Not sure if your new business idea should be a for-profit or a nonprofit organization? A major deciding factor is how you plan to fund the business and what you plan to do with your profits. Start by asking yourself about the goals and overall purpose for your business. Is your main focus to make money? Then you should start a for-profit business. If you want your business to donate profits and services to the public, then developing a nonprofit organization is perhaps the choice for you.
As a social entrepreneur, you will need to develop your nonprofit much like one would start any business, such as establishing a funding plan and selecting the right employees. You will also need to develop a governing board, including outlining their roles, and create guidelines for the management and operations of your organization.
When determining your funding sources, including selecting and applying for grants, it will be important to clearly define the value your organization will provide to the community, while having a clear mission statement. You will also need to outline your staffing, infrastructure, and technology requirements, and any other systems needed to be successful. When devising your financial plan, it will be crucial to determine the long-term goals for your organization and develop a plan that will bring enough money in the door to achieve your organization’s mission. As you plan, consider visiting the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Resources page, opens a new window to view a list of economic development organizations and allies dedicated to helping businesses.
Regarding staffing, begin by developing job descriptions for both your employees and board members. Think about what qualities you can contribute to the organization and what you lack. Look for employees that compliment your work style, but bring something unique to the table. For tools and resources relevant to running a nonprofit, visit the website for The National Council of Nonprofits, opens a new window.
An effective board provides strategic direction, brings money in the door, and connects the organization to key decision makers. Therefore, it will be important to determine the types of roles that will comprise your governing board that will help make your organization successful (attorney, technology expert, marketing guru, community leaders, accountant, etc.). Another great website to visit is The Louisiana Association on Nonprofit Organizations, opens a new window for information, tools, and resources specifically for Louisiana nonprofits.
The library has a varied collection of business materials available that can help you write effective grant proposals, learn how to create and work with a board, build a funding plan, and understand the legal, financial, managerial and operational requirements for successfully starting and running a nonprofit organization. You can review a sampling of materials available at the library as well as additional web resources by clicking on the list below.
Contact a Reference Librarian, opens a new window if you have questions about using or locating any of our business resources. Are you interested in more business resources? Next month I will feature fundraising resources that are available here at the library.