If you are ready to take your activism beyond volunteering and donating your money, starting a nonprofit could be the next logical step. This guide will help you get started.
Assess Whether There Is Demand
Starting a nonprofit and keeping it going is a big challenge. Begin your research by investigating whether there is already a nonprofit serving the community you intend to serve and whether there is a better way for you to serve the community.
Identify and quantify the need for your organization. Start by identifying the problem starting your nonprofit would solve. Determine whether there is enough demand for your solution to justify starting a nonprofit. There is a lot of competition for donations. If you can’t convince the public that your organization serves a necessary purpose, you will struggle to find funding. It may be helpful to work with a mentor who has a track record of starting successful nonprofits, such as Kent J Thiry former DaVita’s executive CEO.
Determine Whether You Can Get Start-Up Financing
Just like a for-profit business, a new non-profit needs money to get started. Write a business plan. Your business plan will help you evaluate potential operational issues. You can also use your plan as part of your federal Form 1023 application for tax-exempt status and to assist with fundraising.
Determine Your Start-Up Costs
Getting a nonprofit started requires a significant amount of paperwork and some of that paperwork also comes with fees you must pay. The fees are just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to estimate the cost of building the infrastructure your organization needs, determine whether you need office space and where, figure out what supplies you need, and depending on the nature of your organization, you may also need to obtain permits, licenses, or certifications. Once you know what you need, you must figure out how much all of it is going to cost. The state association of nonprofits in your state and a local attorney may be helpful resources.
Determine Where Ongoing Funding Will Come From
Coming up with your start-up funding is just the start of your fundraising efforts. You must continue to raise funds throughout the existence of your nonprofit to keep it going. Financial sustainability is one of the most challenging aspects of running a nonprofit.
Identify How You Will Demonstrate Your Impact
To get funds, you must first demonstrate to funders that your organization is worth investing in. To accomplish this you must be able to demonstrate and measure your impact. Make sure you can do this from the start.
Build Your Team
It takes a lot of people to run a nonprofit. You need board members, employees, and volunteers. You may want to consult with an attorney before establishing your board. Different states have different laws about how many board members nonprofits must-have.
These are just a few of the initial steps you must take to start a non-profit. Founding a new organization is not for the faint of heart, but if you believe in your mission, it may be worth it.