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September 23, 2019

Steps to Take to Start a Successful Non-Profit

The drive to start a non-profit will get you halfway there, but there is more to process and take care of before launching a non-profit.

Taking proper steps before launching something this ambitious increases the chances of being effective and prepared to deal with any curve balls thrown your way. The following are a few steps to consider taking before getting started.

Creating a Site

After figuring out the specific problem your non-profit is going to address, the next step you want to take is creating a website.

It is important that the website is thought-out and can easily communicate your non-profit's goal.

This is going to be one of your main communication tools, so making sure it is intuitive, clean, and effective is key.

You will need to find the best platform. Then, you can decide on the theme. Your site's theme can be made from scratch, but most non-profits start with little money, so the best option might be to use a pre-built theme.

Streamline the Work

In the beginning, you are going to be doing most of the heavy lifting on your own.

Yes, you may attract a few helpful volunteers from time to time, but you may be the only one burning the midnight oil. This is the reason it is important that you attempt to streamline as much of the workload as possible.

Thankfully, you are living in an era of applications and web tools that could help take some tasks off your hands.

For example, you can have an online donation platform or tool that could not only inform potential donors how much your organization needs, but these tools could promote recurring payments. Look for plenty of tools and apps that can help reduce your workload.

Understanding Potential Supporters

Non-profits are going to rely on supporters throughout their existence. It is important that you identify potential donors by analyzing demographics. See what these people have in common.

It is also important that you establish effective lead generation projects. These will not only help you get to know your donors but also learn how to turn each one into

a long-term financial supporter.

Your team needs to work on a few ways to reach out to potential donors using the demographics information you have gathered.

You are going to be creating social media profiles, marketing materials, buzz-worthy events, and outreach programs to help put your non-profit's name and goals out there for people who are going to help you succeed. No one will ever hear you if you don't find the right microphone.

Finding Volunteers is Vital

It can be stressful trying to do everything on your own. You are going to need volunteers at some point. Learning how to find them and vet them is going to be the tricky part. It might be a good idea to start with people you know because you already have a relationship with them.

Try to find people who share common goals, and see if they are interested in jumping on board with you. The next thing you want to do is network at events where you know you'll find volunteers, but make sure you choose to talk to people already working for an organization that is doing something similar to you.

Of course, you should place positions on online volunteer matching sites, and be specific about what you want and how you'll compensate.

Making All Things Official

It is important that you make things official. There is going to be a lot of money going in and out of your organization, and that means you'll have to figure out how you want the government to treat your organization.

For the most part, non-profits have to show donors that they are a legitimate organization, and that means making sure the government recognizes your organization as a 501(C)(3). To apply for this status, you are going to have to work with the IRS, and you have to give yourself enough time to get this done before you launch your non-profit organization.

Most volunteers and donors look for organizations who have this status, so it is important to be able to give that to these individuals for their peace of mind. It is a status that commands attention, and it offers those interested a sense of trust that you simply wouldn't have without the 501(c)(3) status.

The following are some things you'll have to go through to get this tax-exempt status:

  • File articles of incorporation in your home state.
  • Wait until you receive your official IRS employer identification ID number.
  • Prepare bylaws, the leadership structures, and all the programming needed.
  • File the rest of the 1023 form that you can get from the IRS site.
  • Abide by all state-level requirements at all times.

Failing to follow the requirements could mean losing your status, and that can be a major blow for an up-and-coming non-profit organization, so keep that in mind.

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