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

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

So, What’s This 153Promise, Anyway?

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01:  Photo of Stevie Wonder

The drafts for the logos of 153Promise came to me this week.  I am very excited!  The logo gives me the ability to make items that help promote the site: car magnets, tee-shirts, and my favorite: silicon bracelets!  I want to be a walking billboard for the cause.

“They” say (whoever “they” is) that the more choices a person gets, the less happy.  I now see the truth in that statement.  My graphic designer came with over a dozen versions of a logo.  (Three major looks with slight variations thereof.)  I figured the best thing to do was to poll everybody I know to see which one gets the biggest thumbs up.

As I started to ask people which they preferred, I wound up having to tell them what 153Promise is all about.  I explain how 153 is the number of kisses a day required to literally kiss your child a million times from birth to 18.  I then mention how it’s all explained in my book “One Million Kisses.”  THEN I make the distinction that the book is “One Million Kisses;” the movement is 153Promise.

So what’s the movement about?” people ask with genuine interest.

It’s about making the promise to show love and validation on a daily basis to your children.  It’s about making the promise to contribute to their overall mental health in a positive way.”

Everybody thinks that’s great.  I mean, who would argue against that, right?  But right now, it’s just an abstract idea… and this blog.  But when it all comes down to it, what IS 153Promise: a charity? Organization?  Foundation?

That means I’ve got to get busy.  Once the walking billboard paraphernalia starts coming and it (hopefully!) starts driving traffic to this site, I need to have more of a PLAN for action… more than just BUY MY BOOK; READ MY BLOG; DO WHAT I SUGGEST.

I need a vision.  A mission statement.  Essentially, I need to set up a whole structure and framework so if I actually DO get followers, they know what to DO.

The book is supposed to be out in April.  It takes six weeks for it to be pressed once going to the printers.  Working that backward, I’ve got about THREE WEEKS to get 153Promise more clearly defined so I can put it in the front flap of “One Million Kisses.”

So that’s going to be my focus for the next few posts…  Stay tuned for more updates regarding the movement…

And to all my fellow east coasters… stay safe in the impending blizzard.

Kisses!  XxXx

(Stevie Wonder photo by Michael Ochs archives)