Why making NoFap a non-profit won't work

Discussion in 'NoFap Technical Support and Feedback' started by BuddhaPunkRobotMonk, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. BuddhaPunkRobotMonk

    BuddhaPunkRobotMonk Community Manager
    Staff Member

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    With the introduction of the new banner on the site, we've had another discussion about monetization, and making NoFap both financially and energetically sustainable. One suggestion, that we often hear a lot, is to make NoFap a non-profit organization. It makes sense: becoming an NPO would give us tax exemption and qualify us for grants. However, it is simply not doable for an organization like us, that is working hard to provide online resources that our users can use to help them recover. I've helped Alex explore this option, and, to tell you the truth, it simply would not fix our financial problems.

    The first and foremost reason why making NoFap into an NPO won't work is because of our clientele. The majority of porn addicts are Millennials. That means they are young and not yet in the work force or just starting to work. Being addicted to porn is not like being addicted to a drug like heroine or methamphetamine, where you need money to get your fix. With so much free porn on the internet, anybody can get addicted, even the unemployed. Unemployed people may actually be more likely to become addicted to porn, because unemployment causes emotional stress, depression and self-deprecation, and PMO is one way to cope with such feelings, albeit negatively.

    Porn addiction also often causes addicts to be more selfish and narcissistic, more concerned about themselves. This means that when it comes to rebooting, they are often unwilling to invest in themselves or others. Other porn-recovery sites can attest to this: it is hard to get porn addicts to invest in themselves let alone in philanthropy. This is understandable: when you are sick, you forget about everything else and just focus on getting better. Porn addicts are sick, and they do need to focus on their own individual reboots over everything else. But that doesn't mean they don't have a responsibility to pay their doctors. Since pornography is free, however, it seems like a lot of porn-addicts believe that recovery from porn addiction should be free too. In a perfect world, it would be. Unfortunately, to help all these addicts, we do need money. We can't provide services out of thin air. We are constrained by the same laws of capital and finance as everyone else.

    These two things, the demographics of porn addicts and the selfishness caused by addiction, mean that if NoFap were a non-profit organization, we wouldn't be able to rely on donations for all our hosting, development, legal, bookkeeping and licencing fees, let alone "labor" assistance for the time required to upkeep the site. We simply do not get enough donations. Since we are secular, we can't rely on some large church organization to foot our bill. Religious non-profits in our field (porn-recovery) only thrive because large religious organizations underwrite them. And often the people who give to those organizations are not the porn-addicts themselves. They are people who have religious or moral reasons for helping porn-addicts in their religions. But that's only within their specific religion. Since we are secular and trying to help everybody, we can't tap into the same resources as religious non-profits. That's largely because the secular world thinks masturbating to porn is a healthy activity. Hence there are no large organizations that are willing to help support us. We are really on our own.

    The second reason why making NoFap into an NPO won't work is because their simply are no grants available for an organization like us. I've worked for a lot of NPOs, and I know that almost all of them get the majority of their funding through grants. There seems to be grants for everything: for refugee resettlement, for helping victims of famine or war or sexual abuse, for creating parks, or building green housing. There are even grants for helping addicts. Unfortunately, since porn addiction is not considered a "real" addiction, as of yet, most of these grants focus on substance abuse, gambling, or eating disorders. There aren't even very many grants for internet addiction. And there are absolutely no grants out their for porn addiction. I know. I've checked. International and national (USA) grant-databases. If we did go the non-profit route, there would simply be no grant money out there to help us. Again, this is because for the most part the secular world does not see porn as a problem, and so there are no organizations out there willing to give up operational funding.

    So if we did go the non-profit route, we'd have to rely on donations, because there is simply no grant money out there for a website like us. And since we already have problems getting porn addicts to donate, it doesn't seem likely that we would be able to stay afloat as a non-profit.

    On the other hand, having NoFap be a charitable LLC gives us access to potential investment money, or even business loans, which we might be able to tap into once we have proven that a secular company in the porn-recovery field can survive. Also it gives us a lot more freedom on where we invest money. Grant money is always tied up with thousands of restrictions and requirements. But to best serve our users and give them what they need to quit porn, we need the freedom to invest any money we have coming in wherever we need it. That flexibility is key to providing value to our users, and it would be very hard to operate without it.

    So right now, as Alex has written, we are focusing on providing more value to our users, hoping that they hop on and help keep this awesome site alive. We are also hoping that just being upfront about our financial difficulties, and the need for increased revenues, will help bring in more money.

    These are just my thoughts, distilled from my own personal experience with NPOs and working for NoFap. I'd like to hear your thoughts. Have any of you any experience with NPOs, or startups? What do you think is the best monetization route for a charitable LLC like us?
     
    LiveAnAwesomeLife and Hiro 304 like this.
  2. Alexander

    Alexander Website Admin
    Staff Member

    A couple of thoughts:

    NPOs require a board of at least 3 people. I'd probably be giving up the work of the last 5 years of my life to people I don't know very well. Their motivations, history, and the future would be up in the air - this is something I'd like to avoid because I've worked hard on a very specific vision for NoFap and what it stands for, which seems to have resonated throughout the community. Putting that vision in jeopardy makes me too nervous. I've looked around for a potential board in the past, and the people I would like to sit on it just aren't very interested in being associated because of our controversial name and viewpoints. Also, for some of the reasons @TheUnnasumingMammothrept listed above, leaders in this industry just don't think that it would work.

    NPOs that aren't religious don't get money from religious organizations. @TheUnnasumingMammothrept already talked about this, but just wanted to reiterate that I have explored this avenue, asking for help or partnerships in various ways, and it just isn't a thing.

    I have been approached with VC money in the past and have always turned it down. In the post it alluded to VC money, but I'm actually not really interested in that at all, in the past or into the future. Maybe I'm stupid, but bootstrapping to maintain the ideals seemed like the best way to ensure that the focus was always on the users, not getting investors the largest return on profit possible. I think that it is possible to have a healthy balance (because you profit by serving the users well and creating awesome things that people want to use), but at the same time I'm not interested in a VC that knows nothing about porn addiction / technology and can't bring anything but money to the table. I don't want somebody whispering only "profit! profit! profit!" into my ear when my main focus is helping people. Also, it brings up "creative control" issues if they own too much of the website. Maybe I'm too idealistic.

    The call-to-action: please let me know what type of services you guys would pay for to make this a sustainable platform. This isn't a beg or plead, it is just that we could really use some honest feedback. Most of you are young and don't have much money, but we want to be able to serve you in some paid-for capacity. Tell us what you want and what we could do to make you pay $5 a month for something. Software? Services? Let us know. We wanna get into "0 dollars per month" range asap.
     
    LiveAnAwesomeLife likes this.

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