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NGOsNon-governmental organizations (NGOs) are nonprofit associations founded by citizens, which function independently of the government. NGOs, also known as civil societies, are organized on “community, national, or international levels” to help developing nations in their humanitarian, health care, educational, social, environmental and social issues. These citizen-run groups perform various services and humanitarian functions by advocating citizen concerns to governments, overlooking policies and encouraging political participation by providing information to the public.

History of Non-Governmental Organizations

Non-governmental organizations started emerging during the 18th century. The Anti-Slavery Society, formed in 1839, is the first international NGO. This organization had a profound impact on society, and it stimulated the founding of many other NGOs since opening its doors. Of note, many civil societies began to form as a result of wars. For example, the Red Cross formed after the Franco-Italian war in the 1860s, Save the Children began after World War I and Oxfam and CARE started after World War II. The term non-governmental organization emerged after the Second World War when the United Nations wanted to differentiate between “intergovernmental specialized agencies and private organizations.”

NGOs engage in many different forms throughout communities in the sense that they are a “complex mishmash of alliances and rivalries.” Some have a charitable status, while others focus on business or environment-related issues. Other non-governmental organizations have religious, political, or other interests concerning a particular issue.

The World Bank identifies two broad types of non-governmental organizations: operational and advocacy.

Operational NGOs

An operational non-governmental organization is a group of citizens that focus on designing and implementing development projects and advocacy. NGOs promote and defend particular causes, and operational NGOs fall into two categories: relief and development-oriented organizations. They are classified on whether or not they “stress service delivery or participation.”

An example of an operational NGO is the International Medicine Corps (IMC) in Afghanistan. The IMC installed a vaccination campaign against measles. They trained about 170 Afghani’s how to vaccinate children between the ages of 6 and 12, and conducted a two-week-long “vaccination campaign.” These efforts assisted 95 percent of children in the capital of Kabul.

Advocacy NGOs

Advocacy non-governmental organizations use lobbying, press work and activist events. This is in order to raise awareness, acceptance and knowledge on the specific cause they are promoting or defending. An example of an advocacy NGO is America’s Development Foundation (ADF). This NGO provides advocacy training and technical assistance in efforts to “increase citizen participation in democratic processes.”

Non-Governmental Organization Funding

Since non-governmental organizations are nonprofit organizations, they rely on membership dues, private donations, the sales of goods and services and grants. These funds cover funding projects, operations, salaries and other overhead costs. NGOs have very large budgets that reach millions, even billions, of dollars because of heavy dependence on government funding.

Another chunk of NGO funding belongs to the individual, private donors. A few of these donors are affluent individuals, such as Ted Turner who donated $1 billion to the United Nations. Most nonprofits, however, depend on multiple small donations from people to raise money.

Overall, non-governmental organizations function to build support for a certain cause whether it is economic, political or social. In addition, NGOs tend to bring people together, especially advocacy NGOs.

– Isabella Gonzalez Montilla
Photo: Pixabay

Migrant Workers in Qatar

When one thinks of the Gulf state of Qatar, sky-high skyscrapers, double-decker airplanes and sprawling shopping malls come to mind. Ever since the discovery of oil in the region in 1939, the Qatari economy has seen rapid growth. In 2018, the CIA World Factbook ranked Qatar as second highest for GDP per capita, making it one of the wealthiest nations in the world. But this also makes it important for people to learn about the state of migrant workers in Qatar.

Migrant Workers in Qatar

The progress in Qatar has its drawbacks. When FIFA selected Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar was brought to the spotlight. A research brief from the UK Parliament found that Qatar has 1.5 million migrant workers or 90 percent of its total labor force comprises migrant workers.

While foreign workers continue to report incidents of exploitation and segregation, Qatar has made substantial improvements to its labor laws and is cooperating with organizations like Amnesty International and the International Labor Organization in the process.

The Kafala System

Gulf states—including Qatar—use the kafala (Arabic for sponsorship) system as an employment framework to recruit migrant laborers from abroad to work in low-paying jobs.

