It's been very inspirational meeting the participants in our classes who are passionate about their vision, whether it's to assist the homeless, bring music to school-aged kids, clean up the environment, or work with animals. Each of them has found that thing that drives them. That is why many have attended the MAPs training, hoping to learn the skills it takes to find funding to support their vision. And as we have stated in the workshops, there are a few things to be clarified before a person with a passion and vision might want to jump into the non-profit world. Here are three vitally important questions to answer that will help determine whether to start a non-profit or a for profit endeavor:
Who benefits from what the business offers?
Non Profit: the community or a distinct target population
For Profit: the Business owner
Who controls the organization, including policies, salaries, benefits, strategic direction?
Non Profit: the board of directors
For Profit: the business owner(s)
How does the business use the funds that are donated or granted?
Non Profit: Only in the way that the funder or donor has designated
For Profit: Business owner determines use of funds or profits
After considering these basic issues, if non-profit is the direction you want to take, then make sure you do your research and get as much support as you can through training (as mentioned above), websites (Iisted below), and books. There are plenty of resources and experts out there to guide you on the right path. Here are just a few:
Society for Nonprofit Organizations