Making a difference in your community is your biggest dream? You want to quit your corporate job? You’d like to be your boss and get rid of the pressures of a traditional for-profit business?
Then maybe the idea of starting a nonprofit has crossed your mind at least once. Entering the nonprofit sector is no easy job, though, so keep on reading to find out the basics of starting a nonprofit organization.
Here’s How to Start a Nonprofit Organization
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there another organization doing similar work in your community? Make an Internet search using the cause you are considering and your location as keywords.
- What programs and services will your nonprofit provide?
- What facilities will you need?
- Where will the necessary funds come from?
- Will you rely on staff or on volunteers?
- Do you know what laws and procedures apply in your state?
- Do you have any previous experience with nonprofits?
These are the most important 10 steps you’ll need to take when starting a nonprofit:
1. Gather a board of directors
Select a group of individuals you trust and form a board of directors.
2. Mission and vision statements
Write mission and vision statements for the new organization. Make sure the issue you choose is a matter of public interest.
3. Your organization’s name
Choose a name for your nonprofit. Thinking of a good name is easier after writing your mission and vision statements. Think of alternative names in case the first name you thought of is taken.
4. Make it legal
Handle legal aspects – learn what incorporation article is available in your state, get informed on nonprofit laws, request a nonprofit status from the IRS, register your organization formally, and get insurance. Hiring an attorney is an excellent idea when your expertise on nonprofit bylaws is minimal.
5. Fundraising methods
Think about several creative ways of raising funds. Applying for grants is another funding source you shouldn’t ignore.
Start taking your nonprofit’s finances seriously and hire an accountant specialized in nonprofit organizations to develop your budget.
7. Bank account
Open a bank account for your nonprofit. Your accountant will help you decide which accounting method suits you better, cash or accrual.
Find out what records you’ll need to keep (articles of incorporation, financial reports, bylaws, meeting minutes and so on).
Draft your organization’s bylaws. These are the rules of how your nonprofit works and they help you govern your corporation.
10. Online presence
Don’t forget about creating a website! Purchase the domain that matches your nonprofit’s name early, so you make sure it’s not taken after registering your organization.
Do you think you and your associates can handle all these duties? If your answer is affirmative, we wish you good luck with your new venture!