Under the kafala system in Qatar, migrant workers have documented a range of abuses, among them, are delayed and unpaid wages, excessive working hours, confiscation of passports, inaccessibility to healthcare and justice, sexual violence as well as deception in the recruitment process. In short, the kafala system binds a migrant worker into an exploitative employer-employee relationship.

By giving an employer control over a migrant worker’s job and residential status, the kafala system encourages workplace abuses. With over 95 percent of Qatari families employing at least one housemaid, some migrants choose to become domestic workers in the homes of Qatari nationals, where they are often subjected to sexual violence.

Furthermore, The Guardian reported in October 2013 that many Nepalese workers have died since the beginning of construction projects for future World Cup sites. These Nepalese workers live in segregated labor camps outside Doha where they endure unsanitary conditions and scant water supplies.

Labor Laws in Qatar

Under pressure from international nonprofits, Qatar has implemented a series of labor laws to improve working conditions for workers. In December 2016, a new law allowed migrant workers to return to Qatar within two years if they had previously left without their employer’s permission. It also increased the penalty for employers found guilty of confiscating their employees’ passports and created a committee to review workers’ requests to leave Qatar.

While this made no reference to the kafala system, the law fell short of addressing kafala’s main shortcoming, i.e. workers still need permission from their employers to switch jobs.

In order to help domestic workers who are often victims of forced prostitution, Qatar introduced a domestic workers law in August 2017. Instating legal protections for over 173,000 migrant domestic workers, the law sets a limit of 10 hours for a workday and mandates 24 consecutive hours off every week, as well as three weeks of annual paid leave. Though in its early stages, the law promises to alleviate the alienation and abuse of domestic workers, some of whom work up to 100 hours per week.

The Qatari government is gradually repealing the kafala system. In October 2017, the government expanded the Wage Protection System and mandated payment of wages by electronic transfer.

On September 5, 2018, an Amnesty International press release reported that the Emir of Qatar issued Law No. 13, which bans employers from preventing migrant workers from leaving the country.

Conclusion

Qatar’s World Cup bid may have been a blessing in disguise. Qatar started its stadium projects using slave-like labor, and now it has slowly opened up to the critiques and suggestions from external nonprofit organizations. As an example, the International Labor Organization has forged a technical cooperation agreement with Qatar and together they have worked to unravel the kafala system. These changes will turn this wealthy country into a more equitable one.

– Mark Blekherman
Photo: Flickr

 

The Pele Foundation and the Empowerment of the Disenfranchised Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known widely by the moniker Pelé, is arguably the most popular Brazilian football player and had led his team to trebled triumph in the World Cup. But Pelé doesn’t have a one-track mind: he has one leg in the sports pool and the other leg in the social activism pool.

Previously, Pelé worked with FIFA as an ambassador against racism as well as with UNICEF to advocate children’s rights. He has moved on to inaugurating his own organization called The Pelé Foundation to empower impoverished, disenfranchised children around the world.

The Pelé Foundation

When first announcing the launch of his foundation Pelé said, “In 2018, I am launching The Pelé Foundation, a new charitable endeavor that will benefit organizations around the world and their dedicated efforts to empower children, specifically around poverty and education.”

Having grown up poor, Pelé developed an affinity for charity work. In the past, he had supported a multitude of different organizations including 46664, ABC Trust, FC Harlem, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Prince’s Rainforests Project and The Littlest Lamb.

In the future, Pelé’s organization plans to expand and cover issues such as gender equality and will eventually birth offshoot programs, not unlike other organizations of its nature.

Partner Organizations

Pelé isn’t alone in this endeavor. During the initial announcement, Pelé blazoned that he would be partnering with both charity:water and Pencils of Promise to fulfill his goals.

Founded in October 2008, Pencils of Promise (PoP) is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the state of education for children in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ghana and Laos. Besides improving the quality of education, PoP also constructs schools and educational facilities, trains faculty, champions scholarships and supports sanitary programs. Backed by big names such as Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun, PoP is a big name itself in the humanitarian space.

