As someone who is contemplating to start non profit organization, I think you need to be clear on this.
What do you understand by a not for profit organization ? When is it best to start a non profit ? What and all to expect out of it ? Why ‘Non profit’ ? Why not – ‘for profit’ ? Lets try to figure out answers to these questions.
This is very important because many people have several misconceptions about the motives of starting a nonprofit. To begin with here are some of the most common myths that shroud the non profit segment.
Myth 1 ) Non profit organizations do not make profits
On the contrary to this, most of the sustainable non profit organizations across the world run profitable activities. The difference then lies only in the fact that the profits generated by a commercial entity may be distributed amongst the stakeholders but in case of a non profit organization – all the profits are to be ploughed back into the system.
Myth 2 ) Non profit organizations is a good way to generate income
If income is what you are primarily looking for, you better stay out of this. A non profit organization is definitely not the best way to earn money. The donors have very clear set of deliverable set for the recipient of funds and they have to be met to get funds. And most of the times, these deliverable s are much more tough and demanding than that of running a plain simple business. And if at all you manage to achieve those deliverable, you get paid for the work but only a small part of it can be drawn out as salaries or administrative expenses. All other funds have to be used for the actual developmental work for which it has been assigned.
Myth 3 ) Non profit organizations can generate quick income
If you look at the the incubation period of any not for profit organization, it is higher than that of most of the businesses. While you can start generating returns in a business in less than 3 months or even lesser, you need to work hard for more than a year before fund start coming to you in major ways. You might get small helps in the beginning but it is actually tough. Actually properly speaking you start getting good projects after first year if you are extremely good. In most of the cases the incubation period extends up to 3 years from the date of starting a non profit organization. To sum this up, Non profit segments have a much larger learning curve than most of the traditional ‘for-profit’ ventures out there.
So now, Who would be an ideal candidate to start non profit organization ?
Here’s the basic desirable attributes –
a) People with an undying passion for some cause.
b) People who have stayed in a community for a longer time and are more or less aware of the community issues.
c) People who have moderate monetary ambitions in life.
d) People who can work for at least an year without getting bogged down by financial, emotional or social pressures due to slow developments in their work field. (Social work is a great task of community mobilization which does not happen in a few days)
e) People with great leadership, community mobilization and communication skills.
The list can have more of such attributes but for any one planning to start a non profit organization, its now time to first assess himself on these grounds and see if he would be a good fit to the demands of running a social organization.