Thinking of entrepreneurs and multinational organizations, we talk about the humongous profits they have generated since their inception. Flip the coin, and we see a good number of them rendering service to the society by creating non-profits with specific purposes.
Establishing and running a non-profit business is highly rewarding and inspires you to make a meaningful difference in society. It’s a fitting way to give back to your community. In the process, you also stand a chance to receive public and private donations and enjoy tax-exempt status.
However, like any business, starting a non-profit organization demands strenuous effort with utmost dedication and thorough planning. You need todo some groundwork and follow the important steps to successfully combat any challenges that throw up.
Identify the mission
This is the most important step that clearly communicates your non-profit’s purpose. Whatever glaring issues you see in your community, you can put it across in words that inspire action. The mission can serve as a guide to develop and expand your non-profit business. The mission should attract funding sources and key players to join hands for the betterment of society.
Apply for a Non-Profit Status
This should be done at the earliest since it can take a couple of years to get the approval. It’s great to seek legal help from an advocate with a solid background. You should apply for the tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. You can also apply for federaltax-exempt status only if you meet certain conditions. It’s important to keep all legal requirements in place during the early stages.
Develop Your Leadership Team
Your team of board of directors and volunteers is the driving force of your non-profit set up. This team is the one that supports fundraising and outreach efforts and also provides insights for development.Your board will be responsible for recruiting, board development, training and evaluation to ensure long-term success. Having independent members helps guard against misuse of charitable assets and prevents a conflict of interest.
Create a Website with an Online Donation Page
A website for your non-profit is a powerful marketing tool that can attract numerous visitors who think alike. It’s important to give specific information about your organization and future plans and developments.An online donation page can kick start your fundraising campaign immediately and proves to be effective in the long run.
Legally Incorporate Your Non-Profit to Begin Operations
This is crucial as incorporating your non-profit with a specific structure gives credibility to services rendered. Importantly, it limits the liability of your team members and board of directors. Your business can produce organizing documents and governance policies to the IRS.
Find Local Partners for Support
Identifying and tying up with local partners within your community can do wonders for the business and society. The local network builds your brand’s reputation and keeps the momentum going. They will particularly be important for outreaching activities and to unlock potential donors. These can include:
- Local businesses
- Other non-profit organizations
- Municipal offices in the locality
- Schools and colleges in the surroundings
Secure Initial Funding
Finding fundraisers and attracting grants can be a major challenge during the initial stages. Your team and the local network play a prominent role in helping your non-profit secure initial funding. It’s also important to educate your team about the grant writing process. Do thorough research and follow the steps of grant writing.
You have to identify grant opportunities and refine your goals and strategy before going ahead. Having a powerful case for support can be an added bonus to attract donors.
Keep Developing Your Brand
Having a brilliant idea to serve society is one thing. Getting people to talk about it and garner their interest is another. Switch gears and encourage your supporters to go all out while you take actions to go viral online. This has to be a continuous process and, it takes patience and creativity to see through.
Get Ready with Annual Reporting Requirements
Since your non-profit is exempt from tax, you have to file form 990 with the IRS. It’s open to public inspection and comprises of the programs & activities, the finances, the policies, the board of directors and other important staff members. You must organize the annual reporting requirements on the lines of your state’s legal requirements.
Plan for Growth
The hard work has paid off. You have successfully kick-started your non-profit venture. But don’t stop there. Plan for the future and make efforts to invest your time and money in your non-profit’s growth and expansion. Develop a blueprint of the plan with specific actions to incorporate to make the process smoother.
You can empower your non-profit with some state-of-the-art tools like:
- Automated CRM system
- Advanced digital donations tools
- Robotic marketing systems
- Tools for volunteer and member management
Adjust and adapt
Your non-profit’s strategic planning should encourage external professionals to pitch in their ideas and offer suggestions for growth. Down the line, a certain program may no longer serve your purpose. You have to welcome new perspectives and create new events to foster excitement among volunteers and the public. It’s all about adjusting and adapting to the situation and the changing demands.
The Most Common Mistakes Most Non-Profits Commit
Alright, we have gone through a detailed study of the important processes required to be followed in ensuring a successful non-profit venture. However, there are some common mistakes nearly all non-profits are susceptible to. It’s important to be aware of them and take measures to prevent them from haring your non-profit venture. These are:
Poor research and planning
Not planning enough is a sure-fire way to let your non-profit dreams go down the drain. This happens due to a lack of researching and without a clear evaluation of the challenges and sources of funding.
Lack of financial knowledge
Most founders have unrealistic expectations about funding and have no idea about how much it costs, including the source. Not setting up a sound financial system weakens the foundation and cannot sustain itself in the long run.
Assuming it’s easy to start a non-profit
This is a leading mistake most founders commit while planning to start a non-profit. Incorporating a non-profit and applying for exempt status with all the requirements is a lengthy and strenuous process. A logical approach, with unbound passion, is critical.
