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NonProfit vs. For Profit Arts Organizations in the Modern World

Nowadays, it is getting harder and harder to receive grant funding for your organization as a non-profit, but there are still many benefits one has over a for-profit business.

In the modern world, whether you are starting your own business or going to work for someone else, I believe you’re still risking the same thing: you could be out of a job tomorrow.

What do you think?

  • Although I am an art professor at a university, I have started a small business with my daughter (supposedly a summer job), called Two Dirty Hoes Gardening and Lawn Care. (My mother does not approve of the name.) I love to design, create and maintain gardens. It began by helping out a new friend with her yard. She paid me and gave me the idea that I might like to do this during the summer. As I worked in my friend's yards, clearing out overgrown, neglected gardens to put in a low maintenance grass lawn, I ended up with day lilies, sedum, hydrangea, hosta and ornamental grasses as well as landscaping brick that I was hired to remove. She said I could throw it away or I could have it or pass it on to someone. Which is exactly what I did. I filled up my yard with the lilies and grasses, built a retaining wall in the front of my house and gave an friend the rest. She is a single mom, living on a single income, and a part-time graduate student. She lives in a house build by Habitat for Humanity. They did a nice job on the house, but the outdoor living space was never finished, and she didn't seem to have the time, money or know how to maintain it or improve it. Her little boy did not play outside because with the overgrown weeds everywhere, the bugs were everywhere and buzzing biting. Among the weeds were thistles that hurt worse than the bug bites. The sidewalks were covered with months worth of grass shavings, weeds and soil that had started to encroach on the cement. So I planted the free plants and used the leftover in her yard. I brought 13 student volunteers to the neighboring town where she lived and we worked for three hours, weeding, tilling, seeding, watering, power washing, measuring, planning, and designing. That day, with the help of my students, I was able to give her a 40 hour work week in one afternoon, free of charge. (My students got to substitute this service experience for an assignment. Bribery is the key to acquiring a strong volunteer force!) It felt really good to do this. The before and after photos are very dramatic and we haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet! So I decided to call this project "Landscapes for Love", which I now refer to as a not-for-profit organization. Here is the paragraph I have posted on my Landscapes for Love Facebook page. It explains a little bit about what we are doing. Although I am an art professor at a university, I have started a small business with my daughter (supposedly a summer job), called Two Dirty Hoes Gardening and Lawn Care. (My mother does not approve of the name.) I love to design, create and maintain gardens. It began by helping out a new friend with her yard. She paid me and gave me the idea that I might like to do this during the summer. As I worked in my friend's yards, clearing out overgrown, neglected gardens to put in a low maintenance grass lawn, I ended up with day lilies, sedum, hydrangea, hosta and ornamental grasses as well as landscaping brick that I was hired to remove. She said I could throw it away or I could have it or pass it on to someone. Which is exactly what I did. I filled up my yard with the lilies and grasses, built a retaining wall in the front of my house and gave an friend the rest. She is a single mom, living on a single income, and a part-time graduate student. She lives in a house build by Habitat for Humanity. They did a nice job on the house, but the outdoor living space was never finished, and she didn't seem to have the time, money or know how to maintain it or improve it. Her little boy did not play outside because with the overgrown weeds everywhere, the bugs were everywhere and buzzing biting. Among the weeds were thistles that hurt worse than the bug bites. The sidewalks were covered with months worth of grass shavings, weeds and soil that had started to encroach on the cement. So I planted the free plants and used the leftover in her yard. I brought 13 student volunteers to the neighboring town where she lived and we worked for three hours, weeding, tilling, seeding, watering, power washing, measuring, planning, and designing. That day, with the help of my students, I was able to give her a 40 hour work week in one afternoon, free of charge. (My students got to substitute this service experience for an assignment. Bribery is the key to acquiring a strong volunteer force!) It felt really good to do this. The before and after photos are very dramatic and we haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet! So I decided to call this project "Landscapes for Love", which I now refer to as a not-for-profit organization. I'm actually enjoying the non-paid work more. I can see how the business and the NPO will feed into and support each other. I am still trying to figure out how to balance everything. I would be interested in reading about someone else's experience with setting up a non-profit organization. – Drbarro 6 years ago
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