17 December 2007
On December 6, 2007, the first International Social Franchise Summit organized by the Association of German Foundations and its partners (Compagnia di San Paolo, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, Fritz Thyssen Foundation, Vodafone Foundation, ZEIT-Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius, Foundation Fritt Ord) brought together 190 participants from 19 countries in Berlin. On the occasion of the conference, Ms. Constanze Westervoss, Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships, met with high level decision makers of foundations, other non-profit organisations, donor institutions and CSR programmes presented insights, and a number of workshops provided both practical guidelines and fora for discussion. The Summit also featured the German Award Ceremony for the Social Entrepreneur 2007 of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. A comprehensive English manual containing know-how, relevant literature, case studies as well as practical guidance was presented, and can be accessed shortly at the following link.
With the project "Social Franchise" the Association of German Foundations in cooperation with its partners aims at promoting and popularizing the method of scaling-up development efforts through social franchising, and thereby leveraging the potential of using techniques of commercial franchising for achieving social goals. As Dr. Hans Fleisch, Secretary General of the Association of German Foundations affirms, “the non-profit sector could avoid reinventing the wheel again and again if it would be willing to learn from commerce”. In addition, business still acts too cautious, thinks Dr. Fleisch. “If the commercial sector was as sharp concerning social engagement as it is when it comes to making money, it could help a lot of people in the fight against poverty, diseases and environmental pollution.”
Franchising has been a successful strategy of the corporate world for many decades, enabling the systematic replication of a tested solution both rapidly and without loss of quality. Through continuous co-operation between the franchisor and the franchisees and ensuing alignments to local conditions, social franchising becomes an intelligent, self-learning system. Nevertheless, although a range of successful social franchise projects can be recorded throughout the world, the systematic replication of successful projects in the non-profit sector remains an exception to the rule. Non-profit franchising enables a faster expansion of services, tested in successful pilot projects, while making more efficient use of financial and personnel resources as well as improving quality and decreasing the risk of failure amongst non-profit programmes.