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The WitchVox List of Resources for the Environment


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Education and the Pagan Child

We Pray Too: A Report From The Bible Belt

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Pagans and Non-Profits (creating them with care)

Care And Feeding Of Your Local Journalist


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Pagan Divorce: Child Custody - An Overview

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Supreme Court Decissiins - Prayer in Schools

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Pagans and Non-Profits (creating them with care)

Author: Deporodh, called Deb [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: May 9th. 1999
Times Viewed: 16,752

So, You Want to Form a Non-Profit

The Pagan community is growing by leaps and bounds. You can't walk down the New Age aisle at a chain bookstore these days without seeing a broad selection of resource books that range from volumes that present Wiccan basics for the newcomer to works supporting further studies alongside related and special topics. In recent years, the groundswell of interest in working with groups--when traditional groups cannot possibly absorb the flood of newcomers--has produced several volumes explicitly and thoughtfully discussing the issues and techniques of groups, including issues of self-starting (bootstrapping) a group without a parent tradition or elders.

As the Pagan community grows, people look for ways to work with groups larger than covens or groves or temples. The Asatru hearth up the road wants to join forces with two eclectic covens in neighboring towns, an Alexandrian teaching circle next county over, and a Druid grove in the state capital, to present a united Pagan presence at the annual statewide beach clean-up or regional trail-clearing effort.

By working within the larger community as a Pagan group, in this example, the small groups support three valuable efforts:

  • seasonal efforts in line with Pagan concerns for the earth
  • public service as a way to present Pagans accurately
  • Pagan community-building and networking


All of these valuable goals benefit Pagans generally and locally. However, organizing anything with more than a few individuals takes time, effort, and some money--even if it's only the telephone bills from networking the word around and the gas money it takes to get individuals and groups to the event on the day. If the community wants to do something like this regularly, or offer other public services, or use community facilities, a need for non-profit corporate status can quickly arise:

  • because meeting and gathering facilities are only (or for less money) available to non-profit organizations
  • because grants may be available to help non-profits fund projects and programs deemed worthwhile
  • because referral organizations can support both the larger and the Pagan communities by referring Pagan clergy for hospitals, shut-ins, incarcerated, and handicapped Pagans
  • because middle-class (U.S.) Pagans can afford to support such efforts better when donations and non-cash contributions are tax-deductible
  • because there are organizational resources designed to help non-profits
  • because liability insurance is more readily available and affordable to non-profits


All of those are benefits to forming a non-profit corporation. But--and this point is painfully often overlooked--these benefits are not, in themselves, good enough reasons to form a non-profit corporation. Let's look at the elemental aspects.

Earth



The term "non-profit" misleads some people into thinking that a non-profit may not or does not earn money. A non-profit corporation can, and many do, make money on many activities, from such classic fund-raising methods as cake sales, bingo games, and hat-passing, to subsidiary businesses like a retail store or publishing enterprise--the profits of which feed the coffers of the parent non-profit.

Unlike a for-profit corporation, which pays a dividend to its members (shareholders), a non-profit's "profit" cash may not go to the people running the corporation (directors, officers, members). That's the primary difference between the two! Cash certainly flows within a non-profit, though often in relatively small amounts. A non-profit can have paid employees (and that's another layer of administrivia and paper-pushing and management effort) or it may reimburse its officers, directors, and members for authorized expenses incurred on its behalf. Both employee salaries and volunteer reimbursements are part of corporate operating expenses; they are not profits shared with members of the corporation.

Any positive cash flow at the end of the year goes to forward the purposes of the organization. It may go into a land fund, be given to other charities that support the corporation's purposes, be set aside for next year's operating expenses, be set aside as cash reserves, but no "profit" goes to the people who run the organization. (Unreimbursed expenses on behalf of a registered non-profit may be tax-deductible for the member who incurred them; a side benefit for some volunteers.)

