What if Your Orphans Had a Choice, Would They Choose You?
If the orphans or the poor people you take care of had a choice, would they choose you and your organization?
Use your imagination with me:
Imagine that your orphans have all the financial resources that you have and can make purchasing choices themselves. All the money that your charity gains from fundraising is somehow miraculously earned as wages by your orphans or endowed to them by family so that it’s their own money and they can make purchasing decisions with it. Imagine that you are a business owner who provides a service to meet a need that they have. Also imagine that you have competition from other companies that are vying for the business of these orphans who have money in their pockets and are willing to spend it. At this point, you have no financial control and power over the orphans. They are the boss and will vote with their money if you stay in business or not; whether you win or lose to your competition.
Then ask yourself:
- Is the service you are offering great enough for them to choose you over competition?
- What do you think is your competitive advantage?
- What core capabilities do you have that you think will enable you to win?
- What is your winning strategy?
- Do you think that an honest group of judges that judge solely on the basis of excellence of service (both physically, emotionally and mentally, socially, and spiritually) would say that you would win over the competition?
- What core capabilities (skills, competencies, expertise, experience, etc.) do you have that will convince these judges that you will win?
- What structures and systems do you now have or are capable of building that should convince the judges to vote for you?
I think this is a good exercise for all of us to have.
If the children–armed with money and the ability to make good decisions for themselves as to what business to purchase from–cannot choose your services, then it’s possible that a key reason they choose you now is because you are able to raise the money and they can’t. They have no other choice. If they could, they wouldn’t choose you.
You are also in business solely because orphans don’t have direct contact with the donors. In that case, they will have the money and make the decisions to get service from a better provider.
You also stay open because the money that is there to be made is not open to other businesses for competition.
It also means that a reason you are in business is that you can raise more money than other nonprofits that might provide a better service than you do. You have no competition because you have access to money when others can’t.
I think if God is to bless us in the market place, he will often do so by enabling us to create an innovative product that meets the people’s needs better than the competition. He will not disempower the consumers or blind them so that they choose from us at their own peril without knowing that we offer low quality service. God is interested in the consumers receiving the best service possible. We see this in the case of Joseph and Daniel in the Bible. They were so good that their competition couldn’t match their talent. God didn’t favor them by simply making the kings they served drunk so that they preferred a mediocre service over better one from others. No! God blessed them by actually helping make their service of superior quality.
If God blesses us to serve orphans, it wouldn’t be by giving us control over money. It would be by giving us the talents and wisdom to provide service to orphans that cannot be matched. That is a scenario in which God shows love both to the orphan and the orphan care worker.
[Tweet “If God calls us to serve, he will give us talents and wisdom that wows in that area.”]
Billions of dollars have been pumped into alleviating poverty. I think that if somehow orphans had that purchasing power, many for-profit businesses would have cropped up that create products and services that meet the needs of the poor much better than many of our nonprofits do.
*** In using this scenario, I realize that orphans don’t have the capacity to make good decisions. I think that can be ignored in this case because some studies say about 90% of orphans have relatives. Besides, I don’t think anyone starts a nonprofit because they want to help orphans pick better options from among many competing choices. There a ways that local people can be encouraged to do this. They don’t often do it because they don’t control the resources.