It's been almost a year since SAMN went live. Unfortunately, we made a rookie mistake: we didn't really look into what we wanted to be in terms of profit.
Obviously, our mission has always been first: encourage people to embrace STEAM into their lives. We sell products to encourage people to show their STEAM pride, not because we expect to make a profit from it.
Here's the thing though: to establish our planned community centers, we need money. By the order of about $10,000 a month. That means selling $358 a day, or about 18 T-shirts a day. This is per community center.
Right now we barely sell any per day.
We decided to call ourselves a nonprofit recently because we felt that it most matched SAMN's identity of considering social mission first and all proceeds from products go to the community centers. But we can't even get enough attention on us at the moment. We're not big enough to be considered for direct donations, and we haven't yet registered as a Texas corporation or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so virtually no grants are available to us. Essentially, we have no funding besides the few products we currently sell.
Small businesses, on the other hand, have a lot more grants open to them near their beginning. As a for-purpose/profit company, we would just need to file with Texas, apply for an EIN, and then start applying for more funding (this all is much easier than filing to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit).
Of course a big difference is the funds go right to my account. I'm transparent about that.
I created a separate checking account under my name for SAMN, where the funds will go. Currently, I plan to use that for keeping the website and email live (requires about $430 a year). In the future, I hope to use that funding to pay for the first community center. (Any donations made on the donation page will be untouched except for use to form that center.) Essentially, the big difference here is that I may pay employees, a partner if I go with a Partnership rather than being the sole owner of the business, and myself. When I say myself, I don't intend to take a lot of the funds— only what I might need for paying rent someday, and that's only if SAMN reaches a certain amount of success. I want most of the funds going to SAMN rather than myself, hence it being a for-purpose branch of for-profit.
For anyone who was considering donating because we were a nonprofit
I apologize for this sudden change. I didn't start out with big dreams for SAMN, so I didn't plan as much as I should have. I'm glad I'm catching this now before we become well known, but as we're reaching out to others, we've identified as a nonprofit for some time. For some of these people, I don't know how to recontact them to correct this. Part of me hopes they'll not donate just to avoid confronting this issue (social anxiety for the win). But I'll keep the donation page open in case anyone wants to support a community center, and I'll also keep a button on that page to direct to here to clear up any misunderstandings.
If there are any questions about what this means, please let me know by commenting.
Thank you for reading.