Starting a nonprofit homeschool group correctly! Dollars and Sense Show # 5

DollarsSenseShow5_320pxSq

In this episode of the  Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses

Starting a nonprofit homeschool group correctly

In this episode,  Carol  discusses how to start a nonprofit homeschool group. She shares her knowledge as the Homeschool CPA on important steps to take when organizing a group such as having a board and a clear mission. She’ll also share tips on how to legally operate your homeschool group.

Listen to the show here

Three steps to launching (or running) a successful homeschool organization:

1. Board: Chose a group of leaders so no one carries the burden of leading alone.

2. Bylaws: Write up bylaws to structure your group. Decide the Who, What, Where, How often and How much issues. In the bylaws mention its purpose (what), its members (who) and its leaders. The Where, how often and how much change frequently and do not belong in the bylaws.

Sample bylaws here

3. Budget: Planning with numbers. Estimate your income and your expenses. Plan a small surplus for emergencies.

Cover Money Mgmt HS Org

Carol’s new book, Money Management in a Homeschool Organization will help your treasurer create a budget and stick to it!

 

On the show Carol mentioned:

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on December 19, 2013 when Carol will discuss tax exemption and how to get it for your homeschool group.

 

New, lower prices on HomeschoolCPA books

My bookstore has some changes to help you as a homeschool leader:

 

HS Co-ops Cover_400Updated: Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out has been updated. It has a new cover and some updated information. Price for the new edition paperback version is $9.95, reduced from the original price of $12.50.

Homeschool Co-ops  now comes in Kindle version priced at $4.95

If you purchased the print version from Amazon.com, you can add on the Kindle version for only $2.99

Homeschool Co-ops is also available in pdf format for those of you that prefer an ebook, but not a Kindle version. Price $4.95.

 

 

Cover Money Mgmt HS OrgMajor revision: Money Management in a Homeschool Organization: A Guide for Treasurers is undergoing a major revision. It grew from 40 pages to over 115.

It is getting read by a team of beta readers now and hopefully will be ready for release in paperback and ebook versions in early 2014.

When it’s ready the paperback will cost $9.95

The ebook (pdf) and Kindle versions will cost $3.99

If you purchased the print version, you can add on the Kindle version for only $2.99

 

QALeadersCover3DPrice lowered on Questions and Answers from Homeschool Leaders ebook (pdf only). The price has been lowered to $3.99 from $8.00.

This is a collection of questions from homeschool leaders on a variety of topics.

 

 

 

 

Homeschool group elections and spouses on the team

stick_figures_team_puzzle_400_clr_7003

The current leadership (or our homeschool group) as well as those being added right now are hand picked and invited to be on the team.  In the future do we need to hold elections? Should the invitation to the leadership team be open to the husbands of the ladies on the team?

Angela

 

I have been on the board of several nonprofits that do not hold elections for the board and it can work well. Sometimes it is difficult to get the membership together to hold a vote or sometimes an election turns into a competitive popularity contest.

A middle ground is to ask for nominations (people can nominate themselves) and then the board (or a sub committee of the board) chooses new members based on talents, skills and the board’s needs.

I belonged to a nonprofit board that had advisers and the legal adviser was the husband of the director.  He was asked to be an adviser because of his experience as a lawyer and his passion for our mission, not just because he was married to the director.  Hopefully all the invited advisers will be judicious in offering their opinions and not try to overtake the meeting or the decisions being made.

Carol Topp, CPA

Does permanent leadership work in a homeschool group?

 

Does there  need to be a limit to how many times that person can serve on a homeschool group’s board, if she is still willing and the members still want her leading?

Has anyone had permanent leadership in a homeschool group and seen it work?

 

I have concern about a director or chair staying too long because it can create founder’s syndrome (“we always do it her way because she’s done it for so long”).  But I have seen groups run successfully with the same leaders for 10+years. But,  I would be concerned about burn out for the leader.

I’m less worried about a secretary or other members staying on indefinitely.

I do not think a treasurer should serve more than 3-5 years, even if she is doing a good job and wished to continue serving.  Too many mistakes, or even embezzlement, can occur if a treasurer is not changed frequently.  A treasurer unwilling to step down is a red flag signaling misappropriation of funds.
The pope is appointed for life, but Pope Benedict just resigned. He’s just too tired and old (at 85 years) to continue to do his job. It’s the first time on 600 years a pope has resigned!