Established in 2006 and having funded 24,537 different projects, charity:water is spearheaded by Scott Harrison. charity: water gives all donations to projects working to end the current water crises. Harrison said, “We’re excited to partner with The Pelé Foundation to bring clean water to thousands of people in the years to come. Having access to clean water not only saves hours of wasted time, but it also provides safety, health and hygiene. It directly impacts the future of children, and we believe it’s the first step out of poverty for rural communities all over the world.”

– Jordan De La Fuente
Photo: Flickr

 

global healthSince 1983, J.P. Morgan has hosted an annual healthcare conference to unite industry leaders, fast-companies, innovative technology creators and people willing to invest in these technologies. Though the company is known for being a global leader in financial services, J.P. Morgan has made global health a priority by donating nearly $200 million a year to nonprofits globally, leading volunteer services and using its access to capital to help local communities suffering from poverty.

J.P. Morgan has made the following its core values:

  1. Corporate responsibility
  2. Health initiatives
  3. Strengthening communities
  4. Environmental sustainability

In January 2018, Bill Gates made an appearance at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference to discuss his thoughts. At the conference, Gates’ speech discussed recent progress in global health and what else still needs to be done. Initially, he pointed out how global health has been the focus of his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for the last eight years. He explained how child mortality has decreased by 50 percent and credited new vaccines to reducing deaths due to rotavirus, pneumonia and malaria.

Afterwards, he expressed the need for more innovation, explaining how funding research is the most elementary step in improving global health. He mentioned the current gap between the tools that are currently available to eliminate stubborn diseases and poverty and the tools that are needed, explaining that the only solution is innovation. He emphasized how “the tools and discoveries companies are working on can also lead to breakthrough solutions that save millions of lives in the world’s poorest countries.”

He concluded his speech by emphasizing the need for more research into preterm births, as they account for half of newborn deaths. It has also become clear that a child’s nutrition and the microbiome in their stomach, or rather the interactions between the two, are the largest factor in determining the child’s survival rate. The best solution to this is ensuring that children have the proper ratio of microbes in their stomach, a problem Gates and his partners have started to tackle.

Gates and his foundation have always made global health a priority. They work with partners globally to improve the following five program areas:

  1. Global health, which focuses on developing new tools to reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria and HIV.
  2. Global development, which aims to finance the delivery of high-impact solutions, providing people with healthy, productive lives.
  3. Global policy and advocacy, which promotes public policies and builds alliances with the government, the public and the private sectors.
  4. Global growth and opportunity, which works to break down economic barriers in an effort to lift people out of poverty.
  5. U.S. programs, which focuses on ensuring all students graduate from high school and have the opportunity to go to college.

Thanks to Bill Gates, his foundation and the J.P. Morgan healthcare conference, investors and advancements will continue to increase, alleviating the burden of global poverty and improving global health.

– Chylene Babb

Photo: Flickr

Macedonian Youth
Macedonia, an ancient gem of the Balkans, boasts sweeping emerald mountains and fresco-furnished monasteries. Home to an eclectic population with Eastern and Western roots, the country is also a breeding ground for ethnic and political turmoil, which slowly gave way to widespread poverty.

The country’s unemployment rate, though declining, is still above 20 percent; the poverty rate in households with children exceeded 60 percent in 2007. Fortunately, a number of international organizations are investing in the Macedonian youth to help the country recover from a prolonged period of stagnant economic growth and political turmoil.

Opportunity International is a nonprofit that lends financial support to entrepreneurs in Macedonia and 21 other developing countries. Providing access to loans, savings, insurance and business training, the organization enables and encourages Macedonian youth to work their way out of poverty, educate their children and create jobs for their neighbors.

Aside from monetary assistance, the organization has also invested $20 million in the past decade on electronic technologies. This helps lower transaction costs and expand banking services to marginalized households. ATMs, point-of-sale devices and satellite branches are becoming more prevalent in community-gathering centers and many of Opportunity’s 9.6 million clients now use mobile phones to verify identification, repay loans and make purchases remotely.

Founded by expatriates in 2007, Macedonia2025 is a “think-and-do” tank that focuses both on instilling education programs to mold future leaders and connecting the Macedonian diaspora to their roots. The Summer Diaspora Business Trip brings young Macedonians from across the globe to Skopje, the capital of their homeland, to visit historic sites, interns at local or foreign firms and network with influential entrepreneurs and CEOs.

