The Secret Life of a Small Nonprofit
“If someone insults us, we usually dwell on it, asking ourselves, “Why did he say that to me?” and on and on. It’s as if someone shoots an arrow at us, but it falls short. Focusing on the problem is like picking up the arrow and repeatedly stabbing ourselves with it, saying, “He hurt me so much. I can’t believe he did that.”
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, “Putting Down the Arrow.”
Nonprofit life. It is not secret to anyone that when you develop your work from your heart, you tend to go all the way. This is especially truthful for those that have dedicated their lives to work for the betterment of our spiritual lives through the service to Others.
We started Humanity Healing International in 2007 and what was initially just a naïve dream, grew to become a structure that was able to help many people, supporting schools, orphanages, providing Scholarships, for many Children and vulnerable young adults. Humanity Healing International had developed projects in Uganda, Pakistan, and Nepal. We also worked briefly in India when we first started.
One may figure that having a nonprofit is an easy task, and the answer is that the assumption cannot be further from the truth. Maybe things are easier assuming that you have a huge donor base and enjoy the help and support of the mainstream media to promote your every move, especially if you are yourself a celebrity by today’s standards. So having an ideal Charity work demands support and alignment of so many elements that may just benefit medium to big NGO’s.
Humanity Healing International Model is the same used by Newman’s Own Foundation which turns all profits from the sale of Newman’s Own products into charitable donations. We adopted the same model as donations were not coming as fast as the projects were developing. To do this, we have created two “feeder” corporations, OMTimes Media Inc., and Humanity Healing Network. OMTimes Magazine and now OMTimes Radio responds with the 85% of Income directed to our projects abroad. Every single one of our initiatives becomes a revenue stream to assure the continuation of our projects and those that depend on them to survive and to change their lives. 100 % of the received donations go to the projects; we don’t have the incredible overhead some nonprofit have.
Seems easy, cut and dry, but it is not. Aside from the regular struggle, any nonprofits go through; the small nonprofits have to battle their big enemy, the shysters. Believe me, they are everywhere, mainly lurking for some Nonprofit that needs representation in the countries they work, as they try to diminish cost for audit trips and unnecessary general costs.
Personally, we had two horrible experiences in Africa, where we encounter these individuals that have no shame or dignity and prey on the vulnerable to make a name for themselves. It is deplorable that Africa, being a wealthy continent in natural resources, as a general rule pay no attention to their Human Resources. Many Nonprofits and churches around the world funnel millions of dollars every Year and as a result, we see little or no progress. Have you asked yourself why? The answer again resides in the vigorous scheme plotted by dishonest individuals that reach out to small nonprofits or small congregations presenting their project, using their kind as a storefront. Many of the children shown are a just passerby, and they are used to be given to potential donors as Children in need of sponsorship, and continuous support.
Usually, the relationship goes well for the first years, as they prime to get your trust and your attention, trying to creep the scope of their projects with infinite demands and needs. It is hard to avoid their trick as they come armed with low-quality photos claiming they own them and long tales in how this person is suffering etc.
If you have a nonprofit and work with country directors, hired individuals that brought you the projects, be aware of their tricks. The best you can do, if you wish to do some work in the particular area is to procure a reputable organization, registered and confirmed by the USA Embassy in that Country. If you are a small Nonprofit or a small Ministry and have suffered the deceiving work of the shysters, don’t give up. Many reputable small organizations can naturally represent your charity in places you cannot afford to go regularly. Make sure you have a contract in place and also that watch carefully for School records, updated pictures, vaccination records and also addresses of the schools they are enrolled. If your Country Director does not provide the documentation to you, you are risking your work, your reputation and the honor of those that have believed in your mission and donated to your projects.
These individuals are somewhat malicious, and while I don’t condone their behavior, we have to compute that poverty and ignorance are they M.O., and they see in your charity the way to make money, to acquire a social status and to reach their self-proclaimed “Service to others.”
If you are working in Africa and want the name of the organizations and individuals that we have worked with and that are trustworthy, please contact me directly. My email is Contact@humanityhealing.org. If I can help you, I would be glad to do so. The same way we can advise who NOT to work with. There is a good number of CBO Frauds out there, especially in Uganda.