A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to hold an event at OxfordJam. A three day fringe festival, Oxford Jam runs parallel to the Skoll World Forum, ensuring that all the great and the good in the social enterprise sector descend into Oxford for three days of inspiration, making connections, and learning from all the varied work going on. We held one of our quarterly Social Enterprise Spotlight events there; find out more online about Social Enterprise Spotlight, our case-study of nine social entrepreneurs. Employing the skills and expertise of two brilliant RSA Fellows, the event titled Who do you help and how do you know? set out to look at impact measurement from a more human point of view.
It is important to stop and take a moment to remember why we do what we do.
At the session Steve Coles (Director at Intentionality CIC or as we called him, social impact ‘ninja’) gave us five top tips about what to measure when thinking about the impact you make with your social enterprise. You can find his top tips here. He also made the valuable point that in order to fully understand our impact it is important to stop and take a moment to remember why we do what we do. Which leads me to our other speaker at the event and one of the nine RSA Spotlighters, Becky John.
The Big Idea: who makes your pants?
Becky John runs Who made your pants? a Southampton-based campaigning lingerie brand which started in 2008 and is concerned with two things - amazing pants and amazing women. They create jobs for women who've had a hard time, primarily refugees, by producing beautiful underwear from reclaimed materials. We heard Becky speak passionately about the women she helps and the impact they are making, including how one woman has set up her own independent email address without any interference from her family, and another who has decided to stand against tradition and not go through with female genital mutilation for her young daughter.
Many of the things that occur on a daily basis at Who made your pants? are an example of ‘non direct, unintended’ impact, such as their daily lunches together – not something that was planned or originally measured but definitely contributes to the well-being of all the women involved. Becky’s story and desire to help the women she works with is one that may resonate with many social entrepreneurs about why they do what they do. As Becky says on her blog, the reason and idea for Who made your pants?, “came from a passion for equality, a love of pretty underwear and a huge personal change.” Becky’s impact is very clear and her hopes are to continue to positively affect the women she helps and take over the world, “we have come so far since 2008. We want to help more women over the next three years, including making our current team full time and taking on a second team, if not more.”
The reason and idea for Who made your pants? came from a passion for equality, a love of pretty underwear and a huge personal change.
How you can get involved
Who made your pants? has one full time member of staff, Becky, and around ten part time workers (which can change due to the unpredictably of people’s lives). They also have had lots of regular volunteers doing everything from website building to answering the phone and drafting legal contracts. Recently however, a couple of the lynchpins in the organisation have left so Becky is now looking for someone (or some people) to fulfil an office management type role. Becky has written about what she needs so if you are interested, or know someone who might be, you can read about it on her blog. You can find out more about the organisation on the Who made your pants? website and for the Tweeters among us, you can follow her on Twitter @whomadeyour and @beckypants.
More from the Social Entrepreneurs Network
The next Social Entrepreneurs Network event is one of our regular breakfasts held at the RSA House, the last Friday of each month – the next one is Friday 26th April at 9am and will be on social enterprises overseas. You can visit the Social Entrepreneurs Network and find out more online. Our next quarterly event is on 26th June where we’ll be sure to hear more inspiring stories so join the network and hopefully we’ll see you next time.
Sarah Tucker is Fellowship Communications & Events Manager.
You can follow her @SarahTucker10