By Jean Kruse / Guest Column

Many nonprofit organizations have huge fundraising projects. This is understandable because how else could they exist? SCORE is an example of a not-for-profit organization that does not raise money from the general public.

While donations to SCORE are deductible for income tax purposes due to its 501 (c)(3) status, most people are unaware that they can make a tax deductible contribution to SCORE because our services are confidential and free and we do not ask our clients for a donation.

How has SCORE been able to survive since 1964 without having fundraising events? Because Iowa chapters do not have any paid staff. Some chapters have to pay rent, but most get free rent from either the local chambers of commerce, banks, economic development offices or the Small Business Administration (SBA). SCORE chapters get a small amount of funding from the United States government that is approved annually by Congress through the SBA.

The reason the government is willing to fund SCORE is because they realize that the organization helps to grow businesses. Banks and other local businesses often make donations to local chapters because they know that SCORE’s assistance will increase the number of businesses that succeed.

SCORE is a national organization with 320 chapters (seven chapters in Iowa) and more than 11,000 volunteers (150 volunteers in Iowa). In 2014 volunteers donated more than 1.2 million hours of their time, assisted in the start up of 56,079 businesses that created 47,187 jobs, increased the revenue of 107,201 clients and mentored and trained 148,800 small business owners and entrepreneurs.

There is a wealth of information on the national SCORE website, www.score.org, including more than 400 webinars on the topics of start-up, run and grow a business, \marketing, finance and money, technology, and management. These topics are listed across the top of the home page and under “Workshops” and then “Online Workshops.” At the very top of the home page, click on “Blog” where you will find a blog about “Starting a Nonprofit” among many other current topic blogs.

I volunteer much of my time to SCORE because I want to give back to the community. I mentor clients in the Corridor and, as the SCORE District Director of Iowa, I assist the seven Iowa chapters: East Central Iowa (Cedar Rapids), Dubuque, Muscatine, South Central Iowa (Ottumwa), Des Moines, Sioux City, and Western Iowa (Cherokee). On the East Central Iowa website, www.scorecr.org, you will find the scheduled live workshops, most of which are free. We take a break from providing workshops during the summer months but will resume again in August.

However, our two roundtables meet year round where any business person can use to get advice or gain contacts. The breakfast roundtable meets on the fourth Thursday of each month from 7:30-9 a.m. at Scott’s Family Restaurant, 1906 Blairs Ferry Road NE, Cedar Rapids. The luncheon roundtable meets on the second Tuesday of each month from noon-1 p.m. at Lone Star Steakhouse, 4545 First Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. There is no charge to attend and each person pays for their own meal. A SCORE volunteer attends to facilitate, lead and make certain everyone gets to join in the discussion. Register on the website to attend.

All of the chapters need volunteers so if you want to give back to the community by sharing your business expertise, leadership capabilities or office management assistance, go to the website and click on “Volunteer” to submit your application. There are no dues to become a member of a chapter, but there is training required, an annual signing of a Code of Ethics, and, of course, a few hours a month. We welcome volunteers whether they are retired or work full-time, male or female.

SCORE volunteers provide valuable services to and workshops for entrepreneurs and existing businesses. Click on “Get Free Local Mentoring” on www.scorecr.org or get mentoring via email from any SCORE volunteer in the United States by clicking on “Get Started” on the National website, www.score.org.

Jean Kruse is a SCORE counselor and SCORE Iowa district president. She operated her own CPA firm for 13 years and in 1988, joined RSM McGladrey, a national firm, where she provided accounting and tax services to small business.

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