Corpus Christi, Texas—Mission of Mercy provides free healthcare and prescription medications to the uninsured or under-insured of Corpus Christi, Texas. The nonprofit organization currently serves 2,300 patients every year, and does so without any federal funding.
Patty Clark, executive director, had no experience in the nonprofit sector at the time of her hiring. Her boss assured her that she would "grab a few grants along the way, and be just fine."
But Clark wasn't fine, nor was Mission of Mercy's fundraising program.
"I was floundering after six months," Clark recalls.
Clark was asked to attend a three-day executive director's workshop in Arizona, which she admittedly went into with a closed mind. She began paying attention, however, when the workshop leader led a clinic tour.
"The tour was beautifully done, and I thought, 'Huh, now that's a good idea,'" Clark says. "It was like someone had opened the door to the light a little bit, and it was that easy to see—there was the road map."
Clark immediately instituted Point of Entry tours in Corpus Christi, and then signed on with Benevon. She and her team hosted their first Ask Event, which had 286 attendees and raised $235,000.
Like many that work with Benevon, Clark struggled with her team. At the 201 training session, Clark realized that even though the Ask Event had been successful, her team had not correctly followed the model.
"They filled tables with random people. Very few had attended a Point of Entry. They fell back into the old, 'This is my event, come to mine and I'll come to yours,' so the room was full of 'unripened fruit,'" she says.
After a second Ask Event went much the same way, Clark assembled a new team, and they attended Benevon 201 again.
"I told them, 'We have to follow the model even if it doesn't feel intuitive, otherwise we won't know where we went off track.'"
Clark's decision to form a new team proved prudent; she now has a team on which she can rely.
"You have to kind of build a community within a community," she explains. "This is a good team."
Mission of Mercy's third Ask Event had 430 people, and Clark happily reports that Table Captains at that event followed proper procedure when inviting guests. The event raised $220,000.
Clark and her team have begun to see Ambassadors naturally emerge out of the woodwork. One woman recently gave Clark two hours of her time, offering the names of potential donors. Ambassadors help to ensure that "people connect to Mission of Mercy in a whole bunch of ways."
Clark remains committed to the Benevon Model. The reason, she says, is the predictability that the model provides her.
"We're seeing more and more that grants are drying up. The only way to get sustainability is through individuals. I can't rely on grants long term, but this model is a roadmap I can rely on. It's all there. I don't have to ask what to do next, I know what to do next."
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