In the USA, only the supreme court judges are appointed for life and it is debatable as to whether that system works!

Your homeschool group is not the supreme court nor the papacy, so I would not recommend permanent leadership for a board member.

Carol Topp, CPA

Board turnover may mean the purpose of the homeschool group could change

I am concerned that a regular turn over of the leadership of our homeschool group could result in the vision and purpose of the group changing year to year.

 

A shift away from your original vision and purpose is always a concern, so make sure you never turnover the entire board in a year or do not turn over more than half the board at once.

Also, do some training for new board members. Give them the bylaws and mission statement. Allow them to read minutes from prior board meetings. That way they will understand the purpose and mission of your group.

Additionally,  keep the mission in front of everyone’s eyes at every board meeting. Put it on a poster.  Read it out loud if you have to.

Regular meeting are a good way to remind members of the purpose of your group.

Sad but true story: One homeschool group only held board meetings when there was a crisis (and then those meetings lasted 3-4 hours!). The founder did very little to reinforce the mission and purpose of the group. She assumed everyone on  the board thought like she did.

Imagine her surprise when a board member proposed an idea that was in complete disagreement with the founder’s vision!  The meeting was a horrible experience and ended in the board member resigning. She went on to form a competing homeschool group. It bread ill-will in our homeschool community for years.

I hope that helps,

 

Carol Topp, CPA

When you are criticized for being a homeschool leader

My (virtual) friend Denise Hyde runs the Homeschool Group Leader blog over at http://hgleaderblog.blogspot.com/

She recently received some criticism for being a group leader. Denise shares how she dealt with the sting offers encouragement to other homeschool leaders.

 

  • First, you don’t take it personally. I know, it’s very difficult! I had to swallow a couple of times, send a prayer-flare, and focus on trying to learn from the problem instead of internalizing it.
  • Then ask a few clarifying questions while you settle your feelings and get a handle on the true cause of the discontent. I started with the fellowship, asking her to describe when she felt left out. Ended up it was on a FYI field trip where everyone took their families through the displays on their own. It was a misconception about the type of field trip. Then I tackled the religious view differences and the homeschool philosophies that she had encountered.
  • As we discussed each one, I realized that most of these were things that I couldn’t change her mind on. At that point, I just reassured her of her welcome, pointed out a couple of things to counter her viewpoint, and let her go.
  • Yes, I ended it. I wished her well, telling her I hoped she would find a perfect fellowship for her and her son. Sometimes that is the best policy. Don’t beg them to stay, or try to fix it perfectly. Let them go with genuine care and kindness.
  • Next, realize what you can learn and improve. Put your energy into doing what you truly can do. Nurture the strengths of the group. Follow your God-given goals for the group and the purpose of your homeschool group.
  • Remember, you can’t please everyone, so again, don’t take it personally!
  • Oh, and yeah. . . . focus on the compliment again! Look at all the families that ARE receiving strength from your group. You are doing a great service! Your ministering IS making a difference.

See the entire post at http://hgleaderblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/best-and-worst.html

Hang in there homeschool group leader! Take Denise’s advice to heart and know that what you’re doing is important work!

Carol Topp, CPA

The benefits of a board to avoid burn out

My friends Kristen & Denise at Homeschool Group Leader have been running an interview they did with me as a blog series on leader burn out.

meeting

This session is about how a team of people or a board can help leaders avoid burnout
Here’s part of the interview:
Having a board means you are sharing the responsibility for that group. You’re sharing the decision-making. Who wants to make all these decisions themselves about what classes will be held or where they’re going to find a meeting place or do we need insurance or a million other questions?

But the most important thing a board does is to help you avoid burning out, because you’re sharing that load. And also, having a board means that you can replace yourself–that no one person is doing it all–if she is, then she is making herself too difficult to replace.

There are lots of times when a leader may have to step down. Maybe because she is burned out, but also it could be that her family moves out of town. We’ve had that happen. Or maybe she becomes ill or someone in the house becomes ill, and she has to step down from her responsibilities for a while. Every group out there and every leader out there ought to be saying, “If one of us had to leave, could we keep going?” Who could step in—always have that in the back of your mind.

The next session is on how a budget can help avoid burnout:
Carol Topp, CPA