I need some serious help/input/advice on starting a non profit-like business - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 07-19-2010, 02:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's the scoop. I'm not actually starting a non profit. I'm starting an awareness campaign/fundraiser for research and treatment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
I have the support of a large University and all funds will be funneled through them via a portal on my website (once that is up and running).
I need to put together a proposal of sorts to email to them so we can begin the process of getting it approved (the website and material). I'll be paying for the website and I'm doing all the legwork as far as trying to solicit funds, support, etc.
I am clueless as to how to even begin putting together all of this. I truly believe this is coming from a higher power so I'm not too intimidated or discouraged by the face that I am "just a mom" with no college degree. I have the drive and passion, I just need some input on where to start

What sort of web host company do I use?
Is there a book/website/etc that would help me with these steps of putting this together?

And is there a "name" for what I'm doing? I'm not exactly a non profit, but I am soliciting funds on behalf of a university through my own personal website....so I'm not sure if there's a name for that, that would help me in my research to see if others have done anything like this before me? (I'm trying to not reinvent the wheel if at all possible).

Thanks in advance

Here's me I married then we had dd15 , dd11 , ds10 , and then and now we and I blog!
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#2 of 3 Old 07-19-2010, 09:43 AM
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prologue: this is really long - sorry! I wrote one reply, then reread your message and took it another way, but decided to leave the first reply anyway in case it is of any help, and have followed it with reply number two. hope something here is a little helpful!

a few questions, first:

are you volunteering, or is the university paying you or are you to be paid out of the funds raised?

is the outreach that you or anyone you hire are planning to do solely online, or online and in print, or online and in print and in person (by speaking or organizing events?)

what will your affiliation with the university look like? are you an employee, or a volunteer, or a helping hand that directs donors their way?

writing out the answers to those questions might help you get the start of your proposal on paper, and if you feel like sharing said answers here, I bet you can get lots more input.

in the meantime, you might try googling "social entrepreunuer" and "community business" for some inspiring reads - there you will be able to link into a whole field of people who are looking to good, be socially responsible and address social issues using a business model rather than the NPO/NGO and philanthropy model. this might not be quite the model that you have in mind, but as the field is pretty hot and emerging and widely spread across a number of fields, you may stuble across something that helps you on your way or sparks a helpful thought. a lot of it uses technology and online stuffs and social networking and the like, so that aspect at least ought to be relevant to you.

dh and I are in the process of starting up a community development/rural revitalization community business sort of thing at the moment, and I can relate to your excitement and the wonderful feeling of being suddenly on the right path.

ps (this is reply number two) - am rereading your post, and think maybe you have answered some of the questions I mentioned above - I gather you are looking to be a volunteer who runs a website to attract donors and direct their funds to the university - correct? Writing out the proposal will probably move you along in your plans - there is nothing like getting your thoughts on paper to see the next step.

The way I see it, you start working on getting the idea approved (write the proposal) then you start gathering together the resources to write the page, then you start writing and organizing it and while you are doing that you read up on writing for an internet audience. There is something called search engine optimization (SEO) that is all about how to get people to find your webpage. Read up on that (but be aware that a lot of it will be commercially slanted, which may put you off, but it doesn`t matter much, because really all anyone wants, whether they are selling something or sharing info, is for people to find their site) and put some of what you learn into practice in your writing. The choice of a webhost is of course important, but not a hugely complicated decision - google the name of any companies you are considering and see what people have to say, or start a thread here asking for recommendations.

(dunno if the writing of the proposal is a stumbling block for you, but here are some thoughts on the matter if it is)

I would begin the proposal by introducing yourself briefly (I am so and so, and passionate about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders because....), then move on to say "I am creating a website dedicated to raising awareness on this topic and will be incorporating an opportunity for readers to donate funds to further research. With your approval, I intend to connect my readers to the ABC University FASD Fund."

And then, use the rest of the proposal to outline the contents of the website. For instance:
Visitors to the website will be greated with a welcome page including a blog meant to keep readers up to date with the latest FASD research and links informational pages. These informational pages will provide readers with detailed information about FASD and its effects, and will cover the following subjects: (bulleted list detailing some of the subjects you plan to cover).

Following this, you might mention the people/agencies/resources you plan to rely on to give your site credibility ("As I put together this website, I will be consulting with Dr So and So, The FASD Foundation and The Society for FASD Research.")

Close with a statement like "I truly believe that the ABC University FASD Fund is making groundbreaking progress on FASD issues, and hope that I can become a part of this effort. I look forward to your input/reply.

Sign out with "Regards" or whatever you like and feel good about doing good things!

Since you are beginning with an email, try to keep it all down to one, or at most, two pages.

sorry for the really, really long reply and I hope something here was useful!
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#3 of 3 Old 07-20-2010, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the input, Sara I've been trying to get back here all day to write a reply and this is the first chance I've gotten.

To answer your question, yes, I am going to be a volunteer (a pioneer volunteer ) The director of research (for the whole hospital/university) told me that no one has done this before so they are sort of working with me.

I have a lot of ideas/goals for this whole program but I'm not sure how they will all fit considering that any money going out will be mine. I am working on developing a website now and that will be where the majority of the campaign will be promoted. I will also try to get media (newspapers, magazines, local news stations, etc) involved in promoting. I also would love to do some fundraisers, speaking engagements and trainings but like I said, I'm unsure of how I'd fund a fundraiser to begin with. I've thought of incorporating and becoming a non profit but then I'd have two different "funds" or places to split and I don't want to do that because A. I'm not trying to make money off of it (although it would be nice to be reimbursed for gas, etc) and B. It would almost spoil the point of being teamed up with this great university that needs the funds to open a research and treatment center.

The material I would use at trainings, I would get from a few organizations including the CDC so it would be free....however, some info, I would need to print up and that would cost money.

I also had a thought that I could offer to do free trainings on FASD to local foster family agencies and DCFS. Instead of charging a fee for my "service", I would negotiate promoting this fundraising/awareness campaign at the end of my presentation.

These are just some thoughts on the business side of it. I like your ideas for the presentation and I'll incorporate them into my proposal If you think of anything else, please feel free to add more....I really appreciate your help

Here's me I married then we had dd15 , dd11 , ds10 , and then and now we and I blog!
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