Studious readers of our MyCorp blog may recall that, back in June, we covered non-profit corporations in a ‘Business Basics’ post, and answered a few simple questions like what a non-profit corporation was and how to form one. This week, we felt it would be a good idea to tackle one of the most often asked questions about non-profits – how do you run a successful non-profit corporation? Now, it’s impossible to distill what makes a non-profit successful into a 700 word post, but we can point out a few things you can do to help your non-profit succeed.
Draft, and adhere to, a solid mission statement
When you form a non-profit corporation, you have to clearly identify your mission. What, exactly, do you hope to accomplish with this organization? Who do you hope to help? What type of a vision do you have? You may have a few fuzzy answers to these questions running through your head, but you have to absolutely solidify every idea and goal you have before you ever hope to begin raising money. If your ‘elevator pitch’ is a jumbled mess of ideals with no, clear, actionable goals, no one will want to donate to your non-profit. The IRS will also review your mission statement when they decide whether or not to grant your group tax-exempt status.
We decided that this week to take a chance to examine the charitable business structure – non-profit corporations. Most people have undoubtedly heard of a non-profit before. You might even donate to one on a regular basis. But fewer know how, exactly, to go about creating a non-profit, or what the differences between a non-profit corporation and regular one are.
What is a Non-Profit Corporation?
Guest post today courtesy of Kent E. Seton, founder and president of the Center for Nonprofit Creation.
If you are passionate about your nonprofit charity or business, branding your charity is an invaluable tool that can yield significant economic benefits. Some of the most well known nonprofits in the world, like United Way and the American Red Cross, are charitable entities that are just as well known as brands that do make a profit, like Coca Cola and Nike. How does a nonprofit translate into dollars and cents? Several companies, such as the American Red Cross, have brands so reputable that they license out their trademark to “for profit” enterprises. An example of this licensing in action is a seal of approval – if you go into a grocery store and see a Red Cross logo on a cosmetic item, it has been officially “certified” by the American Red Cross. Each time that product is sold, the American Red Cross earns a royalty. The American Red Cross generates a significant amount of revenue via this model.
December, thanks to its proximity to a wide array of religious holidays, has sort of become the unofficial month of giving. Come Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus/Saturnalia, living rooms across the world will be filled with crumpled wrapping paper, discarded boxes, and happy faces. We absolutely love the Holiday Season because of the level of generosity that seems to radiate from everyone.
Of course, that generosity doesn’t stop at families and friends. Charities typically register record levels of donations during December, and many have events throughout the month specifically to gather as many donations as possible during the “month of giving.” Businesses typically love to do their part as well, holding their own events to try and help sponsor charities. But an all too frequent problem with this has once again been seen, though it was in a place only possible in our highly connected, social media driven world. Continue reading