Carol Bangura is an educator, advocate, philanthropist, and a published author. Carol’s professional experience includes creating culturally and linguistically appropriate education and social integration programs in the Greater Philadelphia. She’s done this for diverse immigrant and refugee women and children from countries including, but not limited to Sierra Leone (her country of birth), Liberia, Haiti, Ghana, Turkey, China, Jamaica, Mexico, and Iraq.
Carol has created education initiatives for girls exposed to school related gender-based violence (SRGBV) in Sierra Leone. As someone who has worked in the non-profit sector, Carol is open to providing insight to others. Here are key takeaways from Carol Bangura’s experiences in the non-profit sector.
Carve out your niche
“The key piece of advice is to carve out your niche.
As women, we are natural nurturers and want to save the world. My brand centers on empowering girls through education and social initiatives.”
Carol Bangura has been able to create a cost-effective method of purchasing new books and shipping them locally within the US and internationally to Sierra Leone.
Carol shipped the first set of books internationally to Sierra Leone in 2007 and has cultivated relationships in Sierra Leone and in the Greater Philadelphia area. Although she ended her program formally in other countries and in the United States, she still conducts informal book donations to girls (and boys) locally with partner organizations.
#MotherlandMogul Tip: First take some time out to discover how you want to improve lives. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Once you’ve outlined this, think of ways you can join your passion with helping others.
The two skill you need to successfully run a non-profit
“The skills needed in the beginning are fundraising and the ability to have doors close in your face! Everyone will not believe in your dream, you have to believe it yourself.
Starting an organization takes funds. And when you’re ready to implement projects, they must go through the phases of planning, implementation, and evaluation.”
In a nutshell, you should answer the questions,
- What are you going to do?
- How are you going to do it?
- After you’ve done it, how would you determine its success?
Registering a non-profit organisation
“Documentation varies from state to state; and country to country. Research should be conducted to determine what is needed to register an organization.
There isn’t a one size fits all checklist to start a nonprofit because it depends on the type of organization, its location, board structure, etc.”
Carol’s organisation is registered in the United States and though she operates in Sierra Leone, she’s not familiar with what’s required there.
In the US, every state has its own rules and then every municipality does as well. The federal government requires a 401c determination but that process is very complicated and Carol has done it in the past for others as a consultant.
#MotherlandMogul Tip: If you’re based in Nigeria, Ivie Eke shares 3 major points on starting and sustaining an NGO here.
What do first after launch
“Prior to launching and/or within the first six months to a year, a strategic plan should be created. You will also need to create a funding plan.”
The key to doing this was trial and error. For years Carol wrote grants before finally obtaining unrestricted funding to carry out her GIRLS! project.
“Grant writing is daunting due to the checks and balances, but it’s not impossible to do on your own.”
Carol identified planning, implementing, and evaluating as the most important skills to hone to perfection.
Final words from the brilliant Carol Bangura;
“Nothing comes easy, especially for us as African women who choose nontraditional roles and have the audacity to step out of the box.
The pain of my past as a victim of gender-based violence fuels my passion; without passion in what can be a thankless job, you’re more likely to be burned out.”
If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.