NGOs & Social Enterprises: Strategic marketing channels for business. Access “door” to low income markets.


NGOs are still perceived as those players that need and ask money from governments and businesses in order to achieve social missions. Still, the recent crisis reduced consistently the number of NGOs from the market as a result of governments and businesses bankruptcy or failures from all around the globe.

In the last 4 years, more and more derivative forms of NGOs, of economic entities placed between profit and non-profit started to appear as a result of social-business wave.

Fundamentally, the social business model says that ideally NGOs should start also to perform related to “producing money and resources” and not only to “spending money and resources” as obviously too many resources hadn’t been spent in an efficient way and hadn’t followed articulated medium and long term visions.

India, for example is the No 1 “player” when it comes to number of NGOs. Some statistics show that there are 1 NGO at 400 people, meaning that in some regions there are more NGOs than schools and healthcare units.

At a global level, statistics show that NGO market is the 8th market in the world related to the volume of money that are injected in NGOs from all around the globe through business funds, governmental funds, crowd funding and so on.

Paradoxically, world’s problems are never ending but on the contrary they keep following growing trends.

So what goes so wrong?

The answer to this question is a matter of complex analysis and has no sense here as most of us already understand very well the problems that our world faces and the lack of vision at leadership and macro level.

Still, from another perspective statistics show that over 80% of the global population lives with less than $10 a day and from this per cent a majority lives with less than $2 a day.

So the market of poor is “endless”. Imagine selling $1 products on such markets (like cheap mobile, cheap medical devices, etc). It’s not a random fact that many businesses focus on such markets.

I would like to put in perspective a different business approach of marketing strategies: perceiving NGOs as business potential partners, potential distribution channels for accessing various markets and their low income end users (for certain products and services like cheap mobile, cheap medical devices, etc).

Many NGOs have a very good control and clear view of their grass roots jurisdictions, of the communities they serve and of their status, needs and problems. On the other hand they also need funds to continue their missions.

NGOs and social enterprises may be taken into account as distribution channels to low income markets. Strategic business alliances can me done with NGOs and social enterprises for introducing various cheap products and services on low income markets. The need of products and services is mutual.

It is unconventional approach and maybe even borderline if watched with a too critical eye but we live borderline and unconventional times when all interests emerge and all players’ missions (whether they are individual, non-profit, profit or politics) have one major purpose in common: surviving.

The idea is that on the background of politics failure, instability and lack of legitimacy, stronger collaborations between businesses and NGOs might prove to be a more successful formula for all sides in the fight of overcoming poverty and unemployment, of better solving social and business core issues.