Despite scepticism over the concepts of philanthrocapitalism and venture philanthropy, there are things that social investors can learn from business. One problem with some of the manifestations of ‘business-oriented philanthropy’, to use a catch-all term, is that they have adopted the wrong business principles. They have tried to import the whole business model when they should have been looking far more closely at its internal processes. This is probably because the proponents of the business-oriented philanthropy model come from service industries — IT, banking and finance — rather than more ‘traditional’ areas where operational processes are, perhaps, better understood. If you just think about the major positive social changes in Western society that have occurred in the last 100 years or so, votes for women, the civil rights movement in the United States, the environmental movement today, none of them were driven by market forces or organised just like businesses.
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