A friend recently asked me, “There are so many great organizations out there. What really is the difference with HOPE?”
I paused before responding. I didn’t like his question because it felt like he was looking for me to talk about HOPE’s competitive advantage in relation to other organizations. When comparing ourselves with other causes or other organizations, we all lose.
I see our competition not with other organizations who share a common mission, but rather with the many other causes that capture our time and attention. If we got as excited about healing and wholeness and missions as we did about professional sports and pet food and ice cream, then we’d have the resources to massively change the philanthropic landscape.
But what he was really asking was our value proposition. What is it that makes me passionate about our cause?
Here are some of the things that resonate with my head, heart, and soul.
- Head. The business impact.
- Sustainability/Scale. Due to HOPE’s methodology, eight microfinance institutions in our Network are fully covering local costs. Profit enables HOPE to grow and means we don’t have to raise funds to do the same programs year after year. We are able to serve more and more families and dream big.
- A Job is Better than a Handout. Handouts have never caused a country to escape poverty. Only jobs do that. It makes sense to me that job creation requires investment – and HOPE has the privilege of being investors for over 500,000 families.
2. Heart. The personal impact.
- Individuals Matter. Having lived in several countries and spent significant time traveling to these places, I’ve met the people we serve. When you see lives changed, you simply cannot leave without desiring to do more. Stories like Fadzai’s are happening. This is not hypothetical.
3. Soul. The eternal impact.
- The Power of the Local Church. HOPE’s savings programs equip the local Church to serve their communities with biblically based business training and financial services. While not our primary motivator, lower costs result from partnering with the Church. It’s good stewardship. See video of our church-based savings program in Rwanda.
- Missionary Staff: We are able to recruit a team of fulltime missionaries who serve as loan officers and solve problems in local communities. Over 1,200 staff members interact with families every day. We operate on a far smaller budget than the traditional “sending” model and equip the local body of Christ to serve their communities.
It is a joy to serve with an organization that is actively sharing the love of Christ and helping individuals work their way out of poverty.