How To Start a Nonprofit
Nonprofit organizations aim not to rack up profits but to help the community reach a certain goal. It’s a wonderful thing to hear when someone decides to serve the community for a bigger cause, but, starting a nonprofit organization can prove quite the task.
To say that the process is a mammoth undertaking would be an understatement but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it. If you have some questions in regards to nonprofit organizations and how the start-up process works, look no further as we are going to walk you through some crucial steps you need to take before you embark on this journey.
Steps to be done to start a Nonprofit
First things first, check if there’s an already established nonprofit in your area that carries the same motto as yours. If there is, then maybe the right course of action is to join them and let your ideas coalesce with theirs so that the outcome impacts the community more profoundly.
Doing this thorough research and figuring out where your ideas stand in your community will provide you with information on whether a nonprofit is a right thing to do at this particular time. If it is, then you are ready to move on to the next crucial step.
The name and the research
Among the first things, you will need to do is pick a name for your nonprofit. A name related to the main cause of your nonprofit will help you to communicate your goals better. Avoid names that sound similar to other nonprofits to avoid any run-ins with the trademark infringements laws.
The name of your nonprofit will represent your brand for the time to come. Brainstorms and consultations with other members are a great way to land on the perfect name which will convey the message of your brand. Set up an informative and user-friendly website where you can communicate your goals with other people so that your message is heard across the world wide web.
Create a business plan
No vehicle can run without an engine and in business terms that engine is the business plan. If you aren’t experienced in creating business plans, templates are there to make your life easier. A nonprofit business plan template can help guide you in creating a thorough plan that will prepare you for any obstacle that may come your way once you get your NGO off the ground. A well-crafted business plan that is concise and states your goals, marketing plan, budget, and development plans makes it easier for you to pitch your new ideas and ask for donations from other institutions.
Business plans should include these points:
- Executive summary
- Organization overview
- Products, programs, and services
- Marketing plan
- Operations plan
- Financial plan
- Management team
Build your board the right way
It takes teamwork to make the dream work. Your board will be everchanging and evergrowing on this journey. Aim for people that have previous board experience and expertise in communication, finance, planning, etc.
However, recruitment is just the tip of the iceberg considering the nature of the organization. You need to think about providing proper education, orientation, and training for your newly added members. Usually, board members aren’t paid for their services and sometimes even invest out-of-pocket money for the sake of the organization. Motivation should be done through your goals that aim to improve the world.
Incorporate your company
Many nonprofits decide to file for incorporation to reap the benefits that the state provides like a tax exemption option further down the road. In addition to that, the credibility of your services and programs will rise.
The State’s Corporate Filling Division is part of the Secretary of State’s office. There you will find sample articles of incorporation, laws concerning nonprofit organizations, and even instructions on how to find the available business name. After your name checks out, you can file for an Employer Identification Number.
File for Federal Tax Exemption
As a nonprofit organization, the income is delegated to the ones that need it most. This is where the government lends a helping hand with its policies on tax exemptions regarding nonprofit organizations.
After 27 months of the incorporation, the right course of action is to apply for a 501(c)(3) organization status. The 501(c)(3) status will provide you with benefits such as tax deductibility, the option to grant money, and property and income tax exemptions.
Each day there are more and more people striving to improve the world and invest love, time, and effort to reach that goal. Having this NGO checklist in hand will make your nonprofit journey a bit easier and help you create a better future. The important thing to remember is that you may encounter obstacles along the way, but you shouldn’t give up as the result is always greater than the journey.