Nonprofit Brand Development Through Focus on Mission
In order to continue to build your brand, you must be flexible and adaptable with your solution, with a constant focus on whom you serve. OneSight has been fortunate in that we have always been committed to improving vision. Our purpose is very clear (pun intended); we know how big the problem is and where it is, and we know it can be solved.
The truth is that OneSight could have been content with exclusively leading charitable clinics well into the future. We were giving a free pair of glasses to those who needed it. Clinic participants had fantastic experiences. Wherever we went, they wanted us to come back.
But we started asking questions about the impact we were having. We knew that what you do is very different from why you do it and from the impact you want to have. We realized that we wanted to have a more permanent impact. Through a lot of introspection and discussion, we aligned on solving a global problem.
We aligned to a vision of a world where access to vision care is no longer a barrier to human achievement and possibility. That our purpose — and the impact that we wanted to have — was to fuel people’s potential by helping them see clearly.
This shift gave us the opportunity to assess every aspect of the organization for alignment to that purpose and desired impact. We realized that we had to pivot the entire brand. We had to be flexible and adapt. We had to innovate in a very broad sense.
There are three areas that we have evolved significantly in just the last few years:
We started by recycling old glasses. We changed the entire charitable model to an experience where every recipient gets a brand new pair of glasses in their exact prescription — and more than 90% of them get their glasses that day. They don’t have to travel over sometimes immense distances to come back and pick them up. This, in turn, dialed up the strength of the stories that could be told by every clinic participant in future fundraising and marketing for OneSight.
We are also using higher-tech and increasingly accurate doctor exam equipment that can be carried rather than shipped. The stories get even stronger.
2. New solutions
We had to create models that provided permanent access. So we integrated vision centers with local hospitals. We showed them how to get high quality, stylish frames inexpensively. We even built some labs that could make the glasses in-country if the vision center couldn’t serve the recipient on the spot.
We signed a new Memorandum of Understanding in The Gambia transferring oversight of seven vision centers and 1 lab to the government, providing access to 2.2 million people whenever they need it. Five years ago, the country only had one optometrist.
We realized that we couldn’t do it alone. Other nonprofits are doing really good work in other parts of the world. We are now working with other leading nonprofits (and even some for-profits) to provide access as economically as possible. Instead of competing, we’re collaborating to build on each other’s’ strengths, so we can solve the problem together.
Along the way, we have built communication vehicles to guide all our stakeholders through the new vision of our global impact and the opportunities they have to not only fund, but also be directly involved by participating in a clinic. We have built social media and IT platforms to share impact successes, along with the ability to share them real-time, so a stakeholder can see the impact of their donation in real-time.
Michael “Mike” Smith joined OneSight as the senior director of product supply and logistics in 2015. Since taking on this role, he has built a lean global supply chain for supplying low-cost eyewear for charitable clinics and sustainable vision centers — including the implementation of three government-owned manufacturing labs in Africa, revamping OneSight’s frame and lens strategy, and establishing a groundbreaking integrated real-time global clinic operations IT platform.
Previously, he served as AVP at Luxottica Optical Manufacturing for 11 years, where he pioneered the role of brand liaison for all Luxottica optical brands and led strategy and project management office functions. Prior to Luxottica Optical Manufacturing, Mike served as AVP at LensCrafters for 11 years, where he was responsible for overall quality, manufacturing and safety, as well as acquisition assimilation.
Mike joined LensCrafters from The Cumberland Group, a consulting firm which he and a small team founded to deliver quality and productivity improvement products to NASA and major contractors in aerospace and defense.
Further, Mike has served on the board of the Cincinnati Astronomical Society and remains active as a Boy Scout merit badge counselor and event supervisor for the annual Science Olympiad competition. He holds an MBA in Finance from Xavier University and graduated from the University of Wisconsin.