For or Not; That’s the Question

imagesOften I am asked the question, what’s the difference between a for-profit organization and a non-profit organization. I decided to answer this question as easily as possible.

For profit organizations are just what they say they are. They are for a profit. They do not have to answer to anyone. They may have shareholders and investors, but for the most part, they are on their own. They have a product or service they provide to the marketplace and they sell it. A profit is made and that profit is either reinvested back into the company or used as salaries. Basically, they could do whatever they want with the profit.

Profit for organization

For profit organizations file taxes, pay employee tax, unemployment tax, insurance, 401K benefits, and other fringe benefits the company deems they want to pay for their employees. It could be discounts at the neighborhood gym. Those are benefits the for-profit company wants to share with its employees. Usually a for-profit organization can be up and running fairly quickly. Basically complete your secretary of state requirements, apply for an EIN and you’re in business.

 Service to community

Now, the non-profit is a bit more involved. The non-profit is to provide a service for the community. It can be a museum, educational institution, religious, scientific research, hospital care, or environmental. A non-profit has a board of directors, articles of incorporation and fundraising to consider. A non-profit has to get direction from the board of directors to implement programs, how the programs will be implemented and for how long. In addition to concentrating on the programs the organization is implementing, they have to think about fundraising. These funds are used to run the programs, not for the profit of the organization.

The non-profit does pay taxes, such as employee tax. But may not pay sales tax. Other fringe benefits are also paid, such as insurance and 401K. However, extra benefits such as gym memberships are not considered the best use of the nonprofit funds. It takes a little bit longer to become a non-profit in the eyes of the IRS. First you would register as a non-profit with your secretary of state, apply for an EIN and send your non-profit incorporation letter from the state to the IRS in addition to completing a packet for the IRS. The registering with your state may not take as long, however, to register with the IRS may take a while. If you are planning to begin applying for funding with your IRS non-profit letter, you may need to make other plans for raising funds while you await your letter.


Dr. Genola Johnson is the Executive Director of Johnson & Associates Consulting Firm, LLC a grant writing firm. For more information on JACF, vist

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Specifics About Grants

giftWhen most people hear the word grant, they equate it with free money. However, this is very far from the case. When an organization is funded with a grant, there are often many ties attached.

There are specifics that the organization should be aware of before writing the grant AND especially if the grant is funded. For example, there may be terms and conditions that the organization may not agree with. If this is the situation, the organization may need to reject receiving the grant award.

There may be financials that should be reported periodically. If there is no one able to do this or you do not want to report financials as required by the grant, this may not be the grant for you to apply for or accept.

If the grant requires you to match funds, there may be specifics of how those matches can be made. it is important to read all the requirements for matching so that you can adhere to the grant guidelines.

Often there are records that will need to be filed and kept a certain number of years after the grant period has expired. Make sure you are knowledgeable of these requirements as well.

Finally, some grants may not allow you to draw funds until you have spent funds. In other words, it may be a reimburse grant. If this is the case, you will need to make sure you are aware of what you can spend money on to ensure you are reimbursed 100%.









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Sharing Really Is Caring

sharing“Sharing is Caring,” is a phrase that is often used. However, sharing and caring are very important in the non-profit sector. As a grant writer, I often come across individuals who represent organizations who want grants written.

Of course I am delighted to have the opportunity to write the grant for the organization because this allows me to help my community. But when we look deeper into the requirements of the grant, often the grant requires the organization to share the resources they may receive.

Then the representative will say to me, “I have to SHARE, the budget?”

Why are you a non-profit?

Remember why you chose to become a non-profit in the first place. Hopefully it was to help a community. You see the key word is, HELP. Often providing help requires someone other than your organization providing the services.

Grantors prefer to see your organization working within the community to help the needed cause. This means, they want to see more than you providing the resources. They want to see you working with another organization. It’s almost like a puzzle, they want to see all the pieces working together.

For example, if you have an organization that works with job skills. The grantor would like to see you working with another organization that could bring career coaching skills (proper dress, manners, etc.) to the job skills table.

Working with others helps your organization

Working with other organizations can increase your mission and goals opportunities in helping the community you chose to assist.

Acquiring letters of support and MOUs from partnering organizations will increase your RFP score. Having a high score increases your chances of being funded.

Remember, when you decide you want to request funding for your organization’s program, ask yourself, who can you SHARE with.










Dr. Genola Johnson has been a successful grant writer since 2007. She works with Johnson & Associates Consulting Firm. For more information, visit

Foundations for Grant Writing

money treeFoundations for Grant Writing

No matter if you are a for-profit or a non-profit, you will need certain information to apply for a grant.

  1. For a non-profit organization, proof of your 501(c) 3 status will be needed. Information about your budget such as how you receive revenue and from what sources.
  2. A summary of your organization’s history, mission, a description and accomplishments of the organization. A solid idea of the program you are requesting funds for, how it will impact the community and a time frame for the project (how long will the project take to implement).
  3. Indicate a needs assessment in stating your current situation.
  4. A project description should include the goals, objectives and criteria of the program’s success, project design and implementation, including a measurement and evaluation procedures. Indicate how your program can continue to support the project after the grant funds are gone. State how the program will be evaluated for success.
  5. Budget section; how the funds will be used in the project. Information on whether other grants have been awarded; matching and in-kind funding will sometimes need to be included.

Once the above framework information is in place writing grants will not be that difficult. Depending on the grant request, small bits of information can be added or deleted.

Grab the Dream!