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Run a Charity Like You Run a Business

The tenets of Biz 101 still apply, even if it's non-profit.

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This story appears in the April 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
Running a Charity Like You Run a Business

The Smile Train, founded in 1999 by Brian Mullaney, 49, and Charles Wang, 64, operates a little differently than your average charity. The difference is that Mullaney runs the nonprofit organization--which is making enormous strides in eliminating cleft lip and cleft palate among children in developing countries--like a for-profit enterprise and draws on his former experience in the corporate world to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. "We pay market salaries," he says. "Employees get bonuses and raises based on performance, and if a program doesn't work, we shut it down. We monitor results. We hold people accountable. We drastically reduce the cost of each surgery by training local doctors instead of flying in American doctors. It's just Business 101."

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