by RFM Founder, and parent
of a special-needs child,
Michael A. Boylan
Rationale For Profit and Non-Profit Structure—Two Separate Entities
The Reach For Me Network is an organization dedicated to the delivery of services and support considered critically important and of genuine value to members; being forthright as an organization; practicing solid principles and fair and ethical practices.
The purpose of this information is to share senior leadership’s thinking/reasoning/rationale behind the financial structure of the network, which is as follows: The Reach For Me Network LLC is a for-profit entity. If or when it becomes a profitable organization, a portion of the after-tax profits (which may change from year to year based on the products and services desired by members) will flow into a separate legal entity with its own separate board of directors and governance; that entity being The Reach For Me Foundation––the non-profit organization associated with the brand Reach For Me. The intent is that The Reach For Me Foundation should be operational sometime after the second full year of operations, assuming the initial goals of the for-profit are achieved.
Rationale Behind Financial Structure
In setting forth to honor, recognize, pay tribute and serve caregivers of special-needs children, Reach For Me has consulted with one of the most highly regarded not-for-profit lawyers in Minnesota, sharing the mission of the network, the audience we are focused to serve and support, the advocacy we are setting forth to accomplish at the federal and state levels, and the revenues that would comprise the funding of the network to be able to provide these services to parents and related caregivers of special-needs children, regardless of the diagnosis of the child.
Coupled with the legal advice from one of the leading not-for-profit law firms in Minnesota, RFM leadership has spent substantial time reviewing the honest realities of building, running and sustaining a successful non-profit organization based on the current state of the non-profit industry nationwide. In thinking through the highest likelihood of being able to exist down the road for our members, leadership has taken into account all of the following information and numerous other considerations:
Fact: Overall giving (from individuals and corporations) to not-for-profit organizations has decreased considerably nationwide over the last several years. With Congress changing the tax codes, making it even less desirable to donate money to a charity or foundation, this negatively impacts giving to all non-profits nationwide—especially startups, who continue to have to do battle for mind-share and wallet-share with the large and well-known not-for-profits simply to exist and operate.
Fact: Those people who are the best candidates to give/donate money to any one cause or organization are the very same ones who are “impacted” by whatever the organization is setting forth to accomplish. RFM believes it much more respectful to not constantly solicit money from caregivers of special-needs children just so the organization can continue to exist and serve all members. People tire of constantly being asked to contribute to this or that. And people only have so much money to go around, so it can be uncomfortable to say, “No thank you. I’d love to help out, but I can’t at this time.”
Fact: Everyone agrees with the logic that “If you can stand on your own two feet without having to constantly beg for your supper,” you have a better chance of remaining strong financially, and hence, in a better position to serve the needs of the members without having to constantly be in fundraising mode, which takes away focus and energy from serving the members.
Fact: If Reach For Me were a free service with no membership fee required, then, to provide the services, the leadership would need to garner corporate advertising-oriented revenues in order to operate. However, advertisers want something in return if they are to spend serious dollars with Reach For Me. First, they want to bombard members with their ads, so they can make money and a solid return on their investment. Otherwise, they’ll spend their money elsewhere. They’ll also expect that in return for their sponsorship dollars, they’ll be able to purchase data on our members so they can get smarter about how to sell us more of their products and services. That’s how it works on Facebook or any other site if there is no membership fee.
The Reach For Me Network policy is we will not sell information on our members. We want to create an environment were members are not constantly barraged with advertisements on the network. Therefore, it makes more sense to charge each member a nominal/respectful monthly fee that everyone can afford. This is the model used by AARP. By everyone paying a nominal amount every month, the organization has the revenue to serve the membership at large, and doesn’t have to “sell our souls” to corporations in terms of the individual data on our members. With everyone chipping in a small amount monthly, then we, the members, have more control over the network and its long-term sustainability for all caregivers of special-needs children. It makes more sense!
Therefore, so as not to be dependent upon the constant fundraising-oriented activities that would be necessary every quarter to finance the core services of The Reach For Me Network, the senior leadership believes (and has been advised) that it will have much more leverage and power for advocacy on behalf of the caregivers by having the primary funding source come in the form of an affinity-oriented funding model. Under this model, members pay a nominal fee of $3/month for basic membership in the network. This way, the network is funded by the membership and is not beholden to needing to beg for revenues to survive and serve the greater membership through constant fundraising activities.
Regarding our intent to create a separate non-profit organization associated with the brand, mission and objectives of Reach For Me, there are some core principles guiding management’s thinking. Reach For Me plans to use a percentage of the after-tax profit available from monthly membership dues, caregiver weekend seminars delivered within churches, Fortune 1000 organizations and larger-scale seminars throughout the country, keynote speaking, book revenues, revenues from the anthem song and music video, charter sponsors providing discounts on products of value to our members, licensing of programs, etc., to fund The Reach For Me Foundation (a private foundation). Through the foundation, our current thinking would be to:
––Give money to caregivers of special-needs children who have either been dropped from, can’t afford, or have lost their health insurance coverage and are in dire need of medical attention for their children or need financial assistance to pay for whatever medical care their children need. The same applies for their need for legal services.
––Fight/advocate at the federal and state levels regarding the continuous cuts being made to the special-needs budgets. We cannot have any impact in slowing down this trend unless we have massive leverage as one unified organization, which Reach For Me plans to have in the form of millions of parents of special-needs children as members of the network. By banding together as one unified and powerful voice (and as voters in federal and state elections––which politicians must listen to because it’s about the votes for them), we can make a difference. And we will!
––Leverage the power of one unified voice to save caregivers significant money each and every year on the various products and services we all need, and in some cases, need much more of, because we have special-needs children. We will use our “strength in numbers” to create significant savings on life insurance, legal services related to our children, financial planning services, other forms of insurance, and a multitude of other products and services we all need in our everyday lives as caregivers of children with special needs.
The above model allows for the greatest financial independence and sustainability on behalf of the membership of the network, allowing us to effectively advocate for caregivers of special-needs children’s issues without being beholden to any corporation’s special interests, to advertisers, or to any other public, private or governmental entity.
Gifts/Donations to The Reach For Me Network
If you are inclined to make a gift or donation to support the work of The Reach For Me Network, we, of course, are most grateful. However, it is most important to note and be aware that any such gift and/or donation from an individual, trust, corporation and/or foundation is not tax-deductible and must not be claimed as a tax-deductible gift or donation, as The Reach For Me Network is a for-profit entity which abides by all applicable IRS tax-related rules and regulations.Financial Structure