We have a mission statement and I think it's a good one but I'd rather not post it 'cause it's too easy to Google. (It is on our website.)
I'll try to lay things out more thoroughly.
It's a Deaf organization. It started several years ago. It recently incorporated as part of the process towards becoming a 501 (c) 3 corporation.
One part of our mission is to provide socializing opportunities for Deaf people. Again, this may sound trivial but is not. Deaf people are frequently isolated amongst non-signing hearing people at home and at work. Having opportunities to socialize with other Deaf, signing people is really important.
Another part of the mission is providing educational activities for Deaf people, as separate from socializing opportunities. Economic workshops, health workshops, etc.
Another part is providing role models and mentoring to young Deaf people, especially those who are in a mainstream educational environment (mainstream = not a deaf school or institute, just a regular [hearing] school).
Another is to give money to worthy Deaf organizations/ charities in the area.
We usually have an event every month or two. Events include workshops, seasonal events, panels, etc.
We charge a fee for events but the fee is usually very low. We also waive fees for some people; for example we will have an event to which young Deaf people are invited (under 18) and they do not have to pay, while other people do.
For most events, our mission is included in the event itself (socializing and/ or education and/or mentoring), but we also take money raised from these events and donate it to a worthy organization that serves the Deaf.
In the future, we would like to create more specific programs -- like a specific 1-on-1 mentorship program pairing older and younger Deaf people -- and the fund-raising would go towards these internal programs as well as making donations to other organizations.
None of the money we raise goes to board members. They are all volunteers.
Aside from events, we make money from paid memberships, donations, and by selling ad space on our website.
I've been involved in several non-profits and fund-raising events are very much the norm. I really don't think that is illegal or problematic -- if you do, please point me to something specific (IRS regulations, etc.) since that would definitely require us to completely reconsider our plans.