Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you a
Computer / IT professional?
Join Tek-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Tek-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.


Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

I am currently in the Denver area and I volunteer alot. I currently have my CCNA and MIS. Throughout my travels I have found that the non-profits get the worst support ever. I mean along the lines of we will set it up then its up to you to keep it runnings.

Now I know that most cant pay for any tech support and thats where I think I can help. I am looking to start my own non-profit that will provide Techical support to other non-profits, schools, etc. Does this seem like a feasible idea or am I totally on the wrong track.

Any help or ideas are totally welcome

Antony Nolan

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

I guess my question would be do you know how you fund yourself?

I undertake small jobs for people and instead of them paying me they donate to a charity I also work for, and this means the charity can afford to pay for the support that I'm not able to provide. But I still have to pay my mortgage and stuff, so all of that is in my own time.

I'm sure you've thought of that already, but that was just the first thing that entered my mind.


The question should be Is it worth trying to do? not Can it be done?

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

The non-profit area is a series of land mines waiting for you to misstep.

It would probably be better to have any funding you might receive directed to your supported charities for the specific cause of system support. That will keep your fund source clear of IRS issues and you clear of the reporting requirements.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

The non-profit laws are fairly complex and vary from state to state.  Even if you take away the income/tax issues, you usually need to provide a valuable charitable or public extra benefit. Further, you need to run all this by your local government before you get started.

It sounds like you have identified a good market for your skills. Why don't you consider forming a proprietorship or a corporation?  There are a lot of companies out there that focus on service over profit.

Good luck!

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

From what i have been researching the non-profit arena seems to be complex and difficult via tax and income reasons. I realize now that just a dream and alittle knowlegde doesnt = success.

From what ive been told I will need a lawyer for filing the initial paperwork.

I like to idea of having client donate to a charity that I work for to avoid tax/income issues but the service over profit idea seems very feasible.

I guess the real issue would be funding. I signed up to take some workshops on how to start and manage a non-profit because the waters seem to get murky when it comes to grants and donations. currently we have another non-profit that will be sponsoring us but im kinda at a stand still after that.

The info you all are providing is excellent, from my initial proding this seems like an niche idea that just might have some bearing to it, now all i have to do is work REALLY hard lol

Atleast I know its not a stupid idea

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

I'd recommend creating a business plan to assist you in defining and planning your business.  It will help you identify and quantify the risks you're facing.  It will also help you create a clear strategy and identify your strengths. Most libraries (and a quick internet search) should have the information to get you started.

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

I have currently been working on a business plan to complement my idea and what-not. The problem im having is the dang financials?? Im really bad at that kind of stuff. Im hoping to recruit and accountant that might be able to help me understand some of the more complicated issues.

But there are some very good canned business plans out there that I have found so we will see how it goes.

i will let you all know of my progess

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

And a lawyer,  can't do without one, as much as you would like too.   If you have to pay for the legal advise it will take all of the fun out of it for you.  

Jim C.

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

Yeah im reading about all the steps for getting non-profit tax exemption and I realize im a nub when it comes to that kind of stuff. I checked with a local gov agency and they offered to provide a small amount of free legal advice but that paperwork is DEEP

Looks like I will be hittin up my local universities for law students lol... "hey... it will boost your resume"


RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea


I like to idea of having client donate to a charity that I work for to avoid tax/income issues

Ummm... not sure of the legality of that....


schools, etc.

From my experience, schools don't need a cut-rate on their support.  90% of their telecommunications costs and internet costs (at least in the U.S.) are paid for by your taxes.  Here, our schools are supported by a cooperative, which charges the school something like $60 an hour, they get pretty much whatever they want for internet access (because the school only has to pay 10% of the bill anyway, so who cares if it cost 3x as much?)

Sorry... if I sound a little bitter about this, but our school district cut music, art, and a bunch of other classes, and instead bought the teachers new desktop computers, PLUS new laptop computers, and SmartBoards for their classrooms.  Oh, and teachers still get paid for 12 months when they only work 9.....

And did I mention that since I have no children living at home, I pay MORE in taxes than people WITH children in school?

<grumble>  I'll shut up now.

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea


They work 9 months and get paid for 9 months.  Some may choose to take their pay over 12 months.  Some teachers are worth every penny and some aren't, and thanks for the "No children living at home, I pay MORE", my last one is finishing High School this year, and every little bit helps.

Jim C.

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

I shouldn't have gone on with that rant.  I'm just frustrated that my own daughter FINALLY got an IEP, after I had been begging the school for one for 3 years... after she failed 10th grade TWICE.

Oh, and yes, she fell into that "90% of students who are held back 2 years are at risk of dropping out completely".  Yup.  Dropped out.  "No child left behind" my @*#%$&(.

Ok... sorry... again....

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage


RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea


I feel your pain,  my wife is a reading specialist,  testing, diagnostics, design, and implementation to correct whatever.   We goes on continually about certain teachers that don't want her to eval their kids because they take it as a personal attack on their abilities.  Also schools try to deny the additional attention needed, just to save money.  You have to hit them where it hurts, that's right, the pocket book.   They do have an unfair advantage, in that they can use a school dept lawyer to represent their interest, and you have to hire one.   You have to incorporate the scorched earth defense and sue everybody collectively and personally.  That usually gets their attention.   They don't get the first rule, it's all about the kids, all of the kids.

Jim C.

RE: Want to start a non-profit... Good Idea/Bad Idea

I currently work as the only IT person for a Non-Profit.

Most of our funding comes from grants, and most grants these days will not pay for on-going personnel costs, but they often will pay for 1 time consulting costs.

If you are serious about supporting non-profits, it would probably be best to set up a for profit company and then have non-profit rates for non-profits.  You can charge normal rates  to companies that can afford it and use that profit to help cover the costs for helping non-profits at very low rates.

Often times non-profits will get new hardware/software with a grant and even include money to pay IT professionals to install it.  You will often get paid for that part, but then they won't have the money to pay for on going technical support that most for profit companies like to charge an arm and a leg for.  You could bundle X amount of free support for them and that would really help most non-profits out.

gbaughma -

In California, Schools and certain Non-Profits can qualify for the California Teleconnect Fund, which pays 50% of their flat telecommunication costs, not 90%.  Since the same idiot administrators who cut music, art and other classes don't like to pay for any IT costs as well, this is a good thing, not a bad thing.


Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Tek-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Tek-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Tek-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Tek-Tips and talk with other members!


Close Box

Join Tek-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical computer professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Tek-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close