Do you want to start a non-profit organization? If you are passionate about a social cause, this may be the best way to make a difference. Other than volunteering or donating your own time and money, a nonprofit helps you to raise money for the cause nearest to your heart.
This means that you can make an even bigger difference through more direct involvement. It may seem daunting to start a nonprofit organization from scratch, but we’re here to help. So read on for our top nine tips for starting a nonprofit organization.
Get the Right Qualifications
Any organization, even a nonprofit one, needs the right people for the job. That means getting the right qualifications right at the start.
With an affordable Master of Social Work online, you will get the extra credentials necessary to make your nonprofit organization a success. You’ll also be better equipped to make a real change to your NPO’s cause.
When dealing with other nonprofits, sponsors from the private sector, or even governmental agencies, you’ll appear to have more authority with this type of degree. That translates into a better reputation, a greater sphere of influence, and increased fundraising opportunities.
Do The Research
After getting the right credentials, your next biggest task is doing the research.
No project can ever be the success you want it to be, without doing the necessary groundwork. So be prepared for long hours of research online, and many phone calls and interviews in certain cases.
That includes research into what your community needs, how many NPOs exist within your preferred cause’s category, and what the needs of your cause are. Once you have established this, you can move on to the next tip we have for you, which is to write a business plan.
Write A Business Plan
Write a business plan for your non-profit organization.
While it may sound like something only necessary for profitable companies, that is not the case. By writing a business plan, you’ll identify and highlight your nonprofit’s goals and financial needs.
This will make it easier to outline strategies for accomplishing your goals, but also to inform your marketing team and raise funds.
Creative But Realistic Fundraising
Creativity is essential when approaching the public or the private sector for funds. But be realistic, too.
Is the amount of money you’re asking for, a realistic sum for the cause involved? Are the potential investors you’ve approached, able to make such a financial commitment?
Look at what other organizations in a similar niche are achieving with their fundraising efforts. Consider looking into brick fundraiser ideas. It can be challenging to develop a fundraising idea that works. Keeping your financial goals realistic, and adhering to a sensible timeframe for fundraising, will keep your fundraising team motivated.
Form A Non-Profit Corporation
Form your nonprofit organization. Make sure that you are designated the correct status by the government from the start. Filing in form 1023-EZ will be the start of your journey to nonprofit status.
Different types of nonprofit designations exist. The one you go for will be determined by the type of nonprofit you are. For example, political, social, lobbyist or environmental NPOs may require different 501(c) designations.
Establish a name for your nonprofit organization, and decide what type of organization you wish to be. Your nonprofit may be a corporation, a trust, an LLC, or an unincorporated association. You must adhere to the organizational rules of such a business entity.
Get Help If You Need It
Any business leader, nonprofit or not, sometimes needs a little help. Your peers in the charitable community may have much to teach you.
Accept their mentorship if offered. And if you don’t know much about fundraising or marketing, entrust these tasks to people with the skill, experience, and know-how. This will assure a much better outcome than if you try to tackle every task alone.
Apply For State Tax Exemption
Depending on the state in which you are active, there may be tax exemptions for your nonprofit organization. But the tax-exempt status filing process varies depending on the type of 501(c) organization you are.
Follow the correct channels, by obtaining your nonprofit status, and this will become available to you. It can make a very big difference to your money available to the cause. Don’t overlook the possible repercussions for your nonprofit.
Get the facts, so that you can apply for tax-exempt status for your nonprofit.
Practice What You Preach
If you expect others to come on board with your cause, do the same in-house. Show that you lead by example.
So, if your mission is to save the environment, do your bit. Use an electric vehicle instead of a gas guzzler for your business. Recycle your waste paper, and use recyclable materials in your office.
When you practice what you preach, it sends a positive message to your donors and the public at large. Start as you mean to go on, and show that you are willing to make the changes necessary to cause real and lasting change.
Transparency is key if you want to be seen as trustworthy and reliable in the nonprofit game.
That entails being upfront about your goals, and how you plan to achieve them. Make the stats about your distribution of funds raised available to everyone. This will show all parties that you can be trusted to run an ethical and successful charitable organization.