One thing that I struggled with when formulating my business plan project was how to establish my mock company as a nonprofit organization and still make money enough to maintain operations and pay myself plus five part-time employees. In terms of nonprofit work, I have some experience with the PR/marketing side of things. Through my internship at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland I learned about how to effectively organize a group of volunteers to do jobs that most people wouldn’t necessarily want to do even if they were being paid. Wrangling volunteers can earn you some money, especially if they are working on fundraising and donations, but they aren’t necessarily the only resource needed. Looking through my business plan before turning in the final draft, I decided to consult our class textbook, Entrepreneurial Journalism: How to Build What’s Next for News for tips about starting and maintaining a nonprofit.
Some options that the textbook mentions in terms of running a nonprofit are: establishing the organization as a 501(c)(3) entity, establishing a partnership with a university or college for nonprofit status, or finding an agent to help with obtaining grants. Obtaining a 501(c)(3) is the most difficult option from the choices given, and especially after checking out the website run by the IRS, it seems as though there are endless forms to fill out and a lot of tedious steps involved in this process. Concerning my nonprofit idea is a bit smaller than a national organization like Planned Parenthood, I think my best option would be to partner with a university in town, granted they are interested in the organization.
If all went well, my mock-organization would be thriving within the first couple of months, especially because there are a lot of perks to starting a nonprofit organization. Not only would I be bringing something I believe in and also think that others would benefit from greatly into the community, but I would also be able to take advantage of grants from public and private entities (again, if these entities are willing) and not having to pay federal income taxes on the organization.
Nonprofits can also start trusts if they are concerned about obtaining grants. The book talks about trusts, specifically in terms of journalism as a kind of new idea. “One of the first journalism trusts was established in 2010 when a writer and retired businessman named Bill Schubart formed the Vermont Journalism Trust to fund operations for a new startup that focused on state political and civic issues. That site, VTDigger.org, came to life in 2009″ (104-105). Taking a look at VTDigger, it seems as though the site is thriving, however it is definitely littered with advertisements.
Establishing a nonprofit isn’t something that would be very easy and it would also be a very time-consuming venture, however I believe it would be the best choice for my business plan idea, and upon further research I still believe this whole-heartedly. I think however, I will skip all of the tedium and plan on partnering up with the University of Nebraska at Omaha for my business idea. I think that UNO would be very receptive to a women-friendly organization, especially since they have a thriving Women & Gender Studies department. This organization would greatly benefit female students and our organization could spend more time working on recruiting volunteers and making our organization as successful as can be without having to spend tireless hours on filling out paperwork.