Starting Up A Nonprofit? Use These Pointers

Law Blog

If you're someone who volunteers and cares about helping others, you might often consider starting up a nonprofit organization. However, knowing just how to do that is tricky. You may have a ton of ideas about the work you'll do and what kinds of events you'll have, but to ensure your organization doesn't fail, use these pointers to prepare and set it up properly.

Look for Support

Your urge to help a certain people or wildlife is likely what's driving your desire to start a nonprofit. But before you move forward, you need to get an idea of whether there are enough people to support your cause and whether there are already organizations doing that.

How do you know if there's support for an organization like the one you want to start? Researching existing demographics and other publicly available information can help. For instance, if you want to start a nonprofit organization for a disease, research (through relatives or friends) how many people in your area have that disease or are affected by it. However, even if there are enough people who could support your organization, you should also be making sure that you're not going to be competing too much with existing, larger organizations who already do that work. For example, there could be many disease-related nonprofits that you would be competing with for dollars and time.

Write out a Mission Statement

Once you're aware of any other organizations and have some idea of how many supporters are out there, it's time to get serious about putting together a good organizational plan. Your mission statement is arguably the most important thing you'll need to create at this stage. A good mission statement will clearly lay out for everyone what you hope to accomplish with this nonprofit. It will also prevent you from taking on too much; if your mission is to serve those in your county, for instance, when opportunities come up for anything else, you can easily refuse if it will jeopardize your mission.

Complete a Business Plan

Nonprofits need to make money in order to do much of their work. A concrete business plan is crucial. This plan should clearly explain how you plan to bring money in and where that money will go. It's at this point where you will plan events, fundraisers, and other money-making activities.

Once you've gotten these steps out of the way, meet with a lawyer who can help you incorporate your nonprofit and direct you toward getting your organization's tax-exempt status. With everything in place, your organization can finally begin the work of helping those in your area. To learn more, talk to companies like Legal For Good PLLC.


10 May 2018