Every now and then, someone out there wonders how to start a nonprofit organization in order to serve their community. There is a lot of suffering and inequality in our society. This means there is no shortage of causes to choose from, only a lack of nonprofit organizations.
What options do you have when you have a cause that weighs on your mind? Or see a need that is being unmet? If it’s something urgent, your first response would be making a donation. If you choose this path, then the next question you should ask yourself is: “Do you donate to a charity or work with a group?”. No matter what you choose, you are only working towards fixing the symptoms of a diseased society. Donating for a cause can only take you so far. It’s the society that needs changing.
This is exactly why starting a nonprofit organization is a great idea. This way you truly change things and touch a lot of lives in the process. Naturally, starting a nonprofit can seem like an enormous undertaking, and it is a lot of hard work. However, when you know how to begin the process, starting out is just taking things one step at a time.
How To Start A Nonprofit: A Short Guide
Step 1: Name Your Cause
Whatever the need – medical, women’s rights, homelessness, teacher pay – set a name! No matter the cause, setting the name for your nonprofit is an important first step. Basically, it’s how you get things up and running. This will not only identify the organization legally, but it also allows people to connect with your establishment more personally. Choose the name wisely!
Step 2: Establish the Financials
Investigate the laws around not-for-profit businesses carefully and see what is required to establish one in your area. Be sure to file for both IRS and state tax exemption status and keep your finances in order with MIP fund accounting software. In any business, carefully tracking money is important, and for a nonprofit, it can be the difference between staying in business and having the IRS shut things down.
Step 3: Run the Business
Establishing a nonprofit doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. Appoint a board of directors to manage the organization and draft the bylaws that will allow it to function and reach the goal it was created for. The board will not only help with managing financial obligations but will keep track of events and what permits will be required for each one.
As you can see, starting a nonprofit group is a great way to help meet a need in your community or around the world. While it can be challenging to navigate the legal waters, if you want to start a nonprofit, your best bet is to take things one step at a time. Hopefully, these three steps presented so far will help you get started!