Not-For-Profit: A Guide to Starting Your Very Own Charity

Nonprofit charities are growing in number every year. However, since there are such a wide variety of nonprofits with the IRS tax code, you may not even know you’re working with one. If you’re looking to start up your own charity, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as how much research you need to do, what kind of business plan you need, and more. Here’s a short guide to getting your own charity off the ground.

Do Plenty of Research

One of the most important parts of starting up your own charity is to get plenty of research done beforehand. For example, look if there’s a need for your organization in your community, or if you can team up with a pre-existing nonprofit charity. Although this research may take up time, it will be well worth it. Plus, once you’re done researching, you can start working on your business plan.

Create a Business Plan

A nonprofit isn’t too different than any other type of business. However, just like any other business, you need to create a business plan before starting anything. Unfortunately, this is one of the most overlooked steps of nonprofit startups, which is why it’s so important to do for your business to succeed.

Ensure Your Organization Qualifies as a Nonprofit

Starting up a charity may seem like a good idea, but it’s important that you qualify. Although there are a number of different types of nonprofit organizations, be sure to check with your state to make sure your company can qualify as a charitable organization.

Cover the Legal Requirements

Since nonprofits are seriously regulated, make sure you are legally covered by the federal and state government. Regulation of your charity helps protect donors and make sure your nonprofit actually serves the community. Simply calling yourself a nonprofit can get yourself into trouble and doesn’t actually deem you a nonprofit charity.

Keep Excellent Records

For any sort of business, great record keeping is absolutely essential. For nonprofits, there are specific reporting requirements. This is why it is essential to keep good records from the very beginning. You will run into fewer problems down the line. You can manage any risks by enacting safe procedures from the start and keeping your records correctly.

Create a Fundraising Plan

In order to accomplish your nonprofit’s goal, you will need to create a fundraising plan. Fundraising is a complicated and very competitive undertaking, but it is also an unavoidable one. You shouldn’t be under the impression that you can just throw a bake sale and that’s it. You must create a detailed fundraising plan.

Build a Board

A great advisory board is always crucial to the success of your nonprofit. The board is legally responsible for keeping your nonprofit’s mission on track. They are also responsible for helping you to secure funding to reach that mission and offering their expertise, too. So, take your time and select the right people to join the board.

Elena Kiam, Co-Founder and Creative Director of lia sophia

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