Owning a non-profit organization is a good way to give back to the society. The organization gives you the platform to show others how compassionate you are. This leads to great admiration and respect from your peers and the community at large. Before you start a non-profit organization, you must understand all the steps involved.
Do extensive research
Do some research and find out if there are other organizations out there that are already in the same work you intend to do. It can be challenging to get funding if you do similar things without improving or changing them. Find out the demographic trends of the community you want to serve and identify the specific needs that are not met by other organizations. Research on the legal requirements for non-profit organizations from the federal government or the state you intend to operate in.
Develop your mission
A mission is a detailed description of the purpose of the organization and how it plans to improve the lives of people in the community. The mission highlights what the organization will do and for whom. The mission should have specific, realistic and challenging goals. The organization should also have a set of values through which it will be led. In order to prepare a good mission, you should map your journey for a period of three to 10 years. Indicate all the steps you will take to achieve the goals stated in your mission.
Develop a plan
You need to come up with a five-year plan for the organization. The plan should include the strategies and tactics you will employ to ensure the organization survives any obstacle that might present itself. The plan may include fundraising, budget and operational strategies.
Register the organization
You must register the organization in order to operate. First, you have to incorporate it so that you can obtain a formal structure that will validate your programs and services. You will have to submit the organizing documents and management policies to the IRS. The IRS will then allow you to apply for 501(c)(3) that exempts the organization from paying taxes. The application fee for tax-exempt status usually ranges between $400 and $800. It takes three to 12 months for the IRS to give you feedback.
You must also comply with the requirements issued by the state agencies that regulate non-profit organizations. Registration requirements vary by each state. Therefore, it is imperative to ask your state’s non-profit organization office about the applicable requirements.
Plan your fundraising
You need to raise some money in order to keep the organization operational. You must know where the money will come from, how much you need and how you will raise it. Depending on the goals of the organization, you may need funding from organizations, individuals and foundations. You need to initiate contacts with those you feel can support you. Expect to make several calls, presentations and meetings at this time. Open a website and a social media account and engage people.
Once you have received enough capital, you can begin operations. However, ensure you keep your spending efficient to avoid financial problems. Above all, be patient and wait for the organization to expand at a considerable rate.