Not building an effective board
Your board members are the source of influencing and inspiring the public about your non-profit. An ineffective board spells doom for your venture as it fails to draw volunteers and donors; important to ensure success and growth of your non-profit organization.
Not building a strong rapport with donors
What’s the point of all the planning and execution with a strong board of directors if you don’t strike a good relationship with donors? Remember, fundraising is all about building and nurturing a healthy relationship with your donors. You have to stay in touch with them and show gratitude even after receiving funds.
By doing this, you will be able to build a network of donors who will be more than happy to make worthwhile contributions to your non-profit. Also, seek different donors and never stick to just one. You stand a greater chance of raising more funds when you have a network of donors to approach.
Maintaining your non-profit’s confidentiality is the essence of maintaining the reputation of the organization and of society. By breaking confidentiality, you clearly give a wrong impression to the public and, that can be detrimental to your organization’s success.
Not cultivating board diversity
Your initial board can include your friends and family members. However, creating vacancies only for other friends and relatives can limit expansion possibilities and creates a lack of awareness. Members from diverse backgrounds can bring in distinct skills and varied insights to ensure success and create better awareness in society.
A Final Word
Just like for-profits businesses, non-profit setups too face several challenges. Tasting success takes time and, the support you expected isn’t overwhelming initially. However, it’s important not to let discouragement take over your dreams and potential goals.
Take all the time required to organize your plan and keep a checklist of the measures critical for your non-profit. Do in-depth research, gather extensive knowledge about non-profits and keep an action plan ready for potential challenges that may arise.
Remember, you did not venture into non-profit because it’s easy. The only motto of any non-profit organization is to make the world and the communities that reside in a better place favourable to all.
Now that you have made the decision to start your own non-profit, educate yourself with the entire gamut of the process to initiate, develop and progress towards bigger goals. Be a continuous learner and always seek resources (online & elsewhere) to arm you with the latest insights and procedures. And, always seek insights from other non-profits, including professional advice from those who know the changing needs of society.
Exclusive: China’s Huawei, reeling from U.S. sanctions, plans foray into EVs – sources
By Julie Zhu and Yilei Sun
HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Huawei plans to make electric vehicles under its own brand and could launch some models this year, four sources said, as the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, battered by U.S. sanctions, explores a strategic shift.
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is in talks with state-owned Changan Automobile and other automakers to use their car plants to make its electric vehicles (EVs), according to two of the people familiar with the matter.
Huawei is also in discussions with Beijing-backed BAIC Group’s BluePark New Energy Technology to manufacture its EVs, said one of the two and a separate person with direct knowledge of the matter.
The plan heralds a potentially major shift in direction for Huawei after nearly two-years of U.S. sanctions that have cut its access to key supply chains, forcing it to sell a part of its smartphone business to keep the brand alive.
Huawei was placed on a trade blacklist by the Trump administration over national security concerns. Many industry executives see little chance that blocks on the sale of billions of dollars of U.S. technology and chips to the Chinese company, which has denied wrongdoing, will be reversed by his successor.
A Huawei spokesman denied the company plans to design EVs or produce Huawei branded vehicles.
“Huawei is not a car manufacturer. However through ICT (information and communications technology), we aim to be a digital car-oriented and new-added components provider, enabling car OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to build better vehicles.”
Huawei has started internally designing the EVs and approaching suppliers at home, with the aim of officially launching the project as early as this year, three of the sources said.
Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group who led the company to become one of the world’s largest smartphone makers, will shift his focus to EVs, said one source. The EVs will target a mass-market segment, another source said.
All the sources declined to be named as the discussions are private.
Chongqing-based Changan, which is making cars with Ford Motor Co, declined to comment. BAIC BluePark did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Shares of Changan’s main listed company Chongqing Changan Automobile rose 8% after Reuters reported the discussions. BluePark’s shares jumped by their maximum 10% daily limit.
GROWING EV MARKET
Chinese technology firms have been stepping up their focus on EVs in the world’s biggest market for such vehicles, as Beijing heavily promotes greener vehicles as a means of reducing chronic air pollution.
Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs), including pure battery electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, are expected to make up 20% of China’s overall annual auto sales by 2025.
Industry forecasts put China’s NEV sales at 1.8 million units this year, up from about 1.3 million in 2020.
Huawei’s ambitious plans to make its own cars will see it join a raft of Asian tech companies that have made similar announcements in recent months, including Baidu Inc and Foxconn.
“The novel and complicated U.S. restrictions on semiconductors to Huawei have slowly been strangling the company,” said Dan Wang, a technology analyst with research firm Gavekal Dragonomics.
“So it makes sense that the company is pivoting to less chip-intensive industries in order to maintain operations.”
In the United States, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc are also developing auto-related technology or investing in smart-car startups.
