Nonprofits are not sole proprietorships. You don't own a nonprofit. That's a flawed perspective. That's a poor perception.
I hear it a lot as I try to help other individuals get started with their budding business ideas. In essence, some people come to the table with misconstrued notions that don't make much sense to anyone but the other person who passed on the bad information to them. In many cases, people are operating off of what they have heard rather than what they have researched or experienced.
Nonprofits exist for numerous purposes. In most cases, your average nonprofit is for "public benefit." In layman's terms, the entity is organized in order to accomplish some good for the benefit of the community as a whole. No matter if its focus is on children, women, the poor, or some other group, the organization itself is established for the good of society as a whole. Truly, the goal for starting a nonprofit organization should be the good that it can do for society, not the ability to get grants and write out your own exuberant salary for doing "part-time" work.
executive compensationNonprofits are under the radar. In this information age, where you can Google in an instant and start a wiki on everything and anything, even nonprofit and faith-based scandals, you better have more than your ducks in a row. Ethics come into play. The high road isn't the hard road when you go at it the right way and into with the right mindset and heart.
Consider the following when you recruit for a nonprofit's initial board members:
- Accountant/ Tax consultant
- Nonprofit manager/ executive
- Business professor
- Law school professor
- University/ college dean or administrator
- Retired CEO/ COO
These are suggested board members. Depending on the focus of the nonprofit, it may require other levels of experience and expertise. A faith-based nonprofit should include clergy and lay leaders, people of faith who can pray about and pray over the matters at hand along with some understanding of the numbers and data. A nonprofit for children and youth could include a principal, a youth advocate, a single parent, a youth worker, or a college admissions officer or administrator. These are people who are aligned with the purpose and focus of the organization. In addition, your board should keep you accountable. That's what matters. They support your work, seeking grants and contributions on your behalf, and they keep you in line with your stated mission.
I find an extraordinary example of bridging faith and societal good in Richard Allen through the Free African Society that predated the AME church. Even though he served as an itinerant Methodist preacher, Allen established himself as a businessman and change agent in Philadelphia before becoming the leader of America's primary African-American denomination. He was a man of vision with integrity. He worked cooperatively with others for the mutual benefit of his community and its people of African descent, especially former slaves.
Read Freedom's Prophet by Richard Newman and discover more about how to balance societal change and public good with business practices and zealous religious works.