Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Start a 501c3 - Part 2

James and I attended the workshop at the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits yesterday on "How to Start a 501c3." It might have been one of the most helpful 3 hours of my career life.  Wow!!! There is so much to know and so much to keep in mind when making every single decision.  Yesterday we not only learned about the steps you need to take to start a nonprofit, but also the issues surrounding taxes and law.  I kept up and I wrote down questions I had so that we could revisit them, and I felt good about being able to understand what the speaker was saying, but there were times during her talk that I thought, "Oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into?"  And then there were times when, like James said after the workshop, I felt, "We can do this!" It's just a lot to take in and it's going to take some time to process it all.

Luckily, we have had good advice and guidance from the beginning. We've also had the blessing of a great lawyer and CPA, so I know we're on the right track.  There was really only one thing that we need to change (adding a clause into our certificate of incorporation) that we've done so far and then we can move forward.  We can rework our mission statement (and we need to!) and move forward with our purpose, bylaws and policies because we now have what we need to be thinking about in mind.

I have to admit that this summer I have been focusing on some things other than sixtwelve. I've given it attention, but I've also been thinking about school, friends, family and mainly myself. I've been trying to work on things like confidence because I know that if I am going to be a leader and a manager of people, I'd better be ok with myself.  I have observed people in leadership positions and decided what qualities I would like to emulate and some that I want to throw out the door.

I've realized that a lot of the characteristics I haven't respected either come from a lack of patience or fear.  I need to cut those things out of my own personality, or at least try because I'm going to need a ton of patience as a director.  And I want to be confident enough in myself and my employees that I don't need to lash out at them when there is an issue.  I want to lead with a calm, understanding peace.  That may take years to fully develop, but I'm going to try and I know that the growth that has taken place in me this summer will only translate to a better working environment for anyone that is around me.

The good thing about having taken the time to do that is that we didn't move too much further down this path without the knowledge that we gained yesterday. One of the many important things I took away from the workshop was that we need to follow a logical progression in this journey.  We have so many ideas for the business, but those can wait until we get our foundation established.  They have to wait.  We have to do this the right way and we have to take it one step at a time.  There's comfort in that and if we proceed in this way, we can enjoy every step.

Thank you so much Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits!!!

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