Without a for-profit business plan most non-profits will fail. Creating a non-profit is usually stimulated by a higher cause that motivates us to sacrifice our time and resources to fulfilling its mission; but, without a sustainable business plan that creates profits, you will need to be independently wealthy.
Grants and donations, no matter how much good your non-profit does, are not often given to start ups. The giants in this industry have marketing and grant writing experts on salary. They regularly receive large amounts of money, millions! That leaves a paltry amount for the rest of us to fight over. Do not depend on receiving any.
I have run Patriotic Hearts for almost 15 years. My wife and I, as well as a few that come and go that sometimes assist us, have accomplished a tremendous amount of good over the years. We have helped hundreds of thousands of US veteran and active duty US military, and as many civilians and businesses. Our veteran employment stats are very competitive and usually far better than the major NPOs. And we have gotten as many as 40,000 a month. We have a database of many thousands of companies that posted jobs on our site and attended our hiring events. And yet, pure donations to Patriotic Hearts, without strings attached, are less than $5000 a year. That is less than what it takes to run our programs for one month!
It is not because we are unknown or unappreciated. We have had voluminous national attention in the News media, and won many significant awards. We have many thousands of followers on the social networks. But there are such a vast number of causes represented non-profits, churches etc. that getting donations are rare. Yet, we must raise about $100 K a year to survive. How have we done so? How are we doing so now?
Most importantly, never lose sight of your higher cause and principles: Your WHY for starting your NPO. Keeping this passion alive is critical. Do what you do for others. Keep them first, not yourself. If you are not ready to make huge personal sacrifices on behalf of your cause, then you are in the wrong industry.
Successful non-profits run their programs just like for-profits run their businesses. Following successful for-profit models has become the backbone of many major NPOs, as well as for little ones like mine.
Patriotic Hearts did not envision what we would become. We began innocently with our first effort, HireMarines.com. It was a free job board for residents to post jobs around their homes for our local US Marine Base, camp Pendleton. That became HirePatriots.com when a Navy Admiral asked if his sailors could use the site too. – Now, we have HirePatriots.com websites and local job boards all across America. We have even written a unique Marketing book, The Patriotic Business Plan, that teaches businesses, clubs, communities, and schools how to use their HirePatriots.com site to get constant free TV, radio, press and speaking gigs, like we do.
HirePatriots earns us a modest amount each month with the fulltime job board we installed years ago. But it has made much more in quid pro donations. In exchange for our building, hosting, and customizing each HP.com site, we ask for a donation of $500 or more. However, if the entity is sincere but poor, we build them for free too, because the Cause of assisting veterans across America must always be paramount to making money!
More than a decade later, we have now assisted over 300 start-up businesses. By using the same principles that made us profitable as an NPO, we teach to US veteran entrepreneurs. When they become profitable, we ask for them to make a donation.
Some of the business our US veterans have started our businesses we created for them. Most of them become very successful within a year or two. For instance, we now have over 60 US Military Maintenance owners across America. By uniting under one corporate name, and installing in their businesses the same procedures, training, and quality control that they learned in the military, they are able to acquire local, national, and federal contracts worth in the many millions of dollars. Our caveat we sign with them before building them a business, is that they must employ US veterans and pay them at least twice their states minimum wage. USMM owners employ over 300 US veterans a day.
We have also created a host of there enterprises for US veterans to own and to build beneath the for-profit corporation US Veterans Enterprises.: Employers on Campus, Soar to Success, Military Clean, Fine Arts Gallery, Coaches Sports Center, etc. – Our US entrepreneurs sign an agreement to make a donation to our non-profit Patriotic Hearts of 8% of their gross profits each month.
Do not major non-proifts, such as Goodwill, not do the same? They create for-profit businesses to finance their non-profit programs.
For additional information about our non-profit visit: https://hirepatriots.com/news-and-blogs. And here is a good article that supports what I have said: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/business-planning-nonprofits.
Let me know if you need any help.