Vehicles for Change Provides Advice on How Nonprofits Can Create a Sustainable Business Model

We at Vehicles for Change are humbled and proud of the impact our programs have made over the years. Since 1999, we’ve helped change the lives of more than 14,000 people in Maryland-Virginia-Washington D.C. region. Creating an organization that is sustainable so that our programs are there for the people who need it in the years to come has been a top priority of our organization’s leadership.

Janna Finch of Software Advice recently interviewed our founder, Martin Schwartz, for an article about convincing a nonprofit’s board of directors to open a for-profit business where the profits are used to support nonprofit programs. Schwartz explains how the idea for Freedom Wheels was approved by the Vehicles for Change board of directors, and how that decision laid a solid foundation to continue to support and grow our cause.

Schwartz says: “It’s important that your venture ties as closely as possible to the mission. You have to consider how the general public is going to view the for-profit venture in conjunction with your nonprofit, so it has to make sense.”

Other tips shared in the article by other guests include providing detailed financial records and forecasts to show the risks and benefits of adding a commercial business and hiring experienced people who have successfully run a startup operation to launch the new business.

Schwartz says, “In this economy, it’s tough for a nonprofit to live on grants and donations alone. By diversifying our streams of revenue, we’ve been able to not only stay in operation, but thrive and grow as we prepare to expand nationally.”