Acronyms in the business world have become the modern entrepreneur’s second language and one leader in franchising is hoping “PDO” (Purpose-Driven Organization) will become just as universal. By Rochelle Miller

From CEO to IPO, acronyms in the business world have become the modern entrepreneur’s second language. One leader in franchising is hoping “PDO” (Purpose-Driven Organization) will become just as universal in business jargon.

“If we’re going to make a change in the world, we have to give back,” explains Alesia Visconti, CEO and President of FranServe, Inc., the world’s largest franchise consulting and expansion organization. “You have to have a greater purpose than your immediate business.”

To achieve her goal of elevating FranServe to a true PDO, Visconti established Fran-Aid, a global charitable initiative. FranServe, Inc. has donated nearly $50,000 to various organizations since its inception last year.

Several of the charities selected by Fran-Aid lend support to our nation’s veterans. FranServe donated $10,000 to VetFran, a program of the International Franchise Association that supports entrepreneurial veterans seeking to own franchises. FranServe also gave $20,000 to Freedom Service Dogs of America, an organization that gifts service dogs to disabled veterans and children with autism. As a group that comprises 14% of the nation’s franchise owners, veterans are certainly near and dear to FranServe.

The generosity of FranServe extends far beyond the world of franchising. Among other donations was a $10,000 contribution to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which supports research to find a cure for breast cancer. Most recently, FranServe acted to help animals suffering from devastating brush and forest fires in Australia. WIRES, the continent’s largest wildlife rescue organization, was the recipient of a $5,000 FranServe donation just this year.

Helping others is part of the job for any professional involved in franchising, so Visconti believes there is great potential to make a significant impact. “The relationship between the community and the franchising world has always been to give back. Look at what we do… We change people’s lives to fulfill their dreams of being self-employed.”

The impact of those dreams doesn’t stop with the franchise owner, Visconti points out, since a new business not only benefits the franchisee but also creates jobs in the community, which generates revenue in the local economy. It extends even further when businesses start giving back to those in need within the community and beyond.

Visconti is hoping to set a trend among entrepreneurs to look beyond the bottom line. “As business owners, everybody’s looking at their P&L, and that’s normal,” she said. “But I hope the concept of Fran-Aid spurs others to go deeper and seek out opportunities to give back.”

While she acknowledges that not all businesses are able to contribute as much as they might wish to, Visconti encourages all businesses to start small – every bit counts. “If you don’t have $5,000 to donate, but you have $500, that helps. So does $50. Sometimes, businesses think unless they can do something on a grand scale, it doesn’t help,” said Visconti, who added that nothing can be further from the truth. “You’ve got to have a higher purpose in life. It really is the passion that moves people forward.”

For more information about FranServe and Fran-Aid, visit

To make a donation or find out more about the charities listed in this article, visit the following websites:

Freedom Service Dogs of America:


Susan G. Komen for the Cure:


– Rochelle Miller