On the domestic front, Macedonia2025 launched the Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF) to support smaller businesses. Just three years after its inception, the private equity fund has already amassed more than €3 million. With Homestrings and USAID slated to join the partnership, the future total investment is projected to be €15 million.

Claire Wang

Photo: Flickr

Nonprofits in AfricaGoogle’s more philanthropic arm, Google.org, has connected and extended the endeavors of distinctive nonprofits and companies working to better their communities since 2005. This year’s efforts include providing around $50 million in funding, expertise, and tools to support these organizations. Additionally, the organization plans to train 10 million people in sub-Saharan Africa in this same time span, in order for them to be more employable and gain access to information and communications technologies, and it will train another 100,000 to develop mobile and global-capable apps. Thus far, Google.org has decided to put aside $20 million over the next five years for a range of nonprofits in Africa.

A leader in not only search engines but charity as well, Google has already chosen two African technology startups to receive $2.5 million in grants: Gidi Mobile and Siyavula. Gidi Mobile Ltd. focuses on expanding the visions of over 350 million young Africans and giving them the ability to accomplish such goals as Africa’s first mobile personal development platform. It allows people to complete courses and study materials online for all types of professional careers, connect with other learners and form a community and share personal progress with others. The company advances free content, cloud computing and both international and distinctly African content through its product Gidimo.

Siyavula similarly allows free online access to their line of published and curriculum-aligned math and science textbooks, alongside practice and teaching capabilities within the program. These are unlike restricted, copyrighted materials but adaptable without incurring costs, and allow educators to create and share accessible and open-licensed Open Education Resources (OERs). Both have in turn supported the unstifled digital education of over 400,000 underprivileged students in South Africa and Nigeria.

Through Google.org, almost $110 million has already been committed in the last five years to nonprofits in Africa and even other parts of the world that center around closing the education gap. Looking to their current portfolio, they are hoping technology will bring kids the right materials, as those who grow up in low-income areas have less access to books or are forced to use outdated, irrelevant texts. Around 221 million students today are taught in a language foreign to them, and 130 million do not learn basic math or reading despite placement in a four-year or more school system.

Moreover, 4.3 billion people lack consistent access to the internet. Technology can help solve this issue in bringing in more resources to students they can adapt to while remaining engaging and not being a financial burden. One of the first groups to win a grant in this area is the Foundation for Learning Equality, whose new platform Kolibri has brought 7,000 videos and 26,000 interactive exercises to offline students in 160 countries. This year, Google technicians are expanding Learning Equality’s content library and working with them on UX/UI, content integration and video compression technologies.

Next, Google is looking to keep teachers trained and engaged through such technology and is helping local leaders invest in tools offering such. In 2015, only 13.5 percent of teachers passed the India Central Teacher Eligibility Test. The first grant to address this went to the Million Sparks Foundation’s ChalkLit, which utilizes an app to share public curriculum-aligned content to teachers. And in 2016, the Delhi State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) selected Million Sparks as their online capacity building partner to offer in-service training for 60,000 teachers.

Lastly, Google.org hopes to reach students in conflict zones, as 32 million primary-school aged children cannot reach traditional classrooms due to crisis or displacement. One of their grantees, War Child Holland, addresses this with a game-based system that allows for a year of lessons and exercises that align with that host country. When deployed in Sudan, results showed students learned at equal and worthy rates from the approach. War Child Holland is hoping to expand to reach 170,000 children by 2020 and reach significant numbers in the Middle East and Africa.

In order to stimulate technological promise across this region, Google.org is launching an “Impact Challenge” in Africa in 2018, where the most innovative and worthwhile ideas can earn almost $5 million in grants. Similar challenges have been completed in Brazil, India and the U.K. in the past. With the support and backing of major companies like Google, such already influential nonprofits in Africa and beyond will gain further means to improve lives and educate all those otherwise lacking access to adequate education in developing parts of the world.

Zar-Tashiya Khan

Photo: Flickr


Within the world of nonprofit work, many have incredible stories to share that expand others’ perspectives. Here is a list of books about nonprofits specifically focused on global poverty. Some are about what inspired certain organizations, some about the work that they do and some about behind-the-scenes logistics.

