When I first started this non-profit in May 2009, the most proffered advice was about how hard it would be to get tax exempt status. That turned out to be the easy part.
In 6 months we received tax exempt status to operate as a community focused non-profit. A fantastic benefit that I hope will bear fruit in the years to come.
The hard part became the most important part: learning how to impact change.
This topic is very controversial in the non-profit world. Some would say that you need a large national issue that can attract great attention, and therefore great money and volunteers. Others, would say that you have to choose one issue and stick with it, over the years consistently building your reputation, influence, and donor base.
Most of the non-profits you know probably fall into one of these two categories.
Neither worked for me and so I went out searching for an alternative and found a movement instead. One that is fundamentally altering America at a grassroots level with success after success.
At the forefront of this movement is Yvon Chouinard, founder of the clothing company Patagonia. In his book, Let My People Go Surfing, he lays out the mindset, methodology, and most importantly the past experiences (failures) that led him to this way of thinking.
It is a fascinating discussion on business and I definitely recommend reading the book. Also, if you purchase the book ($10) through the above link, a portion of the sale goes to A Clean Life.
A one sentence description of this method that is so packed with meaning you may have to read it twice:
“We fund at the grassroots level because we believe that action-oriented groups living and working close to the issue are the most effective at fighting for change.”
That’s exactly my focus.
In the upcoming year, we will be taking on local projects, invite in locals deeply involved in those issues, and provide them the support and funding they need to create change. The projects will be short term, although some may take years, because it’s important to have an achievable goal that everyone works, and fights for.
More to come on that to come in the strategic plan, but now time for the financials.
$2,179.92 – Received as donations
$2,120.26 – Itemized:
- $750 – IRS fee, formation of a 501(c)3 non-profit
- $30 – Incorporation Fee in CA
- $56.14 – purchase website domains
- $72 – website hosting fees
- $170 – DC Farmers Markets Brochures
- $175.43 – outdoor compost, backyard
- $48.64 – indoor compost, buckets
- $319 – indoor compost, automatic
- $113.67 – outdoor compost, for apartments balconies
- $62 – 6×3 banner of A Clean Life logo
- $313.38 – event hosting fees, launch party & family/friends event
A great benefit to having a small non-profit means not all that much paperwork.
The established tax year for us is from Jun to May, and anytime after June (within 5 months) I submit my tax paperwork to the IRS (a postcard) and the State of CA (a few sheets). It takes no time at all, makes keeping the books simple/easy, and frees me up to get back out in the community.
I kept this post fluid but included all information needed to understand the operations of A Clean Life. This includes our revenues/expenses/assets, tax year, tax information, and operating strategy.
I expect that in years to come writing this won’t be so easy, so I will sign off here and enjoy the ease at which we currently operate.