Any corporation handles power and money and is consequently subject to abuses of that power on the part of those controlling the organization. Some precautions against abuse are usually required by law (or banks): more than one officers' signatures on an organization's checks, for instance. The organization's structure usually also places policy decisions guiding the organization in the hands of a multi-position board of directors, while officers who report to the board carry out actions to implement those policies. Such separation of powers is a small protection against abuse of power. It also means that a non-profit will require a number of volunteers at all times, some willing to oversee and some to be more active. In young and small organizations, it often occurs that volunteers may hold both oversight and executive positions, a situation with a potential for problems. Even well-intentioned actions by an executive officer of a non-profit may be taken amiss by a board of directors which feels that authority was usurped or overstepped. At worst, of course, overlapping responsibilities may be abused by well- or ill-meaning individuals--or officers may be perceived or accused of taking inappropriate actions in the name of the organization, or of spending money wrongly, to the corporation's detriment.

Water



Why do you want a non-profit? What drives you? What makes you and your six friends, or a grove of Druids and its significant others, or the leaders of two circles of different traditions want to come together and form a non-profit? Usually it's because you see a need of some kind, and are driven to try to address that need. The need to help is common among healers, and Paganism is well-represented in the healing arts. Many of the oldest Pagan non-profits in the U.S. were formed to tackle different aspects of the issues surrounding our religious freedoms: Witches Against Religious Discrimination (WARD), Witches' Anti-Defamation League (WADL), and Pagan Educational Network (PEN) are a few examples.1



1. Some of the oldest Pagan non-profits are churches, a specific type of non-profit with the least (U.S.) governmental interference. Examples are the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG), Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC), and Church of All Worlds (CAW). To incorporate your coven or grove, ask an attorney about incorporating as a church or as a "congregation" of an existing Pagan church. The work of managing and record-keeping for a church remains an issue, but church status can help reduce governmental reporting requirements.



Each of these non-profit organizations has a similar purpose, but they each take different approaches to a widespread problem, that of public perceptions of witches and Pagans:

    • WARD supports an ongoing, individually and locally based letter-writing campaign (similar in some ways to Amnesty International's approach to human rights abuses) addressed to correct media misrepresentation one case at a time (the water-on-a-stone approach to public information).
    • WADL models itself after the Jewish Anti-Defamation League.
    • The Pagan Educational Network operates a variety of public-education efforts that range from a resource-reference web site to direct lobbying of U.S. judicial and Congressional office-holders.


All of these are recognized Pagan non-profits, with respected leaders, and most have cross-country representation.

Regional and local non-profits are equally plentiful. From Z. Budapest-founded Women's Spirituality Forum and Starhawk-founded Reclaiming on the West Coast to the successful and long-lived EarthSpirit Community in the Northeast, area Pagan non-profits prove that it is possible to make the mundane corporate model work in Paganism.

On the other hand, for every non-profit that survives 13 years or more, probably a dozen die a-borning or fail young. It's as well to consider, when founding a non-profit, whether a non-profit is really needed in order to accomplish your goal. Most UU churches have an associated CUUPS group, and will usually rent space inexpensively to Pagan and other groups regardless of legal status. Casual alliances of covens have successfully run semi-public Sabbats in most parts of the U.S. for decades. Individual covens have chosen to arrange a festival, clean a highway, or run a food bank, without any formal status. In addition, a circle or grove or temple may be able to become a recognized part of a larger Pagan or Wiccan church (Covenant of the Goddess, Aquarian Tabernacle Church, and Fellowship of Isis are examples of national and international religious bodies in which local group membership provides the benefits of non-profit status).

When non-profits fail, or even when they survive, many go through painful and often explosive phases of change, growth, and renewal. She may change everything She touches, one might say, but need that change always be that of the phoenix?

Fire



The self-destructive phases of a Pagan non-profit look a lot like those of any group, coven, or hearth (or, for that matter, the average school board or city council). Pagans have no exclusive talent for incivility, poor communications, hurt feelings, and over-ambitious but understaffed projects.

