- Compassion International Blog - http://blog.compassion.com -

Our Business Model Is Out of Date. Help Us Innovate.

business model innovation At the end of April, Compassion held an “innovation summit” in Colorado Springs. More than 100 people from multiple areas within the organization attended the two-day event.

One of the speakers was David Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group. At the end of his presentation David bluntly told everyone assembled that Compassion’s business model is out of date.

He didn’t suggest it. He declared it. As fact. “Your business model is out of date.”

He didn’t say it might happen in the future. He said it’s here.

He didn’t position it as his opinion to consider. He delivered this “truth” directly, firmly and respectfully. It was refreshing.

A month later, Jon Dale, of Dale Interactive Group, told me the same thing over lunch.

In our highly connected digital world the technology exists for you to speak directly to your sponsored children, via Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc.. So the idea of developing a meaningful, one-to-one, cross-cultural relationship via handwritten letters that can take up to three months to travel in one direction and another few months to travel back is outdated.

There are reasons [3] we don’t yet offer you the ability to communicate directly with your sponsored children via social media. And there are reasons [4] we ask that you don’t accept or initiate friend requests with your sponsored children via social media.

But we know that we must replace our antiquated communication process with one that offers you compelling ways to communicate with your sponsored children. We know that we can’t wait any longer to do this.

However, it’s not just the communication process we need to address. We also have to carefully consider what one-to-one child sponsorship [5] should look like in the digital world. How can we use the tools of technology to make your participation in the development of these children more than just financial support and writing letters?

Although we’re not a sponsor-focused organization — we’re child focused — or a sponsor development organization, we know that “we” don’t exist without “you.” We can’t succeed without God’s blessing and your support.

What do you think about what I’ve said? Do you agree with David and Jon … and me? What do you think Compassion needs to do or consider when redefining what child sponsorship delivers to you?

Now is the time to share your opinions, particularly if you don’t normally comment. As our leadership team begins to answer these questions, it’s better that they know what you think rather than make assumptions about what you think.