The Painted Turtle, a camp
that serves ill children,
relies on donations to
accomplish its mission.
STUDIO 1501/TOM HINCKLEY
Charities’ challenges mirror those of small businesses job
By Anita Thompson
THE PAINTED TURTLE child-
In the following pages we’ll look at these Just because an organization is classified
four challenges and learn how some nonprof- as a nonprofit doesn’t mean it can’t earn
ren’s camp is not your typical non- its are successfully meeting them. money. Many nonprofits have launched
profit start-up. Launched in 2002 by profit-making ventures that not only support CAPITAL their mission but also serve as a training
actor Paul Newman and Page Adler, While small businesses rely on loans, angel ground for their beneficiaries. A pioneer in
investors or friends and family (and, eventu- this approach is Rubicon Programs Inc.,
wife of record producer Lou Adler, it ally, profits) to finance their growth, nonprof- based in Richmond, California. Rubicon has
its seek funding from foundations or by been running a landscaping service since
is the sixth of Newman’s Hole in the applying for grants. A recent online poll by 1979, and in 1993 its directors started
Wall Gang camps that serve seriously GuideStar.org, which tracks data on the non- Rubicon Bakery. Together these two profit- profit sector, found that for 46 percent of its making ventures bring in $6 million annually
ill children. And like any new respondents “finding money to accomplish that goes toward supporting the organiza-our mission” was the number-one challenge. tion’s mental health care, legal services, hous-
venture—whether for profit or non- “Foundations and corporations want a ing and other programs.
proven track record, and to establish that track No matter what, however, the needs still
profit—The Painted Turtle is entering record takes time and funding,” says Helga usually outstrip the means. To be successful in
a challenging environment. West of Witness Justice, founded in 2002 to raising funds, people have to be aware of an assist victims and their loved ones in the after- organization and know what it does.
math of violent crime. “We’ve found some cre-
ative ways of supporting our operating MARKETING
Just as with a small business, it takes more expenses to build that track record.” Just as for small businesses, the need to dif-than passion—whether for the environment Witness Justice’s Web site (www.witness ferentiateanonprofitorganizationfromothers
or for helping the homeless—to become suc- justice.org), which receives more than 150,000 is crucial. If you run a nonprofit, ask yourself
cessful. Nonprofits face many of the same chal- visitors each month, lists nine ways that donors what your nonprofit does that no one else
lenges—including raising money, defining and can contribute, including ink-cartridge and does. Who do you serve?
communicating their niche, finding the right cell-phone recycling, a magazine renewal/sub- Bob Phibbs, a retail consultant and
people and showing a return on investment— scription program, donating a car and eBay’s Costco member who served for 18 years on
as their small-business counterparts. Then Giving Works program. the board of South Coast Chorale in Long
they must operate with a unique set of con- “Just by thinking about Witness Justice Beach, California, stresses the need for a
straints that some say makes running a chari- when they go about normal everyday prac- mission statement to guide the organization.
table organization one of the hardest tices, they can help us raise funds,” says West, a “Everybody has an idea,” he says, and it’s easy
management jobs around. Costco member. to get off track. If you’ve defined what popu-