Nonprofit Structuring and Generating Sustainable Revenue

Nonprofit concepts are generated at an increasing record rate even more than for profit concepts. New entrepreneurs who have the philanthropic mindset automatically are attracted to a nonprofit structure because of the cause. Soon after the entity is formed, they are overwhelmed with the structuring of a Board of Directors (BOD), bylaws, policies, and procedures and of course FUNDING. Can you structure your entity yourself? Of course, you can. However, we see that later nonprofits have trouble determining their revenue streams and how to access funding to support and maintain their initial capacity. From my experience in consulting and collaborating with “out-of-the-box” thinkers, there’s a different mindset to adopt before the BOD is mobilized. I know its cliché-ish, however every nonprofit should have a brainstorming session to identify its revenue streams. How will you generate revenue to support your capacity? Know this….#1 YOU ARE A BUSINESS. This means that you must consider a product or service to sell and/or promote. You say, “but Tyra, am I allowed to charge a fee for products and services?” I say again, YOU ARE A BUSINESS. The nonprofit designation offers you the opportunity of not being taxed. That’s it. Therefore, you should operate your “business” just as any other business. For example: You start a nonprofit to help youth and young adults with epilepsy to maintain a healthier life. This is the cause and from that you establish your mission, vision, and purpose. To ensure revenue is generated for the “business”, you create services and products that larger entities pay for on behalf of your targeted youth and young adults. Let’s say that you publish a magazine or some other publication because you are a talented writer. You sell ads to business owners with the premise that their dollars will be “tax deductible” to support programs to assist youth and young adults with epilepsy. What’s your product? The magazine. What’s your cause? Youth and young adults with epilepsy. Can I upsell the businesses on becoming a sponsor? Absolutely! Can I upsell them on sponsoring an event? Absolutely! More importantly, can I upsell them on possible solutions for their businesses? Absolutely! Now, if you actually invest into talking this out with a marketing professional you may come up with an even better concept than this. The goal here is to get you to thinking about products and services to sell to those who can easily afford it and to create projects to support the targeted group that’s focused on your mission with funds from the sales.

Let’s talk about collaborations. Let’s say that you have colleagues and/or friends who have for profit businesses. I’m sure they would welcome the idea of you promoting their services for a commission/fee. Based on the scenario mentioned above, let’s say that your colleague has a product/service that costs $100. You negotiate with them to offer their current clients and potential clients to dona