By Jewel Thompson, Small Business Program Coordinator

Most people create non-profit organizations with similar intentions, to simply do good. However, the desire to do good isn’t enough. In order to achieve the most impact, good works need a strategic basis; a scalable and financially sound model, similar to that of for-profit businesses. As a small business and financial coach, it’s important that I’m able to assess a client’s business model when consulting them. Clients seeking to create non-profit organizations are no different.

When Mide Lawson, founder of Mercy Said No, began her counseling sessions with me, the first thing I asked her to do, was to describe her programs. After which, I learned that she was conducting medical missions trips abroad. I was thrilled to learn this and commended her excellent work ethic — but something was missing. I urged her to consider what I refer to as the “so what” factor. I showed her how to redefine her measures for success, and re-frame her model to accurately define her target market, and implement timelines and secure pivotal partnerships.

Untitled design (20)During the process, she reimagined her business model, and discovered room for it to expand to include domestic efforts. As a result of this realisation, Ms. Lawson readily accepted when an opportunity arose to partner with another medically-focused organization. Last month, she held her first domestic programming, providing medical attention to homeless persons within the city of Atlanta. She strategically involved various doctors, nurses and physician assistants to provide medical check-ups for the homeless to assess their overall wellness. The medical personnel graciously provided both medicine and education on how to monitor their conditions. Needless to say, Ms. Lawson’s program was able to touch numerous individuals in need. She passionately named this effort, Operation Empowerment. Ms. Lawson’s program was so successful that she was invited to continue her impact, increasing the potential for new donors and partners. It’s amazing how one client’s commitment to impact has made such a large difference in the community.

“Hi Jewel,

I want to reach out and inform you that the program you assisted in putting together has been tested and is widely successful. As you know, I have been coordinating medical missions to Africa for sometime now. However, I thought that serving the homeless and underserved communities here in America would be a great way to address local issues that are very much so similar to third-world countries. Thanks to you, this program now a proven success. I am grateful for your insight and advice. Thank you and I cannot wait for our next project.”

– Mide Lawson

Operation HOPE’s Small Business Empowerment Program uplifts underserved neighborhoods by promoting our clients’ success and fueling the creation of jobs within the community. If you would like to utilize Operation HOPE’s free small business resources, please contact your local HOPE Inside office and enroll in a program today.

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