Social entrepreneur Márta Bálint uses an app, Good People Everywhere to show how helping others, donating and connecting can have a positive impact on individuals and communities.
Social entrepreneurship is not a well-known profession in Hungary today. Márta Bálint, the chief operating officer of Good People Everywhere, founded by Hungarians in London, introduced her idea of social entrepreneurship at a university in England years ago.
Márta studied economics because she thought it was the degree she needed to start her own business. After working as a project manager, she was called to become a director of a company in Zurich that specialised in mergers & acquisitions. For almost four years she worked in Switzerland and around the world – writes Privátbankár.
But she was exhausted by the fact that most of the meetings and conferences were all about acquisitions and money, so in the countries where she had been on business she joined various foundations to help on a voluntary basis. She also talked about this activity at company conferences and more and more people started to ask her about it. Many people asked the question, “Working in the world of money, where you have everything, why is this work worth it?”
“That’s exactly why we can give to these people: we have everything,” said Márta Bálint, COO of Good People Everywhere.
Márta Bálint also started working in Hungary and found that foundations in this country had no money for marketing, advertising, and often no money to provide basic health care to people in need. Many volunteers worked in these places out of altruism, others for extremely low wages. In the financial sphere, however, where it used to revolve, many wealthy people had built up influential networks of contacts and saw it as something worth putting to good use. For example, to include in this network of contacts people working in foundations who want to help others.
“Once we wanted to collect gifts for children in a hospital and we managed to collect a lot of toys from almost nothing. One friend told another, word of mouth spread, and in the end, we made hundreds of children very happy.”
Making social innovation sustainable
In Márkamonitor’s podcast, Márta also took time to talk about the founding of the social enterprise CoGoodwill in 2015.
“I came across the concept of social enterprise when I was researching how to set a formal framework for voluntary organisations. In Hungary, it was not such a well-known concept in the early 2010s. I applied for a course in social entrepreneurship at the University of Cambridge. We were learning about social innovation and how this type of enterprise can be sustainable.”
CoGoodwill social enterprise essentially connects people who need help with people and companies who want to help. Of course, you also have to check who they are trying to help and whether the person in need is even prepared to helped to. The company has a team of 5-8 working voluntarily, none of whom are paid.
As Ms. Bálint points out, the donors and the donations have changed over the years. The proportion of clothes for scavenging has decreased, with people donating better quality items. There is a stable relationship with about 200 old, returning donors.
Without CoGoodwill.com, she says, it would be impossible to keep in touch with donors today, and it would be harder for people who want to donate to find the organisation.
The pandemic has brought out the problems that were swept under the carpet
The Social Enterprise’s operations were transformed during the pandemic: personal handovers and visits to institutions were no longer possible, and staff were not allowed to visit temporary family homes. CoGoodwill has carried out research into what happened during Covid.
“The problems that had been swept under the carpet were in many places exposed during the time of the lockdown. Many of the statements show how many relationships ended, how many people were removed from the workforce. In many cases, the hardest-hit have been knocked to the ground by one or more blows, and their mental health has been affected. In addition, the difficult economic situation has led to fewer donations from previously enthusiastic donors. What came in could only be accepted under strict conditions.” But even then, Martha was optimistic.
“No problem without a solution. We just need to look at the problem differently and we will find a solution to the situation,” – said Ms. Bálint.
CoGoodwill and Good People Everywhere, founded by Hungarians in London, found each other under the same goal: to help as many people as possible, while teaching them that helping is good. They’ve also created a special app to do just that. Today, Márta is the Chief Operating Officer of Good People Everywhere, a new social media platform, where she also works to make a positive impact on as many people’s lives as possible.
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