Nonprofit, that is…

One of the things that inspires me… that keeps me going when I’m feeling like everything that’s worth doing has been done… is mixing it up with social innovators. I love to hear about new ideas and new approaches. If there’s a good war story thrown in there about failure or success, then, hey – I’m all ears.

Social innovators are people who believe they will make something better through what they do. Whether it’s offering a service that helps with the daily grind, or by building a new product that could solve a social ill, social innovators are inquisitive and like to help. Help each other, help strangers, help people through their work.

These folks range from entrepreneurs, filmmakers, photographers, founders, inventors, coaches and consultants. I do encounter quite a few folks who see something they want to change and they jump in and start doing it. Sometimes they self-finance, set up their own foundation to support their work, or just get crackin’ and figure the money will sort itself out along the way.

One of the questions I get from social innovators is whether the nonprofit sector is the right place for them and if they should set up a nonprofit.

To help determine whether setting up a nonprofit is a good fit, there are two things you need to know about running a nonprofit.

  1. A nonprofit is governed by consensus management.

    set up a nonprofitSo what does that mean to you as someone who is weighing and measuring the pluses and minuses of building a nonprofit? It means time.

    It takes time to get people oriented and moving in one direction. It takes time to educate potential volunteers and board members on what you’re doing and how they can help make a difference. It takes time to manage people and to actually create consensus – and yes, you have to have consensus about what consensus means in your cause.

    Whether you have a board of 3 or 30, plan on significant time spent in this area – it is not “in addition” to your mission, but central to it.

  2. A nonprofit has an additional revenue stream that can be developed.

set up a nonprofitAll organizations, whether they are for-profit, governments, or nonprofits need revenue (resources) in order to do what they do.

If you were a government organization, you would develop your tax revenues. A for-profit lives and dies by its earned revenues. You have a unique opportunity as a nonprofit to develop your contributed revenue.

Yep – that means building your fundraising capacity and skills. Whether that is grant-writing,  campaigning, events, face-to-face requests – contributed revenue means the difference between staying in business and achieving your mission or folding up your cards and going home.

Setting up a nonprofit organization that is successful is as all-encompassing as setting up your own business. There is more than doing the “work” of the business. There’s also the “work” of setting up and maintaining the structure so the work can get done.

Being able to project the time needed to build and manage consensus can save you months of frustration. Knowing that – if you build your fundraising capacity early as a nonprofit, you are building a rock-solid foundation for achieving your mission – makes the difference between a hope and a plan.

Taking these two nonprofit characteristics into consideration helps to determine if the nonprofit structure is the right match for your social innovation. There are many ways you can have an impact. Setting up a nonprofit is just one.

set up a nonprofit

Recommended Posts
10 comments
Richard Leken Sulumet
Richard Leken Sulumet

I like the way of this sector, due it tell us how to step on. we are very poor in fundraising and our orphans Children Centre are aurgenly needs to build the School for orphans and Children vulnerable Children and we requested all those who have the help hearts, a person with expirience for fundsraing to Help us. we really do not know what to do. we are still continue to anounce to anyone who is interesting to help.

Heidi Hancock
Heidi Hancock

Hi Richard! It sounds like you have your hands full! To get you started on the path to effective fundraising, you might be interested in signing up for our free fundraising accelerator course here: http://mosaicnpd.com/fundraising-accelerator/. This course will help you build the foundation for your fundraising and help you find and connect with the people who will support your cause. Keep up the good work. Wishing you all the best!

wyclef
wyclef

i like the way the words have been put toegther, and yes in this sector a lot can be done in this sector producing positive impacts, looking at it as a person with expirience in the for profit schemes its people like Ann and Westone i love working with these kind of people who have a drive with a big mission

Anne Baraza
Anne Baraza

For sure this is what I love. Am poor at fundraising and am interested in getting tips to do this. We need to purchase land at the end of the year and put up the school,Children of Africa Hope Mission that is currently operating from a rented property and this is a tall order for us. How do we come up with viable strategies?We dont have vuable fundraising plans at the moment,can you team up with us to give us fundraising tips? Grant making isnt the easiest way out as we jad hoped. Tips are what we seriuosly need Heidi,thanks

Heidi Hancock
Heidi Hancock

Hi Anne! I completely understand what you mean by "tall order" for raising the money you need to purchase land and then build the school. And you are absolutely on the right track by focusing on building your fundraising plan. It is such a relief to have a funding "road map," your plan, that will guide you to your goal. I recommend that you build your plan first - you will get more effect from a solid plan than from a collection of fundraising tips. Tips and pointers are great for refining and improving your fundraising, but without a plan to guide you the risk of chasing funds and becoming spread too thin following the "next great fundraising idea." With a plan to guide you, you will actually see results faster. And who has time to waste when your cause needs funds to reach its mission? If you need to build a rock-solid fundraising plan that fits your cause's needs, budget, and timeframe, you might check out our webinar series, "Nonprofit Treasure Map." This 3-webinar package walks you through everything you need to build you own high-functioning fundraising process. You get all of the forms to build your plan whether you are an individual working on your fundraising action plan or if you are coordinating a plan that involves staff, board members and volunteers - your whole organization - in the fundraising process. Nonprofit Treasure Map takes you behind the scenes with fundraising activities so you know what to do that will give you the "best bang for your buck," and the money you need for your cause. No more guessing what to do and hoping it will work! Whether you are looking to improve the results of your current fundraising or building a whole new approach, Nonprofit Treasure Map gives you all the strategies you need to make a big difference for your cause - with a plan that works! You can check out Nonprofit Treasure Map here: http://mosaicnpd.com/mosaic-npd-store/nonprofit-treasure-map/ Keep up the great work!

WINSTON EBOY
WINSTON EBOY

A great insight Mrs. Heidi this has been like a propeller to a starter like me in the world of non profit. Hoping to hear from you soon via email concerning my comment on your LinkedIn discussion.

Anne Baraza
Anne Baraza

Heidi, this is great. I hope to work hand in hand with you for our NGO. This is the way forward for up coming NGOs.

Heidi Hancock
Heidi Hancock

Thanks Anne! Building a nonprofit is an all-consuming labor. It might as well be a labor you love.

Zafar Iqbal
Zafar Iqbal

Great writing, really supportive for me.

Heidi Hancock
Heidi Hancock

Thanks Zafar! You've certainly been innovative with the NGO World! :)