No April Fooling… The Nonprofit Paradox: It Costs Money to Not Make Money!

Cash
It’s not about the money…???

I update my students from time to time about the progress of #153Promise.  Yesterday, I told them that the silicone bracelets came in.  They asked how much they will cost.  When I said that I hoped to get $5.oo, they thought that was a bit steep; they suggested no more than 3.  I explained that they cost about a dollar to make, and that it’s not about how much the item is worth; it’s more of a “Thank you” gift with a donation to a cause.  Then came the question:

“So, what are you going to do with the money?”

One thing for sure- NOT go on a trip or pay my personal bills!  I explained that I plan to reinvest the income back into the nonprofit.

“Yeah… but what are you going to DO with the money?”

They clearly didn’t understand; they were hoping to hear something like, “Donate it to XXX cause or charity.”  But I AM the charity!  Still, I felt like I needed to supply them with some clear-cut verbs…

I can’t blame them for not grasping the concept of needing to make money upfront.  In order to do anything to begin to accomplish the mission of #153Promise, it’s going to take a lot of cash.  I mean, why SHOULD they know???  Only over this past week did I begin to gain an understanding for myself just how expensive starting up a nonprofit can be.  So far, this is what I learned:

  1. If I want to be at an event, I have to pay money for the spot.  $50.00 for a 10’x10′ is enough to make me think twice about getting the exposure I need.  I should sell almost 20 books at an event just to break EVEN.
  2. Some events require proof of liability insurance.  That’s up to $700.00 a year- just to be covered in case somebody claims my setup injured them.
  3. You can have the best idea in the world, but if nobody knows about it, it dies.  That means, you have to promote.  That costs money, too.  We’ve spent money on tee-shirts, car magnets, bracelets, and business cards.  Adding all that up, it’s over $500.00.
  4. Here’s the big sticker shock… In order to become a nonprofit, filing fees cost over $1,500.00!  Plus, if you hire a lawyer to do it to make sure it’s done correctly, you pay another grand.

Well, it opens up a lot of options:

  1. You can take tax write-offs.
  2. You can offer receipts so other people’s donations are tax-deductible.
  3. You can begin the fun adventure of writing grant proposals to get big money.

THEN, once that all happens and I’m free to get down to the nitty-gritty of actually doing the good work I plan to do, THAT takes a lot of time and money, too!  Offering programming and writing curriculum to educate families about trauma-free parenting does not fall off trees…

So, as much as I want to become a nonprofit charity, it looks like I can’t afford to right now.

This Catch 22 was not something I had anticipated!  Neither was the difficulty in answering the question,

“So, what are you going to do with the money?”

I learned a lot by those students’ inquiry… even though it humbled me a bit.

Make it the #153Proise to be open enough to learn from any situation.

Kisses! XxXx

2 thoughts on “No April Fooling… The Nonprofit Paradox: It Costs Money to Not Make Money!

Thank you for sharing! <3

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