  1. “Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World” by Tracy Kidder; Founder of Partners in Health, Paul Farmer is a believer in change when change seems impossible. This book describes Farmer’s pursuit of improving global health by working in places from Harvard to Peru and Haiti. His goal is to cure the world because “the only real nation is humanity.” For a list of books about nonprofits, this one is a must.
  2. “Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights and the New War on the Poor” by Paul Farmer; Paul Farmer’s own book details his personal experiences working in developing countries. He describes the social and economic injustice that the poorer citizens of the world face and explains why it should be among everyone’s priorities to help. He writes with optimism, believing that our sense of justice will evolve with medical and social technology.
  3. “The Blue Sweater” by Jacqueline Novogratz; By blending personal stories and theory, Jacqueline Novogratz’s memoir demonstrates her approach to ending world poverty. Moving from credit analysis to nonprofit work, she started the Acumen Fund, which invests in ideas and companies fighting against poverty. She illustrates the global reach of the need for this kind of work by using personal stories from her travels.
  4. “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time” by Greg Mortenson; This is the story of one man’s journey from mountaineering to the school building in Pakistan. Mortenson’s 55 schools, many for girls, offer education in a dangerous place and illustrate the power one individual can have for change.
  5. “Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail” by Paul Polak; Polak focuses on a grassroots approach to ending poverty based on his 25 years of experience. He wants to help those who make less than a dollar per day stand on their own two feet rather than have developed countries swoop in and save them. His approach involves low-cost and innovative ways to implement change.
  6. “Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager’s Guide to Getting Results” by Alison Green and Jerry Hauser; Another highlight of management on the list of books about nonprofits, this one focuses on getting results through effective management skills. It reminds us that office work can be just as important as getting dirty on the ground.
  7. “Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits” by Leslie R. Crutchfield, Heather McLeod Grant and J. Gregory Dees; This book discusses the six characteristics that make 12 different nonprofits successful, especially when one looks at their levels of impact. Big or small, organizations can apply these six ideas to their own work, especially in the wake of the global recession.
  8. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins; As the title suggests, this book outlines certain companies that were able to go from average to amazing. Collins and his research team list seven characteristics that helped these companies build strong and long-term foundations for success.
  9. “The Networked Nonprofit” by Beth Kanter and Allison H. Fine; In today’s society, businesses rely heavily on social media to engage consumers, and nonprofits are no exception. In terms of books about nonprofits, this is another that focuses on management. Social media can be a great tool for raising awareness as well as fundraising and reaching donors.
  10. “A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability” by Vikram Akula; This personal story about the intersection between philanthropy and capitalism shows how business ideas can be applied to global problems. Akula writes about using capitalism to transform many of India’s poor citizens first into first consumers and then into business owners.

Everyone has a book, movie or song that completely changed the way he or she sees the world. Perhaps it was a particularly inspiring character or a plot that defied imagination. Often the most amazing stories humans tell each other are true.

Ellen Ray

Photo: Flickr


At least 1.3 million Ugandans face hunger following drought conditions and subsequent poor crop yields, according to a 2016 email statement from Christopher Kibazanga, Ugandan Minister of State for Agriculture. Among the harder hit were the citizens of the northeastern Karamoja region, with 65 percent of people having access to only half a meal or less per day.

Multiple nonprofits, however, have focused on eliminating Uganda food insecurity for decades and are still seeking long-term solutions to this crisis. Here are three nonprofit initiatives that are contributing to the fight against hunger in Uganda.

Hunger Project

Hunger Project has been working in Uganda since 1999, and utilizes an aid distribution method they refer to as an “epicenter strategy.” This method involves establishing community-built and community-facilitated mobilization centers that bring together multiple villages to share resources and address issues that affect all communities involved.

Over an eight-year timeframe, an epicenter addresses hunger and poverty while allowing communities to become sustainable and self-reliant, with the goal of being able to fund programs and activities without investor involvement.

Hunger Project has established 11 epicenters that serve 494 villages in total, reaching 287,807 people in all.

