Cultivating Public Compassion


Social Entrepreneurs need to be able to tap into Public Compassion for their cause. 

You may have the best solution for a major problem, you may have done all the groundwork to establishing your social entrepreneurial project but unless you are able to harness the public compassion for the cause you will find it very hard to implement change. Your success rests in part on tapping into the public capacity for compassion and strategically contributing to that capacity. As Social Entrepreneurs we need to think about the social environment in which our social entrepreneurship takes place.

Social Entrepreneurship is often about pulling off a complex and challenging social project or program.Today’s problems are so widespread and pervasive that they require public participation in their solutions.

For example, when I talk about the statistics of one child dying every 6 seconds from Malnutrition, I focus on the one child not the statistics. This motivates me to want to be the catalyst for change. What I need to do is connect into the public compassion and help them focus on the one child too otherwise it will just be another statistic for them. Being compassionate, in this case, is not about doing a good or nice thing, it is about life and death.

What is Compassion?

Compassion essentially arises through empathy, and is often characterised through actions, wherein a person acting with compassion will seek to aid those they feel compassionate for. Compassion is a deep awareness of and feeling for others suffering, combined with an active, engaged desire to alleviate it. Compassion is about more than acknowledgment, its about action.

Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody elses skin. — Frederick Buechner

What does this mean for Social Entrepreneurs?

As a social entrepreneur, you must always pursue two interlocking goals:

1. Succeed at your Social Entrepreneurship Project. This goal is first and foremost.

2. Get others to share your compassion. Achieving this goal actually helps you reach the first goal.

You need a broad-based support and resources of compassionate public if you’re going to sustain and succeed in your project.

William Wilberforce, the leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade, said “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” Apathy will always be the hindrance of cultivating compassion. There are always going to be those who will look the other way but at least through our effort to engage, they will know.




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3 thoughts on “Cultivating Public Compassion

  1. Naomi:

    These are just great and a model that everyone should work from. Please continue to send these to me as I share them with Sam and other team members!

    Kindest regards,

  2. Learning the depths of Social Entrepreneurship has
    made me realize many things in my own life. I have been
    taking the wrong approach towards life which took me towards
    the path I never wanted to take in the first place. Beginning
    with the crystal clear clarity about my goals and taking every
    one I know into consideration is the next step I intend to take
    very seriously.

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