These days, it has become more important than ever to find compassion for our fellow humans and to take responsibility for helping those who cannot help themselves. Charities and non-profit organizations exist to take that responsibility to the next level and turn passion into action. Starting a non-profit may not be simple, but these 5 steps will lay a strong foundation for building a better world.
1. Find your mission
A mission statement should be the natural extension of the idea behind the organization. It tells the world everything it needs to know about why a non-profit exists, what problems it was created to fix, and how it intends to solve them. It should be concise and informative, but still leave room for growth and change.
2. Find a Board
The board of directors is the governing body of a non-profit company. They oversee how the organization is run and approve or deny any operational changes. They are also an instrumental part of the fundraising team. Potential board members should be well respected and well connected, close to the mission, and happy to volunteer their time for the cause.
3. Incorporate and Register in Your State
Filing specifications for non-profit corporations can vary greatly from state to state, so it’s important to be well informed on the local requirements. Some states require charities to register or pay a fee before soliciting funds. Teams like Mainstream Nonprofit Solutions specialize in helping new non-profits navigate the ins and outs of the start-up process, allowing founders to focus on the mission rather than the red tape.
4. File for 501(c)3 status
It may be surprising to find out that getting a non-profit designation from the IRS is not the first step to becoming a not-for-profit company. As a matter of fact, it isn’t even necessary at all if the non-profit doesn’t intend on soliciting donations. Additionally, 501(c)3 isn’t the only tax designation available to certain charities. Organizations need to make the tax choice that fits best with their situation and mission.
5. Start Fundraising
Once the overall structure of the organization is set, fundraising can begin! There are many different ways to fundraise, from grant writing to crowdfunding, email blasts to large-scale events. The non-profit can choose to engage with professionals or with volunteers to develop and market their programs and keep track of their finances.