The World Food Programme

World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the Ugandan government, partners in the United Nations and nongovernment organizations to turn emergency responses to food insecurity into longer-term investments that seek to solve the root of the problems.

WFP supports approximately 70 percent of refugees in Uganda through monthly rations, cooked meals at transit centers and nutrition support for pregnant and nursing women and children aged between six months and five years.

This nonprofit program also organizes the distribution of 284 school meals to students in Karamoja. The meals include locally produced cereals, in hopes of facilitating local commerce.

Feed the Children

Since 2012, Feed the Children has provided health education to communities in northern Uganda. These services include school health programs that provide meals and vitamin supplements, as well as teaching teens about making good food choices, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

As of 2015, 274 children in early learning centers received meals through their schools, 118 children received vitamin A supplements and 302 children received deworming medicine.

Feed the Children also promotes community malnutrition detection education to increase the number of children that can access quality and timely treatment. This initiative advocates family health planning as a realistic and sustainable method to minimize hunger in Uganda.

Casie Wilson

Photo: Flickr

Academics Stand Against Poverty
The international organization Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) recently launched a new global program. The academic association’s new Global Colleagues program pairs senior poverty scholars with less experienced researchers working in the Global South.

The organization’s mission is to help scholars and teachers more efficiently address poverty’s most pressing issues. Partnering scholars on opposite ends of the globe will hopefully help to bridge the gap. The goal is for younger researchers to find better funding tools and have increased access to informative literature.

Experienced researchers will be able to offer support by helping their colleagues with international networking, offering reading recommendations and suggesting journals for publication. Applicants will be matched with senior researchers according to mutual interests, and potentially cross-regionally as well.

The partnership is scheduled to take place over the course of one year. During this period, the Global Colleagues team will provide additional support to the matched colleagues.

The colleagues will maintain regular contact and continually assess progress made in the achievement of agreed-upon goals. In this way, they will provide an informative example of international cooperation and partnership with the Global Colleagues Team.

Robert Lepenies, Global Colleagues project manager, has said that scholars at smaller research programs in southern countries have “untapped potential.” He hopes that ASAP’s first global flagship program will help newer scholars establish themselves in parts of the world where the study of poverty is limited.

Lepenies reassures that it will indeed be a two-way partnership. While academics in the earlier stages of their career will be helped tremendously by the new global partnership, older scholars will also be exposed to new poverty perspectives. Because poverty is a much more prominent issue in the Global South, this is especially true.

Hari Sharma, one of the junior researchers from the Nepal School of Social Science and Humanities, offered some perspective on the partnership. As someone in a developing country, he explained that it will be particularly helpful to be in a network with others who can direct him towards more funding opportunities.

Sharma also hopes to provide his partner, Sonia Bhalotra, with some new perspective. Bhalotra, a professor at the University of Essex in Britain, is hopeful that by sharing her knowledge with Sharma, she will be able to help him expand his career. She does not, however, expect to gain much out of the program.

She explained that it takes a lot of time and effort for junior scholars to singlehandedly attempt to make contributions to the field. In comparison, it takes only a small amount of effort from more established academics to provide the help they need to achieve their goals.

With only a few weeks under the new program’s belt, it will be some time before it can possibly be judged as a success or failure. Regardless of the outcome, the leading academics studying poverty deserve a round of applause for attempting to employ connective international tools to solve a worldwide problem.

Sarah Bernard

Sources: Academics Stand, Inside Highered
Photo: Relational Poverty Network

start a nonprofit
Have you ever wondered what it takes to start a nonprofit? Extensive questioning and research are, unsurprisingly, pretty important, but such large steps can be daunting. Such steps can be intimidating, too; with a hasty research phase, a commendable mission may falter underneath shoddy business planning, or maybe a solid business plan is built only to support a redundant, unspectacular mission. The roads to failure are numerous.

This is not meant to disappoint anyone. Although failure is easy, scrupulous work and copious help make starting a nonprofit feasible. There are a myriad of nonprofits that role model this success story-The Borgen Project included. To help you begin thinking about starting a nonprofit (or simply to inform anyone interested in the nonprofit thought process), here is a compilation of imperative questions to aid you in your research, with a little Borgen flare.

