When I tell someone about Charity Wings, I see their minds working through 2 questions:
1) What charities do they support.
2) How much is she getting paid.
It's true! At the end of most conversations, people who don't do non profit work for a living either ask or are left wondering how much I am making. So here it is folks. I have been working non stop for about 8 years (April will be 8). When I was married, our household covered most the expenses for the organization for the first 3 years. (Storage, phone, internet, travel, taxes, website etc.) Then when I became single, I was able to restructure so that the organization could pay its own bills. because I NEVER PAID MYSELF A SALARY.
So see how this works? I start a company that is structured to be 100% volunteer run.
Then when I am on my own and need to take care of myself.... Oops!
My mother always told me not to becoming dependent on someone else and did I listen? NO!
I really do have a college degree and so much potential
which she reminds me about weekly at family night. :)
So, for the last almost 5 years I have been trying to build a non profit business model that would allow us to continue our work and pay administrative costs. At this point, I am not successful.
And, I am not independently wealthy so. Therein lies the dilemma.
Luckily for me, I have an amazing family. When I moved out on my own, I lived with my brother for the first 6 months and then my amazing mother bought a condo for me to live in. My car is paid for and I don't have kids so my expenses are pretty manageable.
So, back to the question on everyone's mind.
1) We support EVERY non profit. Any 501(c)(3) can come to us and we will offer them free classes and or help with fundraising through Art and Creativity. 2) I only started paying myself about 2 years ago. Depending on the state of our finances, just like with any business owner, my salary goes up and down. between $500 and $1500 a month. So at best I make $18,000 a year. I don't ever make that but you get the picture.
So there you have it. I struggle and I love what I do.
THE BIGGER PICTURE:
If you have read this far, then you are truly my friend :) or just super nosy which works for me too!
So how can I live on that? Well, I can't. I left my marriage with some hefty debt and have been paying it off for 5 years! Yay!! next month is my last payment. But since then have racked up another little pile of debt trying to keep the Art Center open. :( So I will start working on this mountain next month :(
I can't actually continue to live off such a small salary
and I can't grow the organization without being able to pay an administrative staff.
I LOVE MY VOLUNTEERS WITH MY WHOLE HEART.(imagine this is blinking and neon)
There are so many amazing volunteers. They make this organization so awesome and what it is today. But there are not enough hours in the day to recruit volunteers, manage them, deal with turnover and deal with the ones that decide they can't finish a task or whose dog ate their homework :) Just kidding but seriously, for some volunteers, they don't quite understand that this is a business and being a volunteer is a commitment and requires dedication just like a job. And I can't yell at them cause they are volunteers! get it? Ok, off my soap box.
So, volunteers are great. but I need to fill several key positions if I want to be able to keep going. I need a Volunteer Coordinator. I need an Accountant. I need a Grant Writer. I need to build an active Board of Directors. I need a Community Liaison. I need a Marketing Manager.
So you can see. I need I want I need I want. But most of all I just want to be able to build a non profit business model that allows me to replicate the Art Center. Every city needs one of these! If I can get this to the point that it has a solid business model to follow I could open them and EASILY FILL THEM WITH PRODUCT. All over the country. You know I can!
But its the money. I hate it, its always the money.
So, now if you have read this far, you are really really my friend. I hope you were enlightened or at least a little entertained by my story.
If you feel compelled to support my mission which is: The mission of the Charity Wings Art & Craft Center is to be an inspiring place
for people of all ages to Gather, Give Back and Create; as well as to
partner with other charities to give free classes to those who can
benefit from the Hope, Happiness, and Healing that art can provide!
Would you please consider becoming a member? It's more like KPBS than 24 Hour Fitness. Your membership is not to use the Art Center. ANYONE CAN COME AND USE THE ART CENTER! Your membership supports our programs and allows us to continue the great work that we do.
We are providing a service to the community at large that can come and be introduced to Art and how Therapeutic it is to the mind, body, and soul.
We are also providing a service to our community of Art Lovers, Art Makers, and Art Supporters by giving them a way to give back through something they are passionate about.
If you are not a member, please join and help us build a Fleet of Art Centers and an Army of Volunteers that heal a World of People through ART!
If you are already a member, please spread the word and ask a friend (or two) to join. Or consider raising your monthly donation. Its less than 4 special coffee drinks a month to be at the $20 level :) And makes all the difference in the world to what we are doing.
AND IF YOU REALLY REALLY READ THIS FAR, EMAIL ME YOUR ADDRESS SO I CAN SEND YOU A THANK YOU GIFT. firstname.lastname@example.org
I am the Founder of Charity Wings AKA Scrapbook Royalty, Non-Profit Organization dedicated to raising money and awareness through unique artsy crafting and scrapbooking events. Since it's inception in April of 2006, the charity has raised over $400,000. I have been an avid crafter all my life, and have also taught scrapbooking, stamping, mixed media and crafting classes in the US and Taiwan. I have 2 wonderful creative clubs that I have been running since 2003! "I love crafting for charity, cute piggies, bacon, glitter, pretty shiny things, and sugar-free rock star!"
I started a blog to help me with this big decision and I wanted to try put my thoughts with images. It is a little window into the part of my mind, heart, life that is not always able to be a happy people. www.ellifeworthliving.blogspot.com I decided to publish it for people that might be going through the same thing I am right now. I know it has helped me to know I am not alone. If you decide to read it, please start at the bottom for it to make sense.