"You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me." Acts 20:34
In the book of Acts of the Apostles, Paul states, "these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs." He is clearly not talking about asking for handouts. However, asking for handouts is how most charities function. The current model works like this, identify a problem, propose the solution, ask for money to employ the proposed solution to solve the problem.
Similarities do exist in for-profit and non-profit models, especially in the start-up phase. In a for-profit business, the entrepreneur's goal is to take money out of the business at some point in time. This occurs once the business has created enough cashflow. Until then the leadership keeps re-investing the money in the business to create growth. In a non-profit, the founders/investors do not take any money out, except for salaries for paid staff members and overhead costs. They keep re-investing in the business to create growth. Running both business start-ups is the same at the beginning.
How does a non-profit keep the lights on? If they are not creating anything of value to sell in the market they must keep asking donors to donate money, time, and experience. Donor is just another word for investor, but one that does not expect any return on investment. There must also be buy-in from those being served by the non-profit. Otherwise there will be financial meltdown at some point.
For some reason there is a stigma around making money. But Paul shows us there should be no shame or stigma with "these hands." So instead of asking for donations, non-profits should be creating something of value to add to the market place. Of course, donations should still be welcomed but relying on passive donors to keep the non-profit business afloat is not sustainable.
Creating something of value that the beneficiary can use for a lifetime is what Anastasia Smiles has done. With "these hands" the founders and friends created something of value. Money raised from the purchase of items will be used for spreading the Gospel. The biggest obstacle is visibility. There is not enough awareness, not enough folks know that Anastasia Smiles exists.
By selling T-shirts and other gear, NationsU creates even more value in the market while raising awareness. We ask that you purchase a T-shirt today for yourself or for someone you know who will wear the shirt. Help us raise awareness today!
Author, Jon-Roy Sloan