Starting and Managing a Nonprofit Organization: A Legal Guide

By Bruce R. Hopkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY
Putting Ideas into Action
It is one thing to have an idea; putting the idea into actual practice is something else. The chapters in this part of the book are offered to stimulate ideas rather than to prescribe firm solutions for particular problems. Starting and operating a nonprofit organization is a relatively common undertaking. Planned giving, subsidiaries, joint ventures, and partnerships are not so common, however, and not all of these possibilities are suitable for all nonprofit organizations at all times. The intent is not to overlook a possibility that can prove useful for a particular organization.When approaching key decisions of this sort, professional guidance is a must. Fees for lawyers, accountants, or management or fundraising consultants may seem unaffordable at first, but the money is usually well spent.
JOINT VENTURES
A joint venture basically is any undertaking involving two (or more) organizations. In the context of nonprofit organizations, the venturers can both be nonprofits, or one can be a nonprofit and one a for-profit organization.Most joint ventures are the products of decisions that two heads are better than one. A pooling of resources occurs. Partnerships, more so than other forms of joint ventures, pool financial resources. Most often, a joint venture is an aggregation of programs: One organization has a program resource and the other organization has another program resource, and the purpose of the joint venture can only be accomplished (or can be better accomplished) through a blending of the two.From the standpoint of a nonprofit organization, two general outcomes are possible:
1. It will be approached by another organization that is seeking access to one of its resources.
2. It will seek out a resource of another organization, to carry out one of its own desired programs.

The management of a nonprofit organization should always have an ongoing business plan that includes an inventory of what the organization is doing or wishes to do. From the inventory, management may discover that the organization lacks the resources to undertake a particular project. Some nonprofit managers might give up at this point. Others may expend the effort needed to purchase the personnel, equipment, or other resources necessary to tackle the project.

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