Select Page

Many people are drawn to the idea of starting a nonprofit, but it is not as easy as it seems. While the goal is usually to bring about a beneficial change in the world, many nonprofits make it seem like an effortless process. Establishing a charity requires a great deal of skill and knowledge, as well as time, effort, and money. The reality is that starting a charity is anything but easy. Nonetheless, don’t be disheartened; there are still ways to make it happen with the right resources.

If you have a cause that you are passionate about and have done all that you can do on your own to support it, it may be time to start your own charity to extend your efforts to a larger audience. Establishing a charity can be a huge project, but there are basic steps that you can follow to ensure that your charity is successful from the start.

Define Your Mission

It is important to determine why you want to start a charity in order to focus your efforts. Narrow your scope and create a unique mission statement that is different from similar charities. Your mission should provide a more concrete description of your purpose, clearly and concisely outlining what your organization does, for whom, and the basic services it provides. Further, a set of values should be established to provide a guiding light for your organization’s decisions.

Choose a Name

When choosing a name for your charity, consider your options wisely, as it is important to select something that is easy to remember and unique. Double-check with your state’s list of existing organizations and the Department of Commerce to make sure the name isn’t taken. A name that conveys the mission of the charity can be effective, but naming it after a specific person can also be a great way to motivate people to support your cause.

Register With the IRS

In order to become a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, you must file paperwork with the IRS and register with the Secretary of State if necessary. It is beneficial to seek counsel from a lawyer and an accountant with experience in the nonprofit sector to ensure that all of the proper steps are taken, as each state has different regulations.

Start Your Website

A website is essential for any organization as it serves as a window to the world, allowing you to explain your mission and get others excited about your work. Be sure to include a detailed “About Us” page, a page with information about volunteering opportunities, and a place for visitors to donate directly. Consider investing in a custom website specifically for your organization. If you’re unable to afford professional help, try a DIY web builder. Ultimately, your website will serve as a powerful advocate for your mission.

Begin Fundraising

Your first fundraising effort should be aimed at getting your name out in the community and gaining some crucial funds to begin operations. Reach out to your friends and relatives, as well as grassroots organizations, individuals, and foundations. Consider a single, visible event, or start small by leveraging your social media presence and affiliate links. Bear in mind that this process may take a great deal of time and effort. Depending on the size of your goals, you may need to raise enough money to cover several months of operating costs before you can begin your charity work.

Spend Efficiently

Instant success is a rarity in the world of nonprofits, so you should be as efficient and cost-effective as possible while you build up your fundraising and support. Treat each dollar you spend as if it is your last, and make sure donations go towards helping the cause. Expansion should be done at a rate that is supported by fundraising. Utilizing online donations and making the most of office supplies, staff, and space can help you ensure that the majority of donations go to the cause. Survival is key for any organization, and success requires discipline and patience.