We would like to lead the way in challenging the status quo of what for-profit entities should look like and what non-profit organizations must conform to.
Within our first year of forming Wonder Women as a non-profit, came the stark realization that the very idea of an organization called Wonder Women being associated with the words “non-profit” is not at all empowering.
Over time, it became increasingly clear that this was not the right fit for such a profound and far-reaching vision, one that includes fostering the very ideal of economic freedom for women and the positive affects this would have on their families and communities.
In our opinion, nor does it send the most positive or holistic message to young, innovative, progressive and futuristic leaders forging new paths and daring to create work for themselves and others that just doesn’t fit the pre-fabricated boxes that society wants to put them into. Taken literally, the words ‘non-profit’ invalidate the desire to do good and have abundance at the same time.
In addition, our non-profit status severely limited our ability to host networking events and gatherings, among other restraints that inhibited our ability to be creative and proactive in meeting the needs of our community freely.
We don’t subscribe to the antiquated idea that the sole purpose of for-profit companies is to make as much money as possible for its shareholders at the expense of its competitors. And we will never sell the privacy of our supporters and subscriber or bombard them with an overload of advertising.
Our intention is to engage in fair exchanges and put profits back into commissioning thought-provoking projects and into hiring and training women from many different cultures, backgrounds and experiences. And we intend to build Wonder Women chapters internationally. We firmly state in our Mission, Vision and Ideology that we believe in the power of women coming together across numerous platforms (top, down and across) to actively engage with and help each other to succeed in life through shared experiences, conversations and by example. To improve personal and professional lives, to strive to overcome limitations, prejudice, abusive acts, and to encourage success, contribution, sharing and equality between the sexes.
So the question that followed was… Can we do all the good we want to do as an organization that is not a non-profit? Well YES! Very few venture to do business this way however, so it prompts explaining again and again.
We know we are not alone, as social entrepreneurship is on the rise and the B-Corporation movement is gaining visibility and support. Tax deductions are nice and remind us of our good deeds at tax time, but we believe that we, as a society, can do better. Being an active participant in encouraging women’s development, positive attitudes, success thinking and leadership, while at the same time promoting the economic well-being within your own community and perhaps your own business can be much more rewarding and sustaining over the long term.
For starters, we wish to create tangible benefits for our membership with empowering online platforms like SPOTLIGHT. Something unexpected and quite incredible happens when women firmly state “I AM a Wonder Woman because I AM….” They are suddenly presented with a safe space to talk freely about their passions and self-identify with their strengths. Often, these passions and strengths may not have ever been acknowledged or valued before, and have thus been hidden, underappreciated and underutilized, perhaps they have even been a source of embarrassment.
We wish to continue to fund programs like Wonder Women in Action! Empowered Networking and Interview Series, which shines the light on REAL Wonder Women in front of a live audience. Attendees can fully interact with these guests in conversation about timely and relevant topics in a space where they are also encouraged to talk about their own projects and businesses, their own challenges and breakthroughs.
We also wish to do more for the existing non-profits we love and support. In addition to our current efforts with them, we would like to financially support them as well.
We stand firmly behind our decision to be a for-profit organization. We believe that the benefits and advantages of this choice in the long run will become increasingly clear to others who will realize it is a better fit for their ideas too. And because we believe in our Mission & Vision so strongly, Wonder Women’s upstart has been completely self-funded, so that we could be free to make bold strides and try big ideas, at times going back to the drawing board and trying again.
The Wonder Women Organization, NFP
(NFP has since changed to mean Now For Profit)
Since our inception late 2010 Wonder Women has not purposefully sought after income opportunities, loans, grants or donors. Industry experts say that the point of failure for 8 out of 10 businesses is year five. In my 15+ years experience in business development, finance and non-profit world experience, I have seen what is most often the reality of the situation. Five years is the pressure point when lenders, investors and sometimes supporting members decide to “cash in” or “opt out.” When this happens, it is often sudden with devastating consequences.
I made the purposeful decision to build what I see as a hybrid organization organically and on my own. And I chose to do so without pressure from entities that are not vested in progressive ideas or willing to experience growing pains during the most important time for any business, its first five formative years.
According to Forbes.com, the five reasons 8 out of 10 businesses fail are as follows:
Reason #1: Not really in touch with customers through deep dialogue.
Reason #2: No real differentiation in the market
Reason #3: Failure to communicate value propositions in clear, concise and compelling fashion.
Reason #4: Leadership breakdown at the top
Reason#5: Inability to nail a profitable business model with proven revenue streams.
A new business could literally spend each of its first five years working these challenges at a time, one at a time. Most don’t have the self-invested time, flexibility or willingness to do the work to get these fundamental things right.
I see Wonder Women as a culmination of all of my business acumen and I see it as a life-long commitment. This is not a whim. It is not a next shiny new toy. For me personally, I needed to try on, live and breathe the Mission & Vision.
I needed to walk the walk and I needed to take some do-over’s. I needed to take the time to understand my audience, personally engage with women and see if they were ready to be Wonder Women… if I was ready to be a Wonder Woman! When your primary business goal is to positively and powerfully influence, impact and propel women at all levels to take charge and make the necessary life changes to achieve the well-being, prosperity and abundance they desire, anything resembling a value proposition cannot be forced, dictated or preached.
I see a world where women feel vested in and seek out their own “calling” in life. They OWN their unique sensibilities that they may not see reflected back to them in their homes, their schools, jobs or even in the media. They accept that they are different and they seek out and find Wonder Women as an outlet to celebrate how they see and experience this world. By sharing what makes them feel alive, what fills their heart and makes their spirit soar, other budding Wonder Women will seek out, find and even create their own outlets.
And what a world that will be.