Partnerships are crucial to solving problems, especially in the charity sector

Friend or Foe

This week we are talking about competitors.
In a social venture context, this is a hard one to define. In business, competitors are your biggest battle. As the old phrase goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Many people think this way in the corporate world, keeping a watchful eye on the moves of their rival.
In the charity world, we should see competitors as a good thing! Why? Because essentially, anyone who works on the same issue as you, is also working to end the problem. The more people working on it, theoretically, the faster it is solved. Someone once said, the goal of a charity is to work yourself out of a job. Humbling and yet so true.
It must be exciting for people working on issues like polio, where the world is a few years away from seeing it completely eradicated! We don’t often get to see problems solved in such a final way. But it does happen and we must see this hope!
Last week, we saw our first New Zealand competitor for period underwear. It was a shame to see someone beat us to it but reminded us of a few really cool things.
1. Our goal has never been only to serve Kiwis. Ouch to the patriotic souls reading this. YES, period poverty does exist in Aotearoa. And YES, there are systemic issues here, but it has never been our heart to begin here.
2. We are watching our new competitor and how the market will respond. This will save us tonnes of money, and give us a sense of what the demand is like.
3. We are inspired by people who are bold regardless of who already exists in the market. How on earth did Allbirds convince us that sheep shoes are cooler than a pair of Nikes? It’s not like the footwear market didn’t have enough competitors to begin with! Or take a look at charity : water, the hippest charity to come to town in recent years - clean water isn't a new concept and plenty of organisations have already been building wells and establishing clean water centuries before them.
If a problem ain’t solved, we got work team.
Our work just may look a little different. It might require some more creative thinking and a few more savvy minds. It will certainly push us more, and that’s never a bad thing! If all these things help us to be better, we are so for it.
Got an idea? Hit reply to this email, because we LOVE new ideas. We thrive off them. Ash eats them for breakfast.
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