Starting Non-Profits and the Journey that follows


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“It’s phenomenal to see Durnibar doing such great and impactful things with the poor kids and destitute.”

“I have heard a lot of praise from here and there about your organization.”

These are statements that I often get to hear from my friends, family members, colleagues or associates every now and then.

 Now that I have been running my non-profit organization as the Chief Executive Officer for more than six long years, I am pretty confident to express that it is not necessarily as easy as it sounds. Success comes with great benefits, but due to boundless passion, dedication, selflessness, and most importantly hard work.

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Why Non-Profits

So, starting off, you should know whether having a non-profit startup is a fit for you. If you are someone who possesses a enormous zeal to bring about a positive change in this world, this is it, the place where you belong.

Starting up something like this for me was undoubtedly a dream come true experience, as I always wanted to be a major part of the change making that I have been wanting to see since my very childhood. But the harsh reality back then was, only having the intention was not adequate to initiate the startup and build it.

A lot of skills that I never knew existed was required and more importantly, a lot of commitment. It is nothing, absolutely nothing less than opening a small profit venture at first. Both needs ‘Formation’ and ‘eminence’. Without them, I would not have been standing where I am standing today, namely being attached to my non-profit’s reputation.

see also: 10 start-up lessons I learnt while building Pathao (Part 1)

Taking that leap

But one must start. If I didn’t I could never have understood whether what I used to dream of all day long was right or was wrong for me. Having dreams is one thing, and knowing whether the path is for you is another. And you will never know if you don’t start.

You see major social issues like poverty, hunger, domestic violence, discrimination issues, etc. and most times you feel like doing something about it. And starting Durnibar Foundation was my way of doing what I can and I had felt utter contentment doing the little I did till day.

These are big issues, with their own obstacles. You can never see the end of it, and you can never be certain of the outcomes. But what matters is that you are trying and that you have started, and trust me, both come with their own feeling of contentment and finding meaning.

The Self-development

A non-profit doesn’t mean that you will only help others and get nothing out of it. In fact running non-profits allow you to portray out your professional capacity and education. This kind of substantial experience can vintage immaterial rewards that you may find more treasured than any amount of wealth.

Though non-profit startups are not the exact resemblances of commercial ones, they do help you develop essential skills needed to thrive in a commercial world. Building a non-profit perfectly could mean to build something larger than oneself and that could then be the image of oneself, a distinguished and respected one.

With the reputation of my vision at stakes, I had been productive in my tasks that I have done, got to be more organized than I ever. Very soon I was running a team of eighty efficient and experienced members of the Board of Directors and interns.

I believe I have created a brand which helped me forge lasting relationships with companies that I have collaborated with until date for getting sponsorships.

And I believe these skills can never come from taking an university course or by reading a book but by spending valuable hours of your life planning and organizing events, fundraising, meeting corporate people and doing all the small things that running an organization needs. And those are skills that make the difference.  

Moving forward

Never let your vision settle. You can always do more.

After the organization had been running two years, I proposed extending our projects and then we started our new project Feeding Bangladesh. There was hardly anyone working on something such and we needed someone to work on this. Feeding Bangladesh is now our largest project through which we intend to serve the underprivileged hungry people.

We do this by carrying out an annual event Hunger Action, through which we raise fund in order to provide rice and lentils to 50 families which we are in charge of. We do this by carrying out another bimonthly event named Save the Starving. Once you can get it started, you can always grow.

But you have to want to grow. Because it’s a risk  and very few people around you will want to take it, even less when you are the one starting it. But if you can pull through, you can set the path for every one out there. And that’s the most beautiful feeling out there.

Learn more about Entrepreneurship!

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Financial Advantage in Nonprofits

One of the things beyond my own use that I love about non-profits is it is saved from paying a huge amount of tax to the government.

We do pay a certain amount, but that is significantly less than those of the profitable ones, though non-profit startups are no wonder any less risky than the smallest of profitable ones because from the very beginning nonprofits do not intend to open business sites, and this would have been the case, there could be allegations of fake debts, perhaps!

So a lot of your initiatives will be financially easier to implement and trust me, these things matter a lot.

Working with people

A thing that they don’t usually teach you at school is real-life work is never only you. It’s always in a team. Teamwork is the best skill to have, and working as an intern or any other general member in a non-profit helps a lot.

That’s why I keep my platform open for youths who are interested in bringing out their flair and passion.  Since everyone in the organization has a different background, they all have their own individual points of view.

Not only is their thinking shaped by their unique education, career path and experiences, they also have a duty to fight for the interests of the part of the organization they represent— Public Relations, finance, HR, etc. You bring this people together, conflicts are bound to arise. But when you work them out, you grow, not only individually, but as a community too.

Hammering out consensus and winning agreements from such a diversity of viewpoints is far from easy, and it’s something I’ve struggled with ever since I founded Durnibar Foundation in 2012. But I’ve learned a lot out of this. And these are things you need regardless of where you work, whom you work with.

see also: How I built an app, got into Harvard, and went viral in the process

Why the effort is worth it

Top dogs seem to have it all – power, status, super-salaries and teams of people to do their bidding. But despite the trappings of success, being the CEO can be an isolating and friendless experience.

being a part of a non-profit is just not a matter of words

That’s why I believe that there’s nothing wrong with occasional out-of-work interaction with the people in my team. Many times it can be both fun and healthy and offer us the chance to see each other in a different light. This can open up pathways towards deeper bonding that may not otherwise occur.

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Hence, being a part of a non-profit is just not a matter of words. But if you feel it’s right for you, I strongly advise you to start or at least join a Nonprofit as gaining the experience of working and being a part of the inner core of a professional organization is something which you will cherish forever.

It takes a lot of guts, courage, goodwill, desire, dedication and hard work to be a part of it in a very good and optimistic way.  But it helps a lot to be the person you or we all want to be in our upcoming life ahead. Hope the experience I shared was helpful. Hope you can realize your visions for a better tomorrow.


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Author

Azman Anju Khan Chowdhury

Other than running Durnibar Foundation, one of the leading charity organizations of Bangladesh, Azman possesses a record achievement in his O and A levels and manages his own prestigious coaching institution named Cognito. He is currently a BBA student of IBA, DU.
Azman Anju Khan Chowdhury

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