Setting up a non-profit organization – What I have learned

Back in January of 2018, in my hometown of Sisters, OR, a non-profit board was elected by a group of parents to establish a housing community for individuals with disabilities in the Sisters area. I was elected to the board, to be, bluntly put, a “communications manager”, or someone who would be sending out reminder emails, for board meetings and other events, eventually gathering our mail from the PO Box, and communicating things by phone as needed. I myself, experience a mild case of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The board has been extremely happy to have me as a part of the non-profit organization, as I am sort of a “voice” for our other disabled individuals, and I provide a very unique perspective, from that of a young person.

I have been with this organization since it’s inception, and have learned a lot about the process of setting up a non-profit organization, even though I barely was involved in the creation of our Articles of Incorporation, By-laws, and the like. What I HAVE learned though, is professionalism. For instance, I was recruited by the board to reach out to a lawyer in the area to review our by-laws, seeing as I am a huge people person. It’s what I do at my job – cashiering – which involves people skills. I reached out to our lawyer, and he agreed to setup a meeting with me. UNFORTUNATELY, it was at about that time that I got my job at DQ, and I was unable to follow through on the request- so I had to leave the board to their own devices. I learned a lot about time management in that instance. Luckily, around mid 2019, we eventually filed.

We are currently in the process of deciding what to do next, and it has been a VERY interesting process. We have decided on hosting an Ice Cream Social at the Sisters Fire Hall, which we did on September 28th. We are now debating on some other things, like a karaoke night, or employer fair. An employer fair would show employers the benefits of hiring a person with IDD, and karaoke night would just be for fun. Whatever we do, we will keep it up to date on!