Starting a Non-Profit
Starting a Non-Profit - By Neha Kashyup
One of the most popular ways that businesses give back is through non-profits. Starting a non-profit, however, is rarely as simple as donating money to a worthwhile cause. Non-profits are run like businesses, and to start one, you have to prepare and take the necessary steps to create a legitimate enterprise. Here are some tips to get you started:
Determine the needs of your community.
Before starting a nonprofit, be clear about the focus that your organization is going to be taking. Just like when you started your business, you have to consider what your community needs and what would make your nonprofit soar above the competition. It would be helpful to write a concrete mission for your nonprofit to guide the services that you will provide.
Determine what kind of nonprofit you would like to start.
A nonprofit can be informal, as in just a group of volunteers you gather to engage in community involvement every weekend or it can be an international enterprise. If you want to run your nonprofit on donations, you would have to make sure that you gain nonprofit, or 501c3, status from the federal government. If you want those donations to be tax-deductible, there is further paperwork involved from the IRS. Furthermore, you will also have to acquire an employer identification number.
Take care of your financial, tax and legal needs.
Since a nonprofit runs like a business, the startup process is also similar. Before running a nonprofit, not only should you assure nonprofit status by the IRS, but also make sure you have organized the finances involved and acquired a lawyer to represent your organization and assure that all of its legal and tax needs are taken care of.
Write articles of incorporation.
Most states require nonprofits to have their mission statements clearly stated in the form articles of incorporation, templates for which are available from your state’s nonprofit office. These articles have to be approved by the assigned board members and state the purpose of your organization in clear, legal terminology.
Obtain a mail permit
Your local post office will provide you with a permit that can give you discounts on mass mailings.
Recruit board members
To lisence your non-profit, it is required that you have a board of members, usually at least three, who oversee different operations of the organization. Identify the skills you will need and begin a recruiting process. Assure that your recruits are dedicated despite the low financial return that nonprofits typically begin with.