Huawei has been developing a swathe of technologies for EVs for years including in-car software systems, sensors for automobiles and 5G communications hardware.
The company has also formed partnerships with automakers such as Daimler AG, General Motors Co and SAIC Motor to jointly develop smart auto technologies.
It has accelerated hiring of engineers for auto-related technologies since 2018.
Huawei was awarded at least four patents related to EVs this week, including methods for charging between electric vehicles and for checking battery health, according to official Chinese patent records.
Huawei’s push into the EV market is currently separate from a joint smart vehicle company it co-founded along with Changan and EV battery maker CATL in November, two of the sources said.
(Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Yilei Sun in Beijing; additional reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Richard Pullin)
Facebook switches news back on in Australia, signs content deals
By Renju Jose and Jonathan Barrett
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Facebook Inc ended a one-week blackout of Australian news on its popular social media site on Friday and announced preliminary commercial agreements with three small local publishers.
The moves reflected easing tensions between the U.S. company and the Australian government, a day after the country’s parliament passed a law forcing it and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay local media companies for using content on their platforms.
The new law makes Australia the first nation where a government arbitrator can set the price Facebook and Google pay domestic media to show their content if private negotiations fail. Canada and other countries have shown interest in replicating Australia’s reforms.
“Global tech giants, they are changing the world but we can’t let them run the world,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, adding that Big Tech must be accountable to sovereign governments.
Facebook, whose 8-day ban on Australian media captured global attention, said it had signed partnership agreements with Schwartz Media, Solstice Media and Private Media. The trio own a mix of publications, including weekly newspapers, online magazines and specialist periodicals.
Facebook did not disclose the financial details of the agreements, which will become effective within 60 days if a full deal is signed.
“These agreements will bring a new slate of premium journalism, including some previously paywalled content, to Facebook,” the social media company said in a statement.
The non-binding agreements allay some fears that small Australian publishers would be left out of revenue-sharing deals with Facebook and Google.
“It’s never been more important than it is now to have a plurality of voices in the Australian press,” said Schwartz Media Chief Executive Rebecca Costello.
Facebook on Tuesday struck a similar agreement with Seven West Media, which owns a free-to-air television network and the main metropolitian newspaper in the city of Perth.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp has said it was also in talks with Facebook.
Google Australia managing director Mel Silva said in a statement published on Friday the company had found a “constructive path to support journalism”.
She thanked Australian users of the search engine for “bearing with us while we’ve sent you messages about this issue”.
Facebook and Google threatened for months to pull core services from Australia if the media laws, which some industry players claim are more about propping up ailing local media, took effect.
While Google struck deals with several publishers including News Corp as the legislation made its way through parliament, Facebook took the more drastic step of blocking all news content in Australia.
That stance led to amendments to the laws, including giving the government the power to exempt Facebook or Google from mandatory arbitration, and Facebook on Friday began restoring the Australian news sites.
(Reporting by Renju Jose and Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Richard Pullin and Jane Wardell)
China’s factory activity growth likely moderated during February holiday lull – Reuters poll
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s factory activity likely grew at a slightly slower rate in February as factories closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, a Reuters poll showed, although growth is expected to remain firm, buoyed by an early resumption of production.
The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) is expected to dip marginally to 51.1 in February from 51.3 in January, according to the median forecast of 20 economists polled by Reuters. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity on a monthly basis.
Chinese factories typically scale back operations or close for lengthy periods around the Lunar New Year holiday, which fell in the middle of February this year.
However, the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the winter had prompted local governments and companies to dissuade workers from travelling back to their hometowns, giving a boost to the earlier-than-usual resumption of production at many factories, analysts say.
“Although government COVID-19 prevention measures may constrain some manufacturing activities in the near-term, the fact that a majority of migrant workers stayed in their workplace cities for the holiday should facilitate an earlier resumption of business activity following the holiday this year,” said analysts at Nomura in a note to client on Thursday.
Wang Zhishen, a migrant worker from Gansu, told Reuters that his factory, a manufacturer of logistics boxes in the manufacturing hub of Dongguan, only closed for three days during the holiday, thanks to overwhelming businesses. Lured by the 1,500-yuan cash subsidy his factory offered, he chose to work through the holiday.
The Chinese economy has largely shaken off the gloom from the COVID-19 health crisis, with consumers opening up their wallets after months of hesitation. Growth is now set to rebound sharply this quarter, also helped by the low base effect of a year ago.
The country has successfully curbed the domestic transmission of the COVID-19 virus in northern China, with the national health authority reporting zero new local cases for the 11th straight day. Cities that were on lockdown have since vowed to push for a work resumption at full speed.
The official PMI, which largely focuses on big and state-owned firms, and its sister survey on the services sector, will both be released on Sunday.
The private Caixin manufacturing PMI will be published on Monday. Analysts expect the headline reading will dip slightly to 51.4 from 51.5 in January.
(Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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