As we respond to the earthquake in Nepal, Conscious Impact must decide how to structure our work. Are we a non-profit or a for-profit? And what does that even mean?
To many, being a non-profit (also sometimes referred to as a charity or NGO), means that you are a do-gooder, motivated by social service. For-profits, on the other hand, are all about the money. While that can be true, to me the main difference is really just the tax forms: a 990-EZ and a 1023 rather than a form 8832 or 1120. Or something like that. 🙂
Really, social work can be done through a non-profit or a for-profit; it depends on what work you want to do, where your money will come from and with whom you want to work. The who, what and why…
As we respond to the earthquake in Nepal, we are establishing both a non-profit and a for-profit, both called Conscious Impact Nepal. The for-profit will produce and sell Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEBs), locally-made and environmentally-sustainable building materials to rebuild homes. This private company will be owned and run by local Nepali men and women, and will be allowed to make profit (though it probably won’t for the first few years).
The non-profit will manage any charity projects in Nepal, including school construction, that require non-profit status. It will be made up of 7 unpaid board members (a requirement in Nepal) and will be eligible to receive local and national grants.
With both entities, we are ready to work: whether making bricks, providing agricultural trainings, hosting international volunteers or building homes, we have the legal and financial structure we need.
For more information like this and other international service stories and tips, keep following: http://www.orionhaas.com. Namaste from Nepal!