Essential Tips for Starting a Non-profit Organization

Essential Tips for Starting a Non-profit Organization

Starting a non-profit organization can be exciting, rewarding, and of great benefit for many communities of people. Before getting started, there are several essential tips that are vital considerations before launching a new non-profit. To your advantage, avoid the mistakes of launching forward without first taking the time to properly plan and strategize. Informed decisions are vital to the success of a non-profit’s goals and missions. Although most non-profits are passion driven, the operations of a non-profit organization are not. Most non-profit organizations are operated like a business in many of its practices including day-to-day activities, management and staffing, financial and legal responsibilities.

 

What is a Non-profit Organization?

 

A non-profit organization, also known as NPO, is defined as a not-for profit organization. The organization serves publicly, communities of people. Resources and funds are distributed exclusively to serve the needs and goals of the charitable cause. Non-profit organizations do not have private owners. Funds and dividends are not distributed to shareholders or supporters. Funds received in support of the organization are used solely for the purpose of pursuing and accomplishing the goals of the organization. Non-profit organizations are public services that are designed to meet the needs of the public — groups and communities alike.

 

Research the Industry and Sector of the Non-profit

 

Spend time asking questions, conducting research, and attending classes or workshops to learn about the industry and your proposed section of interest. Find out if there is a need for the services you propose to offer? There are several ways to assess this type information including surveys and polls, scheduled meetings and interviews with other leaders in the industry, talk to people in the community and find out what their greatest needs are and assess if your proposed service fit within those needs.

 

Find out if there any other organizations locally or regionally offering the same services you propose to offer? If so, is it worth the effort to create another independent sector of that service or would it be in your best interest to partner with another group? Are the goals, mission, and values of the other organizations similar to your own?

 

Technology has opened a platform of convenience when it comes to research. You can go online to Google, Yahoo, Bing or Bgin to search for other non-profits within your sector. Google offers an addition tool called Google alerts. Google alerts will notify you via email anytime a post or content become available online that is within your alert criteria or search words. For example, your search words can range anywhere from non-profit to as specific as non-profits for children with autism in the United States.

 

Writing a Business Plan

 

Whether the organization is a non-profit or for profit business, a business plan is needed for proper planning and development of the organization. Business plans provide for potential investors and supporters an outline of how you plan to operate and fund the organization. For example, a clear business plan outlines the purpose and how the organization plans to execute its services. The business also details the services that will be provided, how the service and information will be marketed, who will be the targeted community, where will the organization be located, what will be the staffing structure, how will staff be paid, and how will the organization be funded as a whole. Resources for writing a business plan can be found on the [sba.gov] website.

 

Meeting the Guidelines of a Non-profit

 

Does the organization fit the criteria to operation as a non-profit? Venturing to start a non-profit, regardless of passion or cause, must meet the guidelines of the law in order to qualify as a non-profit. There are many sectors of non-profit groups. It is important to conduct research and find out what the guidelines are for your country, state, or region. Failure to do so can have negative repercussions legally, financially, or worse. For example, if you’re a United States based non-profit, find out how the IRS classifies the non-profit and should you file for tax exempt status? Do the non-profit qualify for tax exemption? What documents and organizational structure are needed to qualify? For U.S. based non-profits, more information can be located on the [irs.gov/charities] website. For U.K. based non-profits, more information can be found on the [charity-commission.gov.uk/] website. Some non-profits qualify for certain benefits like grants and government surplus, more information on these programs and services can be located on the [sba.gov/content/nonprofit-organizations] website.


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Source: Essential Tips for Starting a Non-profit Organization | Watts Publishing Group | http://wattspublishinggroup.com

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