The fire may start with burn-out: meetings stop being held, communications fail, and everyday operations only continue courtesy of various heroic measures undertaken by concerned individuals. Of course, those self-sacrificing individuals are the people who burn out next. Probably, there's a non-profit or two smoldering in this pre-conflagratory stage of its phoenix life cycle somewhere in your region right now. Somewhere. Look around you and see who is doing some thankless task because it needs doing...and going unrecognized. Is this a choice or an unsung duty?

Another destructive phase of a new or old Pagan non-profit occurs during the "try your wings" stage: the organization exists and offices are newly filled or re-filled. The boring administrative details are accomplished or in hand, and activities are starting to happen. One day in the newsletter, several planned activities unknown to the organization's Board appear in print. At its next regular meeting, the Board asks the corporate officers about its concerns, and the Herald, who edits the newsletter, gives a satisfactory reply and apologizes. Then a week later, the Vice-President gets a call from a major newspaper about a press release announcing a new corporate publication unknown to the VP--or the director, or, as it turns out, to anyone except the Herald. A special meeting is called; the Herald refuses to attend, insisting that Herald's authority includes all communications decisions. The Board removes the Herald for overstepping authority and possible misrepresentation but the Herald has all the paper and electronic files. Now what?

Another phase can arise full-blown. Systems are working, volunteers are around if never plentiful, and a few broken bits of organization are patched up. Open positions have been filled, and new spurts of energy are enlivening perennial activities that the non-profit runs. A new and energetic officer starts a personal drive to bring the corporation into the electronic 21st century, and some low-tech volunteers find their paste-up and mailing efforts shunted aside. Two of them quit their positions, and the high-tech officer dismisses the loss with a shrug. Someone points out that such attitudes are felt by their targets and are bad management, the high-tech party presumes that someone gossipped about the matter, and the entire organizational structure catches fire. Members, officers, and directors alike react emotionally, and facilitation and private counseling are insufficient to repair the damaged relationships within the organization. When the ashes cool, both the community and the organization will bear scars for years to come.

Air



In any of these situations, hot heads cool eventually, or cooler heads pick up the pieces afterwards, or sometimes a brave few put the victim non-profit out of everyone's misery. But recovery is slow in the best of cases; it can take years to rebuild community trust in an organization that fails publicly. At worst, neither the corporation nor any friendships caught in the wreckage will survive the side-effects. As more experienced witches than I have voiced, in The Witches' Voice excellent series on "Witch Wars," preventing a witch war is marginally easier than healing up after one.

I make no claim to infallibility. I have been through my witch wars and my non-profits, in various stages of disarray or togetherness, and my only hope for increasing Pagans' rate of successful organizations is foresight. I present here some ideas that I see can help a non-profit succeed:

    • preparations
    • principles
    • personalities





Preparations



Before you start, make the same preparations that any business does before it is founded:

  • Examine your market
    Does the portion of the (Pagan or other) community you plan to serve want the service(s) you plan to provide? Do some surveys, by e-mail, among covens, or of local elders. Not everyone will agree with your viewpoints or support a specific effort, but poll for interest. You may find little interest in your Goatshead non-profit to teach a largely eclectic and Egyptian-trad community in a Rocky Mountain town how to cast Thor's hammers using historical sand-casting methods on the beach....
  • Examine your resources
    How many people who are not involved in setting up Goatshead are, or might be, willing to support it as members? as volunteers? with time or professional expertise or a 2-acre suburban yard or 20MB of donated Web server space? Will your local media accept public-service announcements from a Pagan organization? Can one or more of your group write adequate or better press releases, or learn to do so? Have you a number of individuals willing to be interviewed? by phone? by e-mail? in person? on camera? live?
  • Examine your funding
    Can the founders of Goatshead afford to front state filing fees, legal fees, the cost of self-help legal references, copying and postage costs to get the word out to local Pagani, postal fees for a local box, copying and postage costs to mail newsletters before funds begin to come in, or even rented office space if your purposes or scale demand it?
  • Examine your longevity
    Is the community where you want to found Goatshead primarily a college town? Are you or a majority of your supporters and volunteers in transient professions? (nurses, teachers, military personnel, college students, diplomats) Are there enough permanent resident Pagani that there may be a pool of possible volunteers for the next dozen years?

