Essential Services for Non Profit Associations [A Guide]

You’ve most likely heard the terms “charity”, “non-profit”, and even “not-for-profit” used for associations and organizations that support social, environmental, and sometimes, political causes. But all three terms refer to different kinds of entities.

However, the focus of this article is to explain what non-profit associations do, their essential services and how they differ from charities.

What is a Non-Profit Organisation?

A non-profit or not-for-profit organization is a tax-exempt entity that is organized to achieve mutual or public benefits that do not include generating profits for members of the board, owners, or investors.Continue reading

Young Community Volunteer Makes a Difference with Autistic Children through Music by Nithya Tippireddy

Whenever we would go to India, my mom would take us to her friend’s house. That friend, who was affected with a form of muscular dystrophy, could only move her feet. I remember first visiting her 10 years ago when she was a shy and naive seven-year-old. I hid behind my mom, staring mortified at her distorted features.

Concerned about the resistance I showed towards this friend, my mother encouraged me at fourteen to volunteer at FCSN, a special needs center, hoping to increase my exposure to the disabled community. I recall being nervous my first day, completely unsure how to react when engulfed by meandering kids who were flapping their wrists and incoherently asking my name. Asked one day to help a young autistic girl use the restroom, I stifled my initial horror at this request and led her inside, soon realizing that yelling instructions from outside the stall doesn’t work. Continue reading

Simply Dream Your Own Dream by Madalina Bucheru

madalina_bucheru_blog  KWBeing from Eastern Europe (Romania) always gave me a special view of the world, and pushed me to move forward. Eastern Europe is a wonderful place for vacation trips, river cruises and short 15 seconds bits in the news… For me, as a journalist fresh out of college, it was way more: it was my battle ground, the place where I would become someone, make a difference, have my voice heard. Well, it turned out that was not the case, as getting a decent job in any kind of media would actually be reduced to just two simple basic skills: copy and paste! So there I was, after 4 years in college and working at small newspapers, completely lost and confused on whether journalism has actually a voice in Romania. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a job posting within a nonprofit. And that was the beginning of my own dream.

Continue reading

Be the Change by Daisie Hobson


After working in High Tech for 12 years, Daisie Hobson had had enough!  She had traveled all over the world and experienced poverty that put her humble background to shame.

One day while walking through a park in Cairo she had young girls and boys following her around, welcoming her to Egypt and asking her questions about the US. It was then that she decided that she wanted to do more than throw down money in the countries that she visited.  She wanted to make a difference; she wanted to be the change that she expected of the world.

A year later she was headed to Mexico as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  She quit her job where she was making ridiculous money, sold her house to the bank and donated all her things to friends and family.  She said “adios” to the bay area and decided that she was going to work towards making the world a better place and learns Spanish while doing it!

Unfortunately, what the world wanted and what Daisie wanted didn’t initially mesh.  She imagined living in mud huts, digging ditches, teaching children English while sitting in the dirt.  What she got was an air conditioned office, constant internet access and teaching children English in her apartment a block away from el Centro.  She was designated the “Project Management Specialist” for Peace Corps Mexico (  Sure, she was learning Spanish, but she was once again working for the “man” or “hombre” and was stuck in an office.  She decided immediately it wasn’t much different than working in the US.  In the US she had a day job she didn’t like, but it was her night job and her volunteerism that filled her heart.  She decided to do the same in Mexico.  By the end of her service, she was mentoring 15 children and at least 10 adults.  Her heart was so full it broke, when it was time to say goodbye.

Since she lived near the Peace Corps head quarters in Mexico, she was often asked to speak to the new trainees.  The advice she often gave was…if you heart isn’t filled in your day job, find something that fills it in your spare time!  The Peace Corps asks that volunteers have secondary or community projects outside of their main project, and Daisie found it in working with the children in her community.  Others found projects in orphanages, helping pueblos implement solar ovens, water projects etc…

Mexico and/or the Peace Corps aren’t unique in their needs for volunteerism.  The US has needs in all areas:  tutors, mentors, helpers, counselors, and friends.  If your heart isn’t filled by your day job, maybe you need to fill it by working in your community; tutoring, mentoring, donating goods and preventing violence.

Daisie says, “Stop complaining about the state of your community and start doing something to improve it!”

Daisie recently returned from her service in Mexico, but is determined to continue to serve.


Daisie Hobson is originally from Missouri where she got her BS in Ceramic Engineering, she got tired of the cold so she moved to the hottest place in the country, Arizona.  After many sunburns and air conditioning freezer burns she moved to California where she got her MS in Organization Development.  She is currently preparing for her next adventure!

She also kept the blogs while she was at the Peace Corps:

A For-Profit for Nonprofits: Can It Work? By Evelyn Horng

Evelyn Horng picI have always been interested in social causes.  In college, I majored in public policy, and I interned one summer for a nonprofit that organizes done-in-a-day projects for busy people who can’t commit to long term volunteer opportunities.  I also volunteered quite a bit myself – helping to build homes for low income people, pulling out non-native vegetation (aka weeding!), sorting food at a food bank.….

My senior year in college, the obvious set in.  You just don’t make as much money working in nonprofit as you do in the for-profit world.  I envisioned the kind of life I wanted for myself, and the type of funds that would be needed to support it.  And while I never imagined a lavish lifestyle, I just didn’t want to struggle to buy a home in Silicon Valley, or worry about covering all my expenses.

So I entered the corporate world, doing a two-year stint in strategy consulting and then moving on to high tech product management, and climbing the professional ladder.  By the time the kids came around, I started re-thinking how I wanted to spend my time.  I wasn’t quite satisfied in my last job, and I was looking for more….

More personal fulfillment,
More flexible work situation,
More control over what I was doing….

So a co-worker and I started a company called Roonga (  Its original goal was to encourage people to share things with their friends and trusted groups.  In doing so, we’d encourage reuse, reduce waste, and help our communities be more sustainable.  But smaller trusted circles made it harder to get rid of things you no longer need, and people didn’t always have the things that you need in these tighter networks.  So recently, we’ve redirected Roonga to work with nonprofits, providing a platform for nonprofits to communicate in-kind needs and building an audience of followers specifically interested in hearing about these.

With the latest turn that Roonga has taken, I feel like I’ve come full circle back to where I started.  We are working with nonprofits to improve the efficiency of their in-kind donations, and to support their causes by opening up their audience.  In the process, I am learning a lot about the local causes in Silicon Valley, and I am having a great time doing this!

However, it remains to be seen whether we can build a successful for-profit company working with nonprofits.  Roonga is a for-profit company – we like the potential of allowing employees to benefit from the company’s success, and we feel it is important to reward talent at competitive for-profit rates.  And for me, I like the self-fulfillment of working for a nonprofit cause, while also still retaining the for-profit mindset.  I’d like to think that we can take the best of both worlds and meld them into Roonga – but we are only at the beginning of our journey and still have a long way to go…..  The future is ahead of us, and we’ll have to see where we end up.

In the meantime, take a look at our nonprofit beta, follow one of our local nonprofits (, and let me know what you think!  Email me at with any thoughts, suggestions, or feedback.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Evelyn Horng is the co-founder of Roonga, a Silicon Valley startup.  She was previously VP, Product Management, at MLSListings, Inc., and held other product management positions in various high tech companies.  She has a B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University.  She spends most of her spare time trying to keep up with her two young sons.