non profit in stasis

For the handful of you who were helping me, I figure this is the place to tell you the non profit I was trying to put together has gone into indefinite hiatus. I was hoping it’d not only do good but do well enough to cover my daily bread (and rent and utilities and…) After a LOT of thorough projection testing, the answer is no. I think it would in about two years provided I could work at it full time. However, that’s two years of doing it instead of earning enough for bread and roof and such.

I will admit it’s been extremely educational. There’s a big difference between advising people and facing the hard numbers your own self. I might dribble various lessons learned into a few blog posts. Obviously, given my long windedness, I’m going to tuck a couple in here (grin).

Before I do, I’ll insert the inevitable digression. The worst thing of looking at running this organization was the realization I wanted to do more than one. I chose an advocacy for space development for one reason – I saw a niche not being worked upon. The program to teach people how to cook and the one to spread beekeeping were redundant – the programs I’d have pushed were already there, and I’d have done more good being part of those groups. (And that would have been no good on the core need – food and roof for me and mine. sigh) ‘Course, there’s also the fact that if I ever won the lottery I’d have wound up doing something else entirely with it. I’m not confused, I just want everything. The thing is I think they are ALL important – and they’re not the only possibilities. But before I save the world, I have to save my family.

Some lessons. Lesson one is that whatever you know, it isn’t enough. Lesson two is that not knowing enough isn’t a good reason to not do it.

I know a lot – I’m a generalist which was reinforced by working as a librarian. We get asked, we look it up, and we don’t forget. I am smart enough (not wise, yet) to know however much I know it’s just superficial for the most part. Still, it’s humbling to discover Very Important Things about which I knew nothing whatsoever. The whole mess of registering charities and the Charleston Principles is just one example.

At the same time, SOMEONE KNOWS. If you bother to ask and keep going, you’ll find out. Just keep going. If you’re doing good – especially if you’re small and doing good – most people will grant not only slack but a bit of assistance.

Lesson three – share, and receive. When I started asking, I discovered I had something a lot of people wanted. Oh, sure, there was my research skill, but for the most part people didn’t need that. What most of the charitable entrepreneurs wanted was someone who could fix their computer. They knew their charitable field solid. They were happy to give me advice on stumbling points. They were ECSTATIC to trade that advice for doing what their kids or neighbor’s kids couldn’t do. heh – I even ran across an old WinDos machine, an IBM. Knowing how to hook up an external 3.5 disk so she could finally move files to a “newer” box (an old Acer box running Windows 98, but it was FREE) gave me a friend for life.

(I really wanted to keep her keyboard. Way back in the day, back in 1982 when I first started teaching computers, keyboards were my icebreaking tool. See, the secretary – and it was inevitably the secretary – would get this BOX dropped on the desk and told to make it work even though it was several months salary. The trick, I figured out fairly early, was to convince them they couldn’t break it without trying. What I did was to carefully, cautiously position my hands above the keyboard … and then slam my hands vigorously against the keys. The boards were as tough as old manual typewriter keys, and you could use them as a hammer to crack walnuts. For all the faults and problems, I miss having a keyboard that ignores it when I type while angry. But I digress. Again.)

Someday I’ll use the lessons learned. If it’s still needed, perhaps for this, perhaps for one of the other needs I see, but someday I will be retired instead of unemployed, and no longer worried about table and roof. For those who gave help and assistance up to this point, thank you.


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