When Personal Project Turns into a Non-Profit - How to deal with Fiscal Responsibilities
Updated: May 11, 2019
When I made my commitment to the Heroes I thought I would be doing one big splash event and it would be over. But over time I realized that the problem I was trying to bring attention too was too big to think it would be solved by riding my horse 2300 miles and talking about Equine Assisted Therapy and our heroes suffering from PTSD.
It started off easy pealing off money from our personal savings to promote this or that along the way and as that pool of funds started to dwindle and the road ahead grew even more dawnting it became obvious that we needed to incorporate and become a non-profit.
Now I find I've become "cheap" in my thinking. More so than when I was using my own money. There are many non-profits that are huge corporations and with that comes salaries, insurance, and off course whatever cause they are spending money on. Sometimes the operation costs grow and they can't find their way back to a manageable size. This takes away from what goes out to the causes they are working on. And like Wounded Warriers who came under fire for the large salaries it paid its executives; takes away from an organizations good name.
So as I viewed our own organization and its potential for growth I looked deep into my heart to analyse the needs, wish list and required expenses. We need to be able to get anywhere within the United States with our Horses. We need to make an entrance if it is just the sight of our truck and trailer cruising into a City. The attention to us and what we are doing is what gives us the platform to talk about the problems that face our Heroes. We need to be able to get donations so that we can support our Stables doing good work and help our heroes needing Equine Therapy. Note our name isn't specific to horses and we allow some latitude to help in other areas if need be. We need a good reputation at all times.
Our Wish list is modest. We wish we had more volunteers. We wish we had more donors. We wish we had more time to do the work needed (this leads back to volunteers).
We have to pay for website, business cards, signage and some swag for volunteers. We will have to pay for insurance and maintenance of the truck and trailer. We have to pay to feed horses being used for our work and keep them shoed when they will be used for two consecutive weeks or more.
I went back and looked at a post I had done on Facebook and it fits perfectly in what we are discussing. This is the post.
In 5 years if I am still sitting on a couple of old rickety folding chairs with a small folding table, a kitchen table cloth, a quick banner from Fastsigns, all alone...I will be able to say that I tried to do all I could for our heros. If I 5 years I walk past this table with a couple of old rickety folding chairs, a small folding table, a kitchen table cloth and quick banner from Fastsigns, and see it manned by others outside a therapy stable with a few heroes around then I can say I know our stewartship over our Trek for Hero funds was responsible. If in 10 years I am pushing through stuff in my garage and a carton turns up with old t shirt, and old table cloth I will weep and ask why I couldn't get anyone to step up for our heros. If in 10 years I am pressing the old table cloth and rushing our to see the next Messenger off...then only then...will I take time to be proud.
None of this can happen without the help and support of donors and volunteers. And the cause is good and our heroes in need.
I made a pledge to have our heroes backs for as long as I live. Is it time for you to take up the torch if it be by donation or work. We need everyone involved. After all, they are serving you too.