The benefits of Osterwalder's Canvas over DAPA Business Plan


The Business Model Canvas facilitates charities to expedite the overwhelming backlog of 4 million DAPA&DACA immigrants

Demand for more Probono/Low-cost Immigration Legal Services

In 2015, more U.S. based religious and social charities began researching how to start their own Immigration Legal Services. However, many have difficulty in understanding the process of setting up these pro bono/low-cost legal programs. A large number of them are motivated to facilitate the many thousands of Cuban refugees rushing to the U.S. borders to obtain permanent residency. They fear imminent ending of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. Moreover, there is still an ongoing demand for pro-bono immigration law expertise. This is to help the many thousands of Latin American children who recently transgressed across the Texas border seeking asylum in the US.

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) Initiative

Further motivation for immediate action stems from the possibility of DAPA being enacted in June 2016. Such action would mean that 3.7 million (MPI estimate) undocumented/illegal immigrants could apply for legal residency in the U.S. In addition to DAPA's enactment, there is the added probability of expanding the eligibility requirements of the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This could increase the eligibility by about 330,000 immigrants. This is according to the Pew Research Center. These developments would result in the requirement to provide pro-bono/low-cost immigration legal services for an additional 4 million people in future years.

Outmoded Business Plan concept

In most cases, immigration charity business plans are used to convince charity board members to the notion of starting an immigration law program. Currently, U.S. based charity funding/grant providers generally request the submission of a business plan before considering the granting of immigration programs with financial aid and support.

Typically, the outmoded business plan for an Immigration Charity Legal Program includes the following 9 sections:

1. Organization profile;

2. Market analysis;

3. Market strategy

4. Services;

5. Operations;

6. Timeline;

7. Policies and procedures manuals;

8. Financial plan;

9. Case mix.

The Business Model Canvas is the radical improvement of the Outmoded Business Plan

Unfortunately, very few of the U.S. funding providers are alert to the superior benefits of using the Business Model Canvas, the brainchild of Dr Alex Osterwalder. In 2004, Dr Alex Osterwalder wrote his PhD thesis “The Business Model Ontology“. Curious for feedback, Dr Osterwalder published his thesis on the Internet. This resulted in many business enthusiasts commenting and sharing his thesis with others online. The positive feedback encouraged him to co-author the Business Model Generation, an international best-seller which sold over 1 million copies in 30 different languages. This guide-book outlined the compelling advantages of the Business Model Canvas over the Business Plan.

The following 9 building blocks of Osterwalder's Canvas assist charity immigration legal programs to adapt/survive on nominal fees and donations:

1. Key partners, such as providers/suppliers from whom the organization sources key resources, or partners with whom the organization collaborates.

2. Key activities, required to deliver the organization services, such as the channels, customer relationships, and revenue streams.

3. Key resources, describing what resources the organization needs to undertake key activities, such as presenting its value proposition and maintaining customer relationships.

4. Value proposition, problems that the organization solves for its customers, what customer needs are satisfied.

5. Customer relationships, what kinds of relationships should the organization maintain with different types of customers, and what do these cost?

6. Channels, what is the best way to reach each customer segment?

7. Customer segments, the most valuable customers to the organization.

8. Cost structure, what are the most important costs, which resources and activities are most expensive?

9. Revenue streams, what will customers pay for? What do they currently pay and to whom?

Resembling a painter’s canvas

Immigration specialists ExecVisa guide the implementation of the Business Model Canvas. The Canvas assists in aligning the charity’s activities by illustrating potential trade-offs. It resembles a painter’s canvas - preformatted with the nine blocks - which allows painting pictures of the charity business model options. The Canvas works best when it is printed on a large surface. This facilitates the charity group to jointly sketch and discuss the business model elements using post-it notes and board markers. It is a hands-on tool that fosters an understanding, discussion, creativity, and analysis. Formal descriptions of the business become the building blocks for its activities.

Easy to view and understand

It is essential to have a business model concept that is understandable in layman’s terms: one that facilitates description and discussion. The charity groups start from the same Canvas block and discuss the same topics. The discipline keeps the concept simple, relevant, and intuitively understandable. It does not over-simplify the complexities of how the charity legal program would function. The Canvas approach allows the charity group to describe and think through the business model.

Conclusion - Far superior Business Model Canvas and guide

With the Business Model Canvas methodology, a much higher success rate is attained. The charity groups implement this Canvas to develop and refine their immigration legal program. A sketched Canvas shows charity leaders and board members that their entity is capable of operating an immigration legal program. This Canvas clearly demonstrates to funders and grant providers that the starting/evolving program submitted is professional and worthy of funding. Moreover, the Canvas allows charity groups to assess the most favorable factors, and identify the least favorable factors, related to proposals for Walk-in/Appointment Systems and Program Evaluations such as Goal-based, Process or Outcomes. Further assistance is provided by the invaluable free guidelines set out in the Immigration Charity E-book. This article is a follow-on to the Canvas series Article 1 and Article 2 - Harvard Business Review.

Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

ExecVisa Experts as your guide - ExecVisa is a team of experienced professionals and partners that advise and guide those seeking visas. They have a network of carefully selected strategic partners plus close ties to accomplish the various tasks. All the documentation you need - ExecVisa develop and compile all the necessary documents and reports required for your submission to the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). The most suitable form of Visa to fit your needs - Most importantly, through the ExecVisa Book (Amazon) and monthly events in various countries ExecVisa equip you with all that is demanded by USCIS’ strict scrutiny. They guide students, graduates, businesses, entrepreneurs and investors in identifying and seeking the most suitable form of visa to their needs. Recognition and accreditation guidelines - ExecVisa also advise and guide social and religious immigration charities in respect of guidelines for recognition and accreditation from the US Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Always on hand to answer your queries - Apart from setting out all the essential steps, ExecVisa are on hand to answer queries for all entities on a plethora of issues from drafting business plans to fund raising activities. Further guidance can be had for grant writing and fund raising activities (as well as philanthropists/grant providers and strategy). Email ExecVisa at

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.