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Starting a Nonprofit in a Bad Economy

Sounds like scary stuff, doesn’t it?  The decision to start a nonprofit organization is difficult in the best of circumstances.  But in a downright frightening economic climate, does it make any sense at all?  Some experts are predicting that this economy may doom up to 100,000 existing charities this year.  Could you possibly pick a worse time?

Let’s acknowledge the obvious.  The economy stinks.  People are rightfully worried.  And while there is always risk inherent in starting a new venture, now seems riskier than it did a couple of years ago when you first thought about it.  True, true, and true again.  But let’s examine why now may be the best time ever.

As the economy sours, government is going to be able to do less and less.  Oh, sure, the new administration has promised everything from cradle-to-grave health care to the dawn of a new age.  But let’s get real…regardless of your political persuasion, the emperor (and his minions) have no clothes.  Politicians may lie, but numbers don’t.  The public funds just aren’t there.  Unfortunately, another truth is that many families, and even entire communities, are hurting…and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

So what does all this mean?  It means that now more than ever, the nation needs private, charitable organizations to fill the gap.  The need is great and growing greater.  Maybe your idea is the one that your community really needs right now.  You ask, “But how can we do it in this economy?”  For sure, if ever you needed to work smarter, not harder, it’s now.  Charities will have to be able to do more with less.  Those running organizations will have to pinch every penny.

But, it can be done.  Americans are the most giving people on the planet.  No other country impacts the world charitably like the US.  When people see a program that is touching lives, it touches their hearts.  Even in the midst of some very painful times, America still gives…especially to a well communicated vision.

Already in this short year, we have spoken with nearly 250 people who are planning to make 2009 the year they launch their ship.  Kudos to them.  What better time than when it’s needed most.

Greg McRay, EA

Greg McRay, EA

Greg McRay is the founder and CEO of The Foundation Group. He is registered with the IRS as an Enrolled Agent and specializes in 501(c)(3) and other tax exemption issues.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. One huge advantage is that a non profit say for example “Day Care Center”, utilizes a building for it’s day care that qualifies for 501(c)(3) status. The owner of the property can apply for (and most counties will accept) tax exemption on that property as long as it is being used by that charitable organization. The day care can propose this option to an owner needing someone to lease his building. The day care center ask for discounted lease, the owner receives tax exemption on the property, and both win. Plus the owner now has an occupant in his building,

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