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Workshop Gives Tips on How to Start a Nonprofit


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Published on: Friday, November 01, 2013

by Tauren Dyson, Special to The Sentinel

Prince George’s is home to 3,554 non-profit organizations, which accounts for 15 percent of the non-profits in Maryland, according to Marylandnonprofits.org. That group generates more than $3.2 billion in combined revenue, yet 81 percent of Prince George’s non-profits operate on budgets of $25,000 or less. The People for Change Coalition brought its, “How to Start a Non-profit” workshop to Suitland in early October to help change those numbers.

 

“We just don’t have the same resources and support that some of our neighboring jurisdictions have,” said Sandra Pruitt, People for Change Coalition executive director. “It’s time that Prince George’s County … gets some of that report.”

 

PFCC seeks to provide support services for its non-profit members by identifying their needs and taking a step-by-step to addressing them.

 

Pruitt and many of the other experts on hand said some of the non-profits in the county lack the infrastructure and knowledge to rake in enough revenue to sustain themselves. Some spend money beyond their means. Some struggle to gain revenue due to sloppy grant writing. While other have poor accounting practices.

 

“You’re 990s … this is an important tax form you want to file when you’re starting your non-profit,” said Jon-Anne Williams Barnes, CEO of JFW Accounting, who spoke with a panel of experts. “If you don’t not file for 990 on a timely basis, your non-profit status can be revoked … for three or four years, the IRS will revoke your status.”

 

Anyone operating a non-profit has to file its 990 five months after the last day of its fiscal year or calendar year. However, churches are exempt from filing 990s. Anyone who joins the PFCC will learn about and receive help with any other forms required to start and maintain a non-profit.

 

But many non-profits fail to succeed at the point of inception, struggling to craft a statement of purpose or a vision statement that clearly defines the goals of their organization.

 

“I wanted to emphasize to the participants today that it’s important that you crystallize your mission and your vision for your non-profit,” said Walter Swindell, CEO of Optimization Solutions, a company that assists organizations in strategic planning. “They really need to understand what resources are involved to support their non-profit …people have a good vision and passion for what they’re doing, but a lot of times they lack funding.”

 

When non-profits seek grants, it’s important that the intent for the money an organization wants to receive align itself with the mission statement of the organization has set forth.

 

The PFCC assists minority-owned businesses as well as non-profits, by helping owners build relationships that lead to contracts and hosting network events that facilitate business relationships.

 

Membership dues for the coalition range from $50 to $1000, depending on the services an organization receives. For more information on how to join the coalition, call 301-772-1552, send email inquiries to contact@pfccoalition.org, or visit their offices at 9500 Arena Drive, Suite 420?Largo, MD 20774

 

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