(Logo by Heather Chase BR>
of Chase Designs).
The Witches' Voice Inc.|
We at the Witches' Voice are continually compiling a important reference documents, form letters that you can use in your local fight for YOUR freedom... 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.
||Chapter Page Views: 1,629,142
Click HERE to return to the Witches' Voice - White Pages Index
Pagans & Non-Profits -- creating them with care|
by Daphne Stephanotis
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.
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
- because liability insurance is more readily available and affordable
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
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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
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:
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!)
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,
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.|