Monday, January 08, 2007


Does the LA Coroner Need Money?
by Pam Ashlund

Back in December I wrote a post on Earned Income Strategies for Nonprofits addressing the topic from a philosophical point of view; but looking back it seems too abstract. It's time to talk hands-on people!

Sometimes it's hard to get your mind around the idea of nonprofits running money making enterprises. In the first place, we aren't in business to make money; in the second place, how could we make money and still fulfill our mission?

It all sounds like one of those loopholes that is too good to be true. Make money and fullfill your mission? Since income that is unrelated to your purpose is taxable, it follows that there must be the concept of "related" income.

If we can't make money on our own, are we doomed to live at the whim of government funding or continue begging for change from our ever more impatient patrons?

How many foundations offer funding to start up or build capacity? Many. How many offer funding to run normal ongoing operations? Zilch.

So what is an entrepenurial nonprofit manager to do? Enter the marriage of "Money" and "Mission".

What better example than the income generating strategy created by the LA Coroner's office. Selling items with a tongue-in-cheek take, lie a "toe-tag key chain". Take a closer look at the tag and find a message: "this could be you . . . Please don't drink and drive."

All of their products aren't educational, but even still, all the profits go to Youthful Drunk Driving Visitation Program (YDDVP).

Want to read the rest of the story? Check out Lofty Thoughts (another Blog brought to you by Pam.)

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