do more than just write a check or join a board [to get a program off the ground],” Campbell says. “You have to be engaged in the process.” Ask similar organizations how they finance their operations.
BE CREATIVE IN FUNDING YOUR CAUSE
For example, if you tutor kids, will you rely on volunteers or pay teachers? Can you convince a business or community center to donate space or offer a reduced rent?
It may be best to approach your project with a core group of three to five people who will be responsible for finding financing for the organization and doing most of the work. Have this core group pitch in with start-up costs and donated services to finance your first year.
GET YOUR BUSINESS OR EMPLOYER INVOLVED
Ask your employer if you might use a conference room or if it can donate administrative services for your program. If you own a business, there may be tax benefits to lending support to a nonprofit corporation. Some corporations have a matching fund program or charitable foundation you can tap into.
“When Pride First began, Credit Suisse First Boston allowed them to use office space, which saved between 15% and 20% annually,” says McEvilley. The company still supports Pride First even though Campbell no longer works there.
INVOLVE FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES
Leverage your network of personal and business associates to lend their skills, advice, and financial support. An accountant friend may offer bookkeeping advice and associates in the investment community may help raise funds. “A lawyer friend of Campbell’s set up Pride First’s nonprofit status on a pro bono basis,” says McEvilley. Some of Campbell’s business contacts also serve on the organization’s board of directors.