 

Key Questions:

 

1. You’re not flying solo, are you?

The answer should be simple: no. It is unrealistic to rely on a single committed person (presumably yourself) to carry the nonprofit (to carry it very far, that is). Before any nonprofit takes flight, there must be a team (the more, the merrier) of enthusiastic and inspired people to propel the project forward. If your passion is contagious, you’re off to a good start.

2. What resources do you think you will need, and why are they important?

While starting a nonprofit, having a detailed business plan and outline is integral. It allows you to establish a few practical points, examining both the efficacy and the originality of your nonprofit before it’s too late to reverse a bad decision.

For example, if there are similar organizations to your proposed one, instead of forming another, try what is called “fiscal sponsorship.” This means that your initiative becomes umbrellaed by a larger veteran nonprofit. Basically, this tax-exempt organization serves as the recipient of charitable donations to your organization, which would not yet be recognized as tax-exempt. It allows your project to grow (maybe one day allowing it to branch off on its own) without competing with identical nonprofits.

The second, just as important, benefit of a thorough business plan is that it gives you a comprehensive (and requisite) understanding of fiscal resources. If this sounds boring, sorry, but, too bad. Although establishing your goals, structure, budget, marketing plan and resource development/fundraising aren’t flashy, they are all important. This gives you time to think about partnerships as well – they can keep your nonprofit alive.

The Borgen Project has teams dedicated to working the logistics of the nonprofit. Clint Borgen may be the face of the organization, but without fundraisers, organizers or even interns, The Borgen Project would not be very effective.

3. What’s that avalanche of paperwork doing over there, and who can I go to to get rid of it?

Paperwork can be both dull and frustrating, and filing to become a registered nonprofit is no different. It is necessary in order to secure recognition at the state level and to become tax-exempt at the federal level. If you do at any time need help finding your way through this process, go to both friends and professionals. Friends can be supportive and offer helpful advice, but ultimately you will want to consult experts before making any serious decisions. Finding lawyers who specialize in tax-exempt organizations or nonprofit law will, in all likelihood, prove to be a rewarding course of action.

– Adam Kaminski

Sources: Grant Space, National Council of Nonprofits, About.com
Photo: Mashable

Pages

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/29/17

 

Facebook’s History of Annoying Nonprofits

Charging nonprofits to post to their own followers is among the many questionable deeds the social media giant has quietly gotten away with.

 

SEATTLE, WA — If you follow your favorite nonprofit on Facebook, you might be surprised to learn that Facebook charges it to post updates to its own followers.

When The Borgen Project recently posted to its Facebook followers that a major poverty-reduction bill, on which many of them had worked, had passed in Congress, the post was only visible to 1,700 of the organization’s 29,000 followers. To reach every Facebook follower, The Borgen Project would have had to buy Facebook ads. Many nonprofits have spent years building their Facebook following only to realize their social media strength is useless without paying Facebook every time they need to post.

“We call it the Facebook punch,” said Clint Borgen, President of The Borgen Project. “Every couple of years they quietly implement something and we get stuck with a giant mess of consequences to deal with.”

Early this year, The Borgen Project became aware of some donations being made but not received. It was discovered that when volunteers shared a link on Facebook to their online fundraising profile on The Borgen Project’s website, potential donors would be redirected to a page to donate via Facebook.

The company initially marketed the redirect as a public service and stated the credit card processing fees went to its nonprofit partner Network for Good. However, by August, Facebook began encouraging nonprofits to sign up to receive the donations via the company’s own payment platform instead of via their nonprofit partner, Network for Good.

“For The Borgen Project, both options meant losing a larger percentage of the donation to merchant fees than if the link had just sent people to the organization’s website as the person posting the link intended,” Borgen said.

“Despite Facebook’s aims of promoting social good and connecting people to the causes that are important to them, it’s clear that its primary goal remains to monetize the relationship between nonprofits and their supporters.”

####

Organization: The Borgen Project
Phone: 206-715-9529
Email: [email protected]
Website: borgenproject.org