar of many industry observers, they provide a fresh and practical guide that will shape theory and practice for years to come."
Alex Counts, President, Grameen Foundation
"The story of how something happens is endlessly fascinating to restless change agents. In this important new book, readers have the opportunity to dive deep into a successful social enterprise and distill important lessons for a range of future impact investments."
Susan Davis, President & CEO, BRAC USA
"Based on the journey of one remarkable institution, the authors of "The Business of Doing Good" suggest six lessons on how to align an entire organization behind its social value aspirations. These lessons are a worthwhile read for anyone interested in what organizations need to do to sustainably improve the well-being of poor families in the context of market-based development."
Tilman Ehrbeck. CEO, CGAP (World Bank)
Order the book>