Earned income for nonprofits can be an ambiguous topic when it comes to most organizations, because if you dig in more, you’ll find a lot of merchandise and coffee. We’re not knocking coffee or a nice shirt, but it usually doesn’t go much deeper.
Many organizations have something right at the tip of their mission, waiting to earn revenue – but they just don’t have the development available to make it happen. And finding these sources could make sense for you. Vu Le sat down with us in this episode to talk about some of the pros and cons of finding and working towards the sustainability of earned income.
Fundraising isn’t everything when you consider meeting the bottom line for a nonprofit. Just because we have a separate tax standing doesn’t mean that we should only focus on gifts. Though it doesn’t fit for every organization and it’s not a silver bullet for solving every deficit problem, finding ways to make money raises your bottom line and gives your organization more financial freedom.
A commonly asked question when it comes to earning money to cover costs is whether or not you’re going to lose your 501(c)(3) status. It’s important to remember that mission-related income is okay, but you’re going to run into problems with the IRS if you operate a thrift shop and your mission is to “save the whales.”
The Girl Scouts and their devilishly delicious cookies are a great example. They use the business model to teach young girls business and leadership skills while contributing to their bottom line.
To get more insight on the overhead myth, earned income opportunities for nonprofits and building creativity in the sector, check out our latest Hubcast episode with Vu Le.