A social enterprise is set up as a business, not a charity. Where most businesses have profits that go into the pockets of the owners or shareholders, a Social Enterprise puts all profits back into the business to do things that benefit society.
The IndividualiTree operates as a Social Enterprise. Once our costs are covered all money is put towards assisting people with disability in ways that are either not covered by the NDIS – or are not able to be covered by their current plan. Work like this that is unpaid is called ‘pro bono’.
Since our official start up in July 2016, as a company we have committed 1000s of hours of assistance to people who were not able to pay us. Now we have grown and have a team of staff, The IndividualiTree now actively funds staff hours for this kind of work, covered by the small amount of profit we make.
We would dearly love to put this funding towards projects that help people connect to each other and build community. Sadly at the moment we can’t do that as the most important thing people need help with is getting access to proper funding through their NDIS plans. We sincerely hope that the NDIS does become something that funds people properly, and that people don’t have to fight to have their needs met as often as they do now.
In some cases our pro bono work has been with people who should have been funded properly from the beginning. We’re a bit cross that the NDIS didn’t fund them properly and that there are no services funded to fill the gaps when funding is inadequate. We will continue to strongly advocate for the NDIS to be better and particularly advocate for the needs of country people and those in remote areas. Our founder spends many hours a week on this ‘systemic advocacy’ and we have a clear understanding of who in the NDIS might get the best results for the people we support. We will never be able to be paid from NDIS plans for advocacy work and we will always continue to advocate strongly for the rights of people with disability.
We can’t wait for the day that plans are funded properly across the board. Then we can turn our funds towards beautiful things, instead of fighting as much for justice.