The issues facing the world today are serious and plentiful — but with passionate, goal-oriented people at the helm, business can be harnessed as a tool for change. Those businesses are nonprofits, which are organizations dedicated to supporting particular social or environmental causes.
Whether you’ve been dedicated to a cause for years or are just starting to discover what you’re passionate about, starting a nonprofit may be the perfect way for you to be the change you wish to see in the world! Here’s how to get started.
Determine Your Name And Mission Statement.
Every nonprofit requires a central purpose for its existence. Who are the people or communities your nonprofit is serving? Why are you working in this particular field, or for this certain cause? What’s the ultimate goal for your work?
A mission statement should answer these questions in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Here are a few good examples of nonprofit mission statements for inspiration:
- Feeding America: To feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.
- charity:water: Bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
- Mayo Clinic: To inspire hope and contribute to health and well-being by providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education and research.
A note on mission statements: when first forming a nonprofit, it’s likely best to start with a broader mission statement rather than a highly specific one. This will give your organization some wiggle room to evolve without needing to amend your articles of incorporation, which is the next step for creating your nonprofit.
Draft And File Articles Of Incorporation.
This process will vary depending on which state your nonprofit is in. In California, you’ll need to file with the Secretary of State, which costs $30. The articles of incorporation will identify the organization’s name, address, purpose, designated person who receives official correspondence, operation limitations, and dedication and dissolution clauses. They’ll also denote which of the three types of nonprofits in California yours is: public benefit, mutual benefit, or religious.
File For A Federal EIN & Apply For A Tax Exempt Status.
Receiving Grants And Donations
There are several different methods for funding your nonprofit. One of the most common funding sources for nonprofits is individual donations. Roughly 71 percent of all donations made to nonprofits comes from individuals. These are people whose own values align with your nonprofit’s mission; they can opt to donate once or make recurring donations.
It’s best to provide your individual donors with plenty of avenues for giving. This can include through online giving, crowdfunding, auctions, and other fundraising events.
Grant writing is also a huge part of starting and maintaining a nonprofit. There’s almost a science to it — by following a general formula that covers key information about your nonprofit, you’ll boost your chances of securing funding. This information includes your cover letter, executive summary, statement of need, goals and objectives, methods and strategies, plan of evaluation, budget projections, and organization information. But there’s more to grant writing than sticking to the script! Fortune favors the bold, and grants that are written clearly, intentionally, and passionately are more likely to receive a positive response than others.
Take Advantage Of The Tools Available To You
Running a nonprofit is hard work. Luckily, there are resources