This question comes up often and usually contains inquiries about specific financial advice which we cannot give since that is not our expertise. We can however point you in some of the directions we ourselves traveled in order to help you begin planning.
It’s great to hear you are working to create a non-profit martial arts organization. We need many more of these! One of the first things you will do is start a business plan to put in writing your ideas and plans. These plans require you to research every aspect of your organization’s financial viability.
We know first-hand that looking to create a business plan can seem daunting but if you approach the task as you would any other goal set you will get it done in no time.
A couple of decent resources for are:
During this planning you will probably need to provide demographic information to show how your new non-profit will impact the community you are in. If you live within the U.S. then the Census data from our very own government is your best friend. Try visiting the site below and plug in the zip codes you need the data for.
Depending on what type of organization you are going to create whether it be a school or a collaborative mechanism such as MARTiAL YOU, a good place to start is to check with schools around you and find out what their overhead is. Look at properties in your area and find out what it would cost to lease some space. Ask all over to see what is charged for membership fees.
A few numbers pertaining to membership fees we gathered in our research can be found here:
Those costs are typically up there because of overhead and the desired profit margins set by the owner. You can see very quickly how high membership fees can go by adding up the basics (rent, insurance, salaries, etc.) and dividing it by the average amount of students you may have.
Independent for-profit schools are hit hard with overhead unless they are run from someone’s home. If you open a separate facility your costs will skyrocket not only because of the building but because that usually comes with employees that need income to survive.
With a non-profit, one key item to keep those costs down is the use of volunteers. Volunteers are as valuable as gold and should be treated as such. The martial arts community is based on giving back by teaching once you have been taught. Tap in to that philosophy but never abuse those who give their time… ever
Even though we have a goal of creating a large community center, we are all about collaboration with existing organizations. This allows you to run programs right away and with lower costs. In the end the students do not have to pay for the higher overhead and you give more people the opportunity to participate.
For this I would check with local universities, town rec centers, churches and other local organizations with space available.
Never make the mistake of thinking a book, a plan or an idea can take you on the fast track to success. Hard work is what will get you there. Do the hard work, do the research, do the networking and find those who share your views to prosper with.