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Author Topic: I need help from people who have experience with handling non profits.  (Read 611 times)

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Offline SovelissTopic starter

Hello all!

So after failing my finals, and wondering what to do with my life, I came out with an idea:

Start a non profit organization to help male victims of rape and/or domestic violence. Basically the idea I had was providing a way to share experiences and addresses of competent mental health specialists, a network of sort for finding useful information and having discussions on the subject, or just a social life with people one would share a commonality with.

I was thinking of basing the logistics of the model that was used by an Asperger meet up in my region: meet up in a public place, share information and talk about whatever comes to mind. I don't really have a lot of money, but I guess I could contribute time since I may be able to live from combining my disability pension and a housing aid. In a way, that would be a roundabout way of having a job. :P

But I needed info about what kind of skills would be needed, what kind of people would I need to recruit, and all other logistical concerns.

Thank you!

Offline The Dark Raven

I do not know the requirements of your region, but where I am a crisis line like this requires licensed professionals if any counseling is to be done.  Setting up a non-profit is expensive, tax-complicated, and requires a set space which requires rent, utilities, insurance at the least (if renting, not buying).

Public places for as touchy a subject as rape (for males or females) is too public for a subject like that.  Victims of rape are vulnerable and if you decide "well, let's have our meetings in a coffee shop or library" that means nothing is confidential and they are not allowed a space to be able to speak freely and begin healing.  Rape is a subject you truly need a static, private, safe space to discuss.

Furthermore, if this is a support group, you do not need to have a non-profit status.  It is a volunteer thing until it gets big enough that it might need structure (like AA, NA, AlAnon, SA, etc.).  Those groups did not start out non-profit or as paid positions.  If this is a startup non-profit that you hope will give you a job, then it needs to follow guidelines required of all non-profits in your area, and you may be able to get a business loan to start it up.  (But then again, you will need a trained, professional staff that you will need to pay and they will need to meet their state guidelines on liability, ethics, and licensure to practice.)

I have worked in such a non-profit that covered not only victims of rape but spousal abuse, child abuse, addiction, depression, problems faced by former felons, etc. and we had a volunteer board of directors that managed at the top level (required by the state statute), a director that managed day to day operations, a bookkeeper, a grant writer, a marketer, an administrative assistant (me), a receptionist, 3 full time licensed counselors, and a staff of part time/contract counselors that worked on call.  All our money came from the attached for-profit employee assistance program that contracted to local businesses for counseling services.  It paid for both that program and the non-profit charitable organization that handled the abuse and addiction side.  The place was a staple in the same place, with a static, private telephone number since the 1980s that people could come to and know they would be taken care of, but the original owner used a lot of his connections on Madison Avenue from his previous job as a stockbroker and in Hollywood to even get the place off the ground.

Offline SovelissTopic starter

So I guess I'll start with a support group, volunteer as you say. So the hardest part is to get a private place to meet up, huh?

I'll try to look at private places that I could get assistance from. I don't always see eye to eye with religion, but I would be willing to set that aside if I could ask a local church for a meeting point once every two weeks. I know there's a church in a town where I live that lend a local to a tabletop RPG club, so maybe a charity effort could get somewhere. I guess the first order of business would be to share the professional addresses of good mental health specialists.

Then hopefully we will grow, and once there will be enough people, I'll hopefully be able to reach for the Gov't to get some help once it will have been shown some things are desperately needed.

Offline The Dark Raven

That is probably your best bet.  If you are starting out as a support group, definitely have a list of free or sliding scale (inexpensive) resources for those that come to find professional help if they would like.  Make flyers that have a way to contact those folks (and call them beforehand to let them know what you are doing.)  -They- may be able or willing to help you with services or space or whatever.

Offline AmberStarfire

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If you build a web site, I would say be careful not to put up email addresses or personal phone numbers there. It's better giving links, major helpline numbers, or asking people to contact you for further information via a contact form.

I would say consider how much information you want to make public as well about the meetings themselves. Will it be something that's openly advertised at a certain place and time, or would you want to speak with people before giving out the details (or perhaps even meet them first).

Offline SovelissTopic starter

If you build a web site, I would say be careful not to put up email addresses or personal phone numbers there. It's better giving links, major helpline numbers, or asking people to contact you for further information via a contact form.

I would say consider how much information you want to make public as well about the meetings themselves. Will it be something that's openly advertised at a certain place and time, or would you want to speak with people before giving out the details (or perhaps even meet them first).

Building a website is a good idea, thanks for bringing this to my attention.

I would like to openly advertise the meetings because it is already impossible to find anything where I live(or in the whole country I live in for that matters), I intend to fix that, but maybe you could give me the pros and cons for each options, knowing I am not good at reading people.

Offline Oniya

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If there are any Unitarian churches in your area, you might consider investigating them.  The UU's have to be the singularly most tolerant mainstream religious group ever (to the point that they had no issues letting my husband and I use their hall for our incredibly multidenominational wedding.)  They might even be able to help you advertise.

Public libraries may also have private meeting rooms available.

Offline SovelissTopic starter

Thanks for the info. :)

Offline AmberStarfire

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Building a website is a good idea, thanks for bringing this to my attention.

I would like to openly advertise the meetings because it is already impossible to find anything where I live(or in the whole country I live in for that matters), I intend to fix that, but maybe you could give me the pros and cons for each options, knowing I am not good at reading people.

I'm not really sure about all the pros and cons, but revealing information to people once you've talked to them means you'll know if they're a good choice to attend, you'll know their intentions are pure, and the other people who are there will know that the procedure is in place so not just anyone will turn up unless they have a reason to be there.

The downside is you might get less people turning up that way (especially if it's something they're uncomfortable talking about). However, given how delicate the reason is for meeting, it's something I would do. It's the method used for munches over here. The 'meet and be sure of someone first, before they get the location/can meet with the others' method.