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Funding a Non Profit

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Smart moms,

I have this idea and I can't let it go. Problem is I have no experience with non-profits or funding. Especially worrysome is giving up a very high paying job and not knowing how I will support my family while following my heart with this idea. I am currently the sole income earner in my family of 4.

Middle school children have far too few after school programs. Small children are pretty well served as we all worry about their physical safety. High school aged kids have extra curricular activities like band, drama, sports... Middle schoolers are in the land between, old enough to be a bit more responsible, but without resources. Turns out this age group is at risk for early sexual experiences, drug use, etc. as they are very often left home without supervision. Peer pressure is extreme at this age and even kids who would never get into too much trouble on their own are known to do risky things. In fact many kids experience their first sex in their own homes while mom and dad are at work.

So, I have a great idea for a program which celebrates diversity and family pride. It offers educational experiences that are completely personal. But... where do I go with it? I could package it and sell it to community centers, or start an organization. Oh, this is where I get very unclear.

If you have any advice, experience, or suggestions, please post away. I am absolutely 100% listening!
post #2 of 6
You might start by talking/emailing to orgs that serve that age group in other cities. Here is one in my town that serves middle school aged girls


I have worked in non-profits for a while but dont do much with funding. You could start small, keeping your day job and maybe just doing a once a week thing. There are books on starting up non-profits. Check your library.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Excellent advice, thank you. I really appreciate it!
post #4 of 6

Grants & Classes

Have you considered looking into grant funding? There are many foundations that will help fund non-profit orgs. - usually funding special or specific activities or events - Do an internet seach for "non-profit organizations and grants or funding" and you'll get a bunch to look at...

I'm not sure where you are, but here in Az, we have a Non-Profit Insititute at the Univ. (ASU) - you can log onto their website (ASU.edu) and search for information on that as well - you might be able to get info. via the Internet and not have to be here to go to the classes - I've attended a few and they were great... all about start up and funding, marketing, etc.

Also, the organization that licenses daycares in your state may have info. about where to get funding...?

Lastly, what about partnershipping with organizations that already exist? Boys & Girls Clubs... check with your local school districts to see if they'd be willng to fund your type of program in-house? ...

I guess you might guess I've worked with before/after school and preschool programs (now I license them)... Please email me if you want to chat more about getting started or if you'd like help with the grant stuff - btdt - it's not easy to get started writing them, but once you get the hang of it, you'll get the $$... Take Care!! Niki oh yeah... the other piece of it is establishing yourself as a NP first - that's a tax thing ...
post #5 of 6

Alliance for Justice

You might dig this site: http://www.afj.org/
The Alliance for Justice is an organization that supports advocacy. There's a lot of info on the site about starting, funding, and maintaining non-profits, as well as other types of organizations.
I'm not affiliated or anything. I'm just familiar with it because I'm part of a non-profit group. My org is more into lobbying than what you are thinking about doing, though, so we need considerably less money than you might.
post #6 of 6
Maybe you already do this, but consider volunteering for a non-profit that does the type of work you're looking to do. Maybe even try to get on the board of such a non-profit so you can a real insiders view on how things are run. You'll also be networking with those who are in the know.

Also, I think the doing your research on whether or not this type of program already exists will be really important. Funders will probably look at whether there is overlap in services provided. Kinda like somebody who was looking to go into business - find out if your "market" is underserved. But then again, if you can deliver services in a new, innovative way, then you might have a better chance with funders who want to go in that direction. "Venture philanthropy" is the buzz these days.

Another possible resource (both of info about non-profits and funding possibly!) is your local United Way. I think www.unitedway.org will take you to the national organization which has links to the local orgs.

I think a lot of non-profits were started because someone followed their dream and their passion - I say go for it!!
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