Feel free to take a moment to review some FAQs, below. Then, when you are ready to proceed with learning more, take a moment to complete our interest form.
“What is the timeline to start a 501(c)(3) and what is the process like for me?”
Inquiry / application process:
Interested individuals will meet with the Director of Affiliate Programs to determine compatibility and begin to lay groundwork
A formal application will be requested when both parties feel ready to proceed
Part of the process will be to make a site visit to RAF Knoxville
Qualifying candidates will be invited to a formal interview process
Approved candidates will receive a copy of the licensing agreement and an affiliate kit
The affiliate members will receive a detailed timeline, as modeled by a successful RAF affiliate site launch
It takes approximately one year to go from fully funded to functional
Your timeline will be based upon your level of commitment and time invested, as well as what support you have and are able to establish, so this will vary a bit for everyone
“What do I get with the affiliate kit and what is the cost?”
This kit will support you in launching and sustaining a successful RAF in your community by providing:
Training modules that contain: Our Masterbook, Overview, Launch, Annual Calendar, Personnel, Governance, Development, Marketing and Media, Volunteers, Provider Partners, Recipient Partners, Sustainability, Mission Tracking, Outreach, Facility, Technology, Insurance, Financial, Vehicles, Medical Studies, Preferred Vendors
30 hours of consultation time
Additional consultation sessions may be available
One year of licensing rights to the RAF brand, renewable, each year, thereafter, contingent upon adherence to agreement
“What are the operating costs and budgets of an affiliate site?”
Once you are an official 501(c)(3), you will be able to fundraise
Branch operating cost will vary, but expect between $300,000 – $400,000 to cover the expenses for launching, ongoing operations, as well as a cushion of operating reserves
Each year, thereafter, may round out to an average of $300,000, annually
Costs will depend on your community’s market, the area’s cost of living, and what resources are available to you (as well as your ability to garner those resources)
Some branches, for instance, are able to use a warehouse space for free, though this is not typical, while other individuals have market connections that can offset expenses in other ways
You will need to invest in several initial “one”-time purchases, such as a van, cooler, strong and sturdy storage shelves, tools, tables, chairs, etc. We have in-depth details in the affiliate kit.
A sample budget is a part of the affiliate kit
There are in-kind opportunities that might off-set your budgeting costs, such as finding someone who can help with renting a facility or someone who can finance the cost and/or up-keep of the vehicle
“How do you seek out and obtain donations?”
This comes with being a registered 501(c)(3), licensed to utilize RAF branding and logo. It is incredibly difficult to seek out sufficient and sustainable funding without this status, which is why we provide you with a pathway to become your own entity. Every branch must establish their own fundraising styles. You must have a dedicated, experienced fundraising or development team on your board because there are so many different avenues of funding that must be considered, on an on-going basis.
“What advice do you have on how to get donors or a foundation to contribute to a start-up nonprofit without being an official 501(c)(3) yet?”
Host house parties to inform guests of RAF and its mission, share RAF testimonials and stories, and then ask guests for start-up money to help bring RAF to your community.
Utilize resources from RAF to help get the conversation going! This might include promotional flyers and/or videos from previous events.
Connect with local rotaries, chambers, and foundations
Participate or host yard sales, local market, craft fairs, garden parties, etc.
Be aware that you cannot give a tax write off to someone who gives you money if you are not a registered 501(c)(3)
Do some research online – there are plenty of options, given what your interest level is in certain activities
Start a Go Fund Me
“How do you solicit volunteers once you are a 501(c)(3)? How are their jobs broken down?”
This is the “easy” part. People love working with flowers and we have found there is no shortage of individuals to help us fulfill our mission. Volunteers come to RAF after hearing about us at volunteer fairs, home and garden shows, media exposure, attending Flower After Hours, and our volunteers introducing and inviting their friends to RAF. We also have RAF arrangement recipients who became RAF volunteers. We have a list of the volunteer responsibilities broken down in the kit, but essentially, we have volunteers on the following teams. Some exist on multiple teams.
Floral Deconstruction/Preparation Team
Floral Arranging Team
Floral Pick-Up Team
Floral Delivery Team
Workshop Organization Team
Special Events and Fundraiser Team
“What are some key elements to success in launching a new affiliate site?”
Random Acts of Flowers relies on the support of many individuals and resources to sustain operations and continue to deliver bouquets of hope to those who are in need of some cheer. Here are some elements that we believe are crucial, when starting up and affiliate site. These will be covered in greater detail as we move through the steps for incorporation.
Local board leadership
Financial support for long-term sustainability
Healthcare facility partners
Solid volunteer base
Third party support
“It looks like you have a warehouse where you store flowers and repurpose them. What materials are needed?”
Yes, this is vital to the operations. The affiliate kit details all you need to consider and how to arrange them in the most efficient manner. Some of the essential items are:
A cooler for flower storage
A large utility sink
A washer and dryer
Vases (we have tips on how to get these, for free, in your community via vase drives and other promotions)
Tools for pruning/cutting/arranging
Tables/chairs for workstations
Buckets and carts for flowers
“I know another nonprofit or organization that has space I can share. How would this work?”
For legal purposes, we cannot team up with another nonprofit in terms of Board of Directors, staff, workshop space, etc. Each affiliate site must be its own, stand-alone entity. You may find a location where you share a building with another organization. You must, however, have your own delineated space with your own lease, parking, access point, loading zone, etc. “How many full-time employees do you need?”
Our Knoxville site operates with 3 full-time employees:
An Executive Director
A Program Manager
A Program Associate
We feel these are all vital positions. A van driver would be helpful, but given the part–time, heavy–lifting nature of the position, may be difficult to recruit and retain. We have found that a combination of volunteers and the Program Manager/Program Associate can assist with pickups and deliveries, but there are steps to take to ensure proper training, insurance protocol, etc.
“I want to do an RAF on a smaller scale / my own way.”
We are thrilled others want to share the power of repurposed flowers in their communities! The RAF Affiliate model is designed for those who wish to duplicate our specific practices and join our copyrighted brand, on a similar scale, with a full-time commitment.
Affiliate Site Interest Form
If you’re ready to have a meeting to learn how you may begin the steps of becoming an affiliate site, please complete this form. The Director of Affiliate Programs will then contact you upon your submission.