Organizational Structure



Laws regarding corporations are rarely suited to Pagan organizational structures. Our decision-making styles range from the rigidly authoritarian one of "the HPs is always right" or "whatever the HPs says, goes" to the feminist-humanist approach of consensus decision-making, which, in its most extreme form--unanimous consensus decision-making--can operate like the U.N. Security Council: one veto stops anything. On the other hand, corporate law in the U.S. tends to reflect our governmental model, with some distribution of power and a few required checks and balances.

In California, for example, a non-profit, even a religious non-profit (churches have special rules and are a different animal), must have a President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Titles within the organization may differ, but the Big Kahuna, the Paper-Pusher, and the Bean-Counter still must perform the duties of those three offices under local law. The corporation--a quasi-entity rather like a legal golem--must have a physical address and a designated human who will accept legal papers as corporate representative if needed. The assumed model is three-tiered, and bears some resemblance to one that civics classes teach:

    • the electorate
      members, if any, who join the organization by whatever mechanism;
      they make up the "body" of the organization in most non-profits but may or may not vote or have other control over the corporation.
    • the executive branch
      officers of the corporation, who do most of the administrative work required by law to keep the corporation going and the executive work of the corporation's reason for existing.
    • the legislative branch
      directors of the corporation, who create and vote into effect the corporate "constitution" or by-laws, which set forth the purposes, rules, and methods of operating of the corporation; in essence, both the "Constituional Congress" and the regular "Congress." Usually the founding directors are self-chosen and later directors are elected by the members on whatever schedule of frequency the by-laws state.


Now, on the one hand, this structure looks a lot like a three-degree Wiccan structure. Firsts call quarters and perform small chores, seconds lead rituals and teach classes, elders lead covens and counsel folk (in some traditions, of some Pagan religions; as always in Paganism, nothing includes everyone). On the other hand, if you compare it to the classic U.S. "branches of government" system, you find that there's no obvious judicial branch. That's one of its weaknesses; there is no specified model for resolving conflicts. In that regard, the system is more like a Parliamentary organization, because if the board of directors gets into a head-to-head confrontation with its officers (executive officers, or Presidents, in particular), then what may come to pass is essentially a vote of no confidence:

    • resignation or removal of an officer or officers, requiring replacement by election or appointment
    • resignation or removal of a director or directors, requiring replacement by election or appointment
    • mass resignations or removals of either officers or directors or both, which usually signals a dead-end conflict of some sort at the topmost levels of the organization and forces a re-organization or sometimes dissolution of the corporation


Usually either directors and officers are elected in a particular organization (sometimes both). Depending on the choice made and codified in the organization's by-laws by its founders and successive boards, a new election may be required before any further action for the organization can occur at all. And in a community with as a well-beaten grapevine as any Pagan one, the underlying disagreements that drove any election are likely to give rise to as much speculation and gossip as productive thought or willing volunteer nominees.

Eventually, in a bad situation, the only volunteers may be those for whom power and title are the attractions. An organization can be a long time recovering from such leadership. It may never. It may eventually dissolve, but that can take time and leaves openings for intentional and accidental abuse. Moreover, an organization so led in the Pagan community can do significant damage, leaving behind disillusioned idealists, broken relationships, and disappointed seekers.

The best organizations resemble a well-crafted ritual: with a carefully chosen purpose, clearly defined positions of responsibility and authority, clear lines of communication, and the joyful contributions of willing volunteers, a Pagan organization can grow and shine and benefit many thousands more people than ever become directly involved.

Preventive Medicine



Many for-profit corporations have elaborate rules to keep prevent abuses of directors' and officers' power. If you have worked in a financial firm, a high-tech firm, or creative firm, you have probably seen or signed some sort of agreement limiting your actions in ways that protect your employer from legal action or loss of income. The same kinds of concerns can arise in a non-profit organization, but it may not occur to folks founding one to include measures for preventing some of the problems that can come up, especially in such an interconnected community as a local Pagan organization relies on for its directors and officers.

At the founding stages, a volunteer attorney is often involved, though not required. Kits for preparing non-profit corporation paperwork are readily available, often with boilerplate documents where you just fill in the blanks. However, if these standard documents are hard for you to understand, try to get help writing them in plain English.

Whoever prepares the by-laws, even from standard forms, can use simple English. Plain English contracts and legal documents are just as binding as ones full of "hereases" and "wheretofores." I've signed a credit-union's auto loan contract that put things as simply as "You promise to keep the car insured against comprehensive and collision damage for its full value until this loan is paid in full." It doesn't have to be gibberish or gobbledegook!

If a non-profit organization already exists, it's possible to revise the by-laws by whatever process they already specify; usually a proposal to revise or amend, then a directors' meeting to review, discuss, and vote on the proposal, and finally filing the updated version of the by-laws, if approved, in the corporation's permanent records. Publicizing changes of how an organization operates is also crucial unless the changes are very minor.

Ground Rules



Now, what do you put into the by-laws? Because that's where you set the ground rules for your non-profit. You need to answer a bunch of questions for your organization:

    • Who can be a director or officer?
    • How are directors and officers selected?
      • by election?
      • by appointment (by predecessor or by others)?
      • by inheritance?
      • by double-elimination pillow-fighting tournaments?
    • Do directors or officers serve a set term of office?
    • Is there a maximum number of terms a director or officer may serve?
      Cumulatively, or consecutively?
    • How are directors and officers removed?
    • What is cause to remove a director or officer, if any?
    • How often do directors meet?
    • Are meetings regularly scheduled?
    • What constitutes a quorum for a meeting
      (enough directors to take any action)?
    • Must officers attend directors' meetings?
    • Who can call directors' meetings?
    • How does someone call a directors' meeting?
    • How will meetings be run? (Boilerplate by-laws often specify Robert's Rules of Order. It's not good, but it's better than no rules at all. As Pagans, will you use a gavel or a talking stick? Formality or informality?)
    • Can a director or officer be a director or officer of other non-profit corporations? of for-profit corporations? are there limits on how many?
    • Can immediate family members (parent-child, spouse, sibling, other?) be directors or officers at the same time? sequentially?
    • Can coven sibs be directors or officers at the same time? sequentially?
    • How many members of a close-knit group (small Pagan circle such as coven, temple, grove, kindred, clan, polyamorous family) can be directors or officers at the same time?
    • Who defines job duties?
    • Who acts as supervisor for such jobs?
    • Who supervises the supervisor(s)?
    • Who does performance reviews?


As you can see, you're creating an organizational structure. Ideally, you're creating a structure that will work for the people who have to live with what you create, that is as simple as possible to administer (nothing is ever that easy), that can change when it needs to without changing every time the wind blows cold, and that will support the directors and officers in doing the jobs they've undertaken to do.






Principles



In reporting an event, a journalists' key questions must be answered, and the sooner the better: who, what, when, where, why--and usually how. In preparing to found a proposed non-profit corporation, if you answer all of these questions, you will lay excellent groundwork for your successors and your community alike:

  • Who will the organization serve and who will serve it?

    Constituents: who needs what you plan to accomplish? If your purpose is public education, then your "audience" consists of NON-pagans, everyone from "Joe Six-Pack" to the media editors and producers who are the most frequently targeted (but by no means only) route to disseminating public information. If your purpose is to help relocated pagans connect with local pagani, then your audience is entirely pagan, both local and out of area. And, finally, if your purpose is to provide a gateway to the pagan community for seekers, then your audience consists primarily of potential seekers, seekers, and unaffiliated students in that post-seeker "a-ha!" stage--though not necessarily in that order.

    Volunteers: do a reality check about resources: people, people, and more people! Only after you have a realistic count of probable volunteers, and then cut your most optimistic estimates down by 75%, should you use your numbers to assume that you'll have who you need to get things done.

  • What will the organization do?
    Brainstorm: assemble everyone interested in creating the non-profit. List all the things the corporation wants to do, everyone's ideas, in a brainstorming session--no negative comments, now; anything goes. Then sort them into four categories based on the current resources of the corporation: this year, next year, sometime, never (blue sky; maybe Bill Gates will get hit by a truck and leave the non-profit a billion bucks). Then pick the top three in order of feasibility and payback (in supporting the purposes of the corporation, having fun, and improving community relations)
  • When will the organization act?
    A corporation can be created that will only exist for a specified period. Like "sunset laws," you can specify in advance that it will dissolve at a particular date or under a specific set of circumstances. (Note: for any legal corporation, there's legal paperwork to be written, signed, and filed with the state of incorporation in dissolving it, too.)
  • Where will the organization function?
    Are you working locally, regionally, state-wide, nationally, internationally? Look at the goals and make sure the structure supports the scale.
  • Why will the organization exist?
    Consider it in the light of a working: examine the purpose first. If the founders are Wiccan, compare the purpose to the Rede. Test it against other ethical as well as market-related touchstones.





Personalities



I could title this section "politics," but I think it's better to label it by its true face. The word politics comes from the same root as "polite." Politeness is a good basis for communication. Implicit in politeness are a number of points that are often forgotten when a non-profit, or any, organization, as all too often occurs, finds itself with interpersonal conflicts and communication difficulties. The sources of most conflicts in any non-profit organization are poor communications, both misunderstandings and missing information.

  • Professional Attitude
    Any volunteer for a non-profit should understand that this job is a job like any other--except that the payment is the satisfaction of supporting your pet cause. If you wouldn't treat someone in a particular way at your day job, don't do it in a non-profit. Be better than your day job; the co-worker you gossip about is getting a salary whether or not you think they're competent, but the volunteer collecting the mail is spending their own time and money.
  • Respect
    Everyone working for a new (young, small) non-profit is a volunteer. They give time, effort, and usually spend at least a little of their own precious cash (gas money, phone calls, letters, stamps) to help further the purposes of the organization. All communications with and between volunteers of any sort, or even the rare non-profit employee (some can eventually pay the corporate Secretary and perhaps President), should assume as a baseline that people are adults, that they are doing the best job they can, and that errors are errors of communication, misunderstanding, or lack of information. Any other attitude lends itself to slights, rumors, emotional damage, and possible damage to the corporation.
  • Communications
    Any organization runs on its communications. Mostly, non-profits run by telephone, but telephone communications leave no record, and often records are critical. For this reason, e-mail has become a major tool for many non-profits.

    If you're communicating electronically, be professional. Even though all the directors of a corporation may be the same six people who also go bowling together every Thursday, separate non-profit business from your bowling league (or teaching circle or carpool or baseball team). Stick to business and send separate messages for the personal stuff. For that matter, apply the same rule to a telephone call: at the very least, label the business section of the call, deal only with non-profit business, then declare that segment done with and get down to the serious gabbing.

    E-mail, even more than the distance of a telephone, makes it fatally easy to say things we don't mean, to say things we would never say in person, to say them meaner than we would to anyone's face, and to write and send off thoughtless words before we have all the facts or have thought a matter through. If you ever write anything so fast your fingers trip on the keyboard, if your ears glow red with emotion, if you polish those carefully sharpened phrases until you strike the final period with a bang that knocks the keycap off the keyboard... stop. Wait. Don't click the Send button. Don't type command-enter. Take your hands off the keyboard, get away from the desk, and wait. Put your hands back on the keyboard and save the message without sending it. Wait until tomorrow. Or even the next day. Re-read it first, pretending you've never seen it before. Visualize the person to whom you're "speaking" while you read it. Be honest with yourself; would you say even half of this to that person in person? If yes, if you're sure that's the best way to say what you must say, then send it. If it was important, it will keep. And if it was a whim of the moment, you can delete it without having embarassed yourself. You may even have refrained from hurting someone.

    Finally, no amount of cute "emot-icons" that look like smiley faces if you turn your head, or virtual grins (<G>) are going to have the same effect as a real smile would in person. If the words might be hurtful without a smile, don't say them. If they could be taken to imply disrespect, dismissal, disgust, or disappointment, they probably will be. If your sense of humor runs to the ironical, the sarcastic, the satyrical, then you're better off not using e-mail for important or sensitive communications! It takes a very close friend to recognize ironical humor in print. And it takes a very good writer to write satire, irony, or sarcasm as interpersonal communication in ways that are not also hurtful.
  • Working Styles
    Just because someone does a job in a way different than you would do it, does not mean that person is not doing the job or is doing it badly. Styles vary. If you are a director, officer, or volunteer leader supervising any other volunteer, concentrate on facts and results. If newsletter editors are happy and successful typing copy, pasting up clip art, and photocopying the whole, and it is good and gets out on time, why insist on moving the newsletter to a desktop publishing set-up? Electronic tools are a good servant and a poor master. They can save ongoing expenses, but may limit your potential pool of volunteer labor significantly.
  • Extra Time
    Allow more time than you would for a day job. Everyone here is working in their "free" time! They, too, have lives, day jobs, school commitments, marriages and divorces, houses and lawns, children and laundry, covens and teaching and studying and private practice. Limit demands on any individual's time, and do reality checks about how many hours a month any given non-profit task really takes to accomplish.
  • Conflict Resolution
    Whenever a conflict arises, take a time-out. Don't speak in anger, you're virtually certain to regret it. Don't talk to others about it; word gets around. No one need violate a confidence in order for your feelings to be felt. These are Pagans, remember? Empaths, sensitives, magic-users, astral travelers, the occasional clairvoyant...there's no reason to be surprised when your unspoken attitudes are perceived. No matter how strongly you feel that another party has parked their head on the astral and left their mouth running without a governor, your comments will probably affect whoever you scorn directly or indirectly. (Example: you never say anything about someone's capabilities but you repeatedly propose replacing that person in a position. Think that message won't get through? Think again!)





Stray Thoughts



If you're still determined, after all this, to go ahead with your non-profit, it probably needs to exist, so I wish you good journeying. In closing, I give you some passing thoughts borne of experience, for you to use or ignore as you will.

  • Write things down.
  • Keep communications short and to the point.
  • Limit electronic communications to facts: dates, times, places, reminders, notifications, and document transmission.
  • Say what you mean.
  • Mean what you say.
  • Never volunteer because you think you "should" or because your best friend did or because you want the title.
  • Always assume the job, any job, will take longer and cost more. If it doesn't, great. If it does, no worries.
  • Never overstate your capabilities.
  • Never underestimate your ability to learn new things.
  • If attempting something new, say so. People will help if you ask.





Copyright©1999 Daphne Stephanotis, All rights reserved.
Permission to reproduce is granted only if no changes are made to the contents and this notice is included in any copies.

I am not an attorney. Everything I say is based on my best information but is my opinion and is not guaranteed for legal accuracy.
Every example of a problem situation given in this paper is fiction. I made it all up, including the name "Goatshead". Any resemblance to any person(s), living or dead, or organization(s), past or present or planned, is coincidental.
If you undertake the non-profit path, check local and national laws for yourself. In the U.S.A., understandable, quality, self-help legal references are available from Nolo Press.

Author bio: Daphne Stephanotis began neopagan studies in 1975, focusing on divination, healing, protection, and meditative techniques. After working as part of a small neopagan church in 1981, she retreated to practice solitary witchcraft until her initiation into British Traditional Wicca in the early 1990s.

Important Note: The Witches' Voice Inc. does not offer legal advice nor are we qualified to do so. This document does not constitute legal advice but is intended to be used in conjunction with the legal services of an attorney licensed to practice in your state. This document can be copied and distributed to your lawyer should you decide that you need the services of one.

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