my (quick) nonprofit journey

on Wednesday November 30th, my nonprofit—which I officially started forming on October 31st—became a full-fledged 501(c)(3) organization:

in 30 days, I went from an idea to having everything I planned for.

isn’t that crazy?

the fact that I was able to submit everything AND get a response from the IRS is mind-blowing to me.

One reason that the application process was quicker than the standard 3-6 months is because the IRS created an online, expedited application for small nonprofits. If you expect to generate less than $50,000 annually, you can submit Form 1023-EZ and ideally get a response within 30 days.

getting 501(c)(3) status means that when someone donates, they’re able to write off their contributions to lower their taxable income. this isn’t required to be a nonprofit, but it helps incentivize donations and there’s no reason not to apply for it.

other than submitting the 501(c)(3) application—which was the “last” step—I’ve had to:

  • First, create a nonprofit organization within the state of Missouri
  • Get my articles of incorporation
  • Apply for EIN (employer identification number)
  • Select 2 other directors/board members
  • Determine fundraising efforts
  • Choose a donation management software (I went with DonorBox)
  • Choose a bank (I went with Relay Financial)

it’s exciting. i love this part of business for some reason.

and i’ve already started fundraising efforts with the launch of The Starving Artist Collection:

View the Shop

all profits from the sales of the Starving Artist designs go directly towards funding the Creatorbread Grant Program, which is a movement to remove the financial limitations from pursuing a creative career.

once I get everything set up and have a chance to test the donation software, I’m aiming to raise at least $4,000 to fund a few of the top applications.

I need to get permission from the applicants to share their stories, but reading through them solidified my beliefs for wanting to start this in the first place.

people are meant to be creatives, but the society that we live in makes it difficult to stay afloat and pursue ideas that don’t immediately generate income. I’m a general fan of capitalism, but it has blatant shortcomings.

through the Grant Program, creatives can apply to receive funding for a project, an idea, studio time, required equipment, a career switch - whatever it may be related to someone’s creative journey.

for example, one application that’s already been submitted mentions getting a plane ticket to Asia to finish a cultural photography project. they’d like to document the region as global warming is becoming a bigger and bigger concern for the coast countries.

there are several more stories that I can’t wait to share, but this project is going to be impactful. even if the Grant Program never becomes “big” (whatever that means), these are real people with real dreams and if I can help in any way, that’s all I want to do.

however, I can already tell it’s going to be difficult for me to market the Grant Program and ask for donations. I don’t like talking about what I’m doing, I just like doing it. i like creating things and moving on to the next thing, not optimizing and iterating on every single process and system.

hopefully after we get some applications funded, share the stories, and get updates from the recipients, the goodwill & nature of the Grant Program markets itself. I think if I can structure everything well enough, it can grow primarily through word-of-mouth.

but if you or someone you know would benefit from a small grant focused on creative work, please submit an application below:

Apply for a Grant

we’re currently prioritizing the applications that have already been submitted, but just a few sizable donations will fulfill all of those requests and the next priority is the order that new applications have been submitted in.

(I don’t know if there’s a better way to prioritize applications or a good way to “score” them to determine who receives priority, but sequential order seems the fairest for now. I’m still trying to figure all of this out myself..)

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