June 27, 2006
I'm starting to wonder if this model works
I'm starting to wonder if it's even possible to run a non-profit business with volunteers. There are not enough volunteers putting in the hours to do the work to make it work. Maybe it's possible with the right volunteer leaders who can rally the volunteers and take charge of all the different program areas. This is one of the problems I saw before I took over the reigns. But now that I'm here, I'm failing at doing what is necessary to make it work. I need to be the leader that gets people involved and active in the organization or there is no organization and we haven't made it off the endangered list.
I guess I'm an idealist and think the idea is cool, but in reality, it seems that people really want the "what's in it for me?" part. Now let's get down to the space issue. In today's world, there is little space available for next to nothing for an operation like this. Small self-funded non-profits like this keep getting forced out of their market by high rents. It's going to happen to our bike shop too. But the trouble is, everywhere we look, building owners want to give us half the space for twice the money. And that's generous. The trouble is we would never survive with just a volunteer operation. So we would have to forget about the 'charitable organization' part of our non-profit and focus on making money, which would change the whole look and feel and mission of our organization. Then it becomes more like a business and there is no real incentive or 'goodwill' feeling in volunteers to staff and run a business just for money.
It's too bad our society revolves around money. It lives and breathes by monitary value. Maybe what we need is a benefactor who believes in what we do and is willing to donate a large enough space to us to do our thing. I don't know if this model of a bike shop can really work. To make it work like other non-profit bike shops, we have to hire an executive director who gets paid a large amount of money to make it all happen.
I'm still evaluating what a workable solution might be. It's very interesting though.
Posted by carl1236 at June 27, 2006 9:18 PM | Attitude
I'd be happy to talk with you about this some time. I've got a friend that works for a similar project in New York who might be able to offer some ideas too.
Posted by: arif at June 30, 2006 8:44 PM