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Make a Difference Have you 'made a difference' while travelling, by fundraising or donating time and energy to a worthwhile cause such as wildlife conservation or tsunami reconstruction efforts? Tell us how you did it, what the experience was like, and how others can help. Are you a non-profit organisation or individual who knows of an opportunity for travellers to help out in a less developed country? Tell us about it and provide contact details here.
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  #1  
Old 21 Jan 2008
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needing advice on starting a nonprofit

I'm a photographer planning a 14-month RTW trip in July of this year. I've been considering starting a charity/nonprofit through which to distribute funds to charities I come across on my trip, and I'm hoping some of you have gone through similar processes and have some advice for a novice in this area.

I am creating a website that will integrate my travel logs, photography gallery and sales, and a vehicle for donations to grassroots charities that I come across on my travels. My hope is to reach charities that are little known in the US. Descriptions of the charities, background info, interviews, etc. will be posted on my website, where visitors will be given the opportunity to donate. Also, a percentage of my photography sales will go to these charities. I'm not attempting to use these donations to fund my trip in any way; that's what my photography business is for.

My question for you guys is: Should I start my own charity/foundation to receive donations and distribute them to these charities, or is there a better way to do this?

I've considered using a third-party service like justgiving.com or others, but all of the charities available to give to are US-based nonprofits, and I want to get money to charities that aren't registered in the US. Another possibility would be to simply provide the information for individuals to donate directly to these organizations, but from experience I know that making a donation directly to small NGOs in developing countries can be very difficult given language barriers, money transfers, foreign banks, etc. These difficulties can be prohibitive and discourage donations. I want the process to be simple, effective, and rewarding for donors.

All advice is welcome- and I thank you in advance,

Marcus
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Old 21 Jan 2008
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Hi, Well websites are pretty easy once you know what you want to do so write out a list of points you need to cover, sit and plan the thing out on paper and then code it, everything todays is inerface design and is pretty much WYSIWYG.

But your in a legal minefield with starting charity/nonprofit operations like this, so best go ask a layer coz most of us are grease monkies, and tend to hit things with huge spanners and scratch out bits.

Oh and remember that about 50% of what you give to a registered charity goes to fat check executives, I kid you not so it's best to make sure it goes straight to where it's needed.
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Old 22 Jan 2008
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Thanks for the input

Quote:
Originally Posted by juddadredd View Post
But your in a legal minefield with starting charity/nonprofit operations like this, so best go ask a layer coz most of us are grease monkies, and tend to hit things with huge spanners and scratch out bits.
I have been discussing this plan with my accountant and will be talking with a lawyer this week.

Quote:
Oh and remember that about 50% of what you give to a registered charity goes to fat check executives, I kid you not so it's best to make sure it goes straight to where it's needed.
Yes, I agree that often a large sometimes undisclosed percentage of a donation goes into the pockets of administrators and others and never reaches the people that should be receiving the donation. This is one of the main reasons I want to start my own charity- so I can give directly to the people and organizations that need help, and so people that know me and trust my judgment can do the same.
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  #4  
Old 22 Jan 2008
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Good luck with the venture, it's the fat cats that always stop me from giving to what look like good causes, in the UK with have people in shopping centres that approach you for donations and most of the time they get a cut, then there's the accountants, and the bosses and such a small percentage actually gets to were it's need I just don't bother.

But then again I'm the sort that will buy someone a meal, but not give them money. When you get tothe website stage give me a PM and I will see what help I can offer.


Lee @ F650 Ride the World - A journey of Global Proportions
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  #5  
Old 23 Jan 2008
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I think this is a great idea. Are you planning to start this charity just to distribute the money you've raised or are you open to input from all bikers?

I work for a local social services department, primarily with adults who have profound learning disabilities. I'm only doing 2-3k miles in Europe and not planning any RTW trips in the near future but if something I love doing can raise awareness or funds for a good cause, then I'm in.

It absolutely boils my piss when I see money given to charities that just goes to waste or spent on unneccesary admin costs or worse still, on fat pay cheques for management.

And don't get me started on charities whose TV adverts are nothing short of blatent lies to get donations. I'm not going to mention names, but lets just say that a major children's charity in the UK would receive little or nothing if the public knew how their donations were being spent.
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Old 23 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig76 View Post
I think this is a great idea. Are you planning to start this charity just to distribute the money you've raised or are you open to input from all bikers?
What sort of input do you mean, Craig? I plan on starting this charity only to distribute the money I raise through donations and photography sales. I would consider including links to and information about charities that other bikers have visited on my website, but as there is huge responsibility and accountability involved with distributing other peoples' money, contributions through my charity would only be passed on to charities with which I have personal relationships.

Good luck with your work in Sunderland, Craig. My efforts to help needy people in developing countries have always accompanied my own selfish quest for high adventure in foreign places, and I too often am blind to the needs of those in my own hometown, so I have deep respect for people like yourself who selflessly help those in their own communities.

Cheers-
Marcus
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  #7  
Old 9 Feb 2008
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Hi Marcus

I don't know if you know about Simon Milward but he was an amazing man who took off round the world on a hand-made motorcycle and raised over $110K, all of which he gave to charity. He started his own project in Indonesia called Motorcycle Outreach and after his tragic death in 2005 a group of us got together and set up a charity of the same name to continue his work. I was the one who dealt with the paperwork of setting this up and I can safely say that it is a total minefield and nightmare (not helped by the fact we needed to be a limited company as well). Set aside about 4 months of your time and a load of headache pills!

You would have to report with full accounts to the charity's commission once a year and they would expect a committee or board of some kind to oversee the charity work.

There is no reason why you cannot just raise and distribute money for good causes like Simon did without the nightmare of dealing with the CC. However, there will be many people who would not give money to someone without having the backup of a charity number etc.

I give money to charities and use http://www.justgiving.com/ as an intermediately. I am suprised that you think the charities are all US based as the ones I give regularly to are all UK based charities. You can search for a charity by category ie: 'motorcycle' or 'disability' etc and you can also set up a webpage on their site which you can link to from your site and raise money this way. My brother climbed Kilimanjaro last year and had a page on this site to raise money for Sightsavers - he raised over £1,500 in this way in just 3 months.

If you want any further info specifically relating to charity setup just ask.

Good luck with both your travels and money raising.
Kate
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  #8  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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Worthy charities

World Vision has only a 3 percent overhead. Red Cross on the other hand has a 90% overhead.
I try to find ophanages and send directly to them if possible. I do NOT support any church driven chairty because they pretty soon get the idea thye need to build another church or hire a very well paid pastor.
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  #9  
Old 12 Feb 2008
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Kate-

Thank you for sharing your experience. After speaking with a lawyer friend and my accountant, I'm much less inclined to start a nonprofit on my own. If I had 5 months to dedicate strictly to the nonprofit and was ready to dive into paperwork and bureaucracy up to my neck, maybe, but I have plenty of other things to do in the next five months in preparation for my trip. I'll probably take a more focused fundraising approach, and maybe even choose one group or organization to donate to. Two possibilities are seedsoflearning.org (Nicaragua and El Salvador) or the Imbabazi orphanage in Rwanda- two groups I've worked with in the past.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistress-kate View Post
Hi Marcus
I am suprised that you think the charities are all US based as the ones I give regularly to are all UK based charities.
Sorry, I was referring to firstgiving.com, the United States-based branch of justgiving.com.

The work that Simon Milward started and you are continuing with is really inspiring. Thanks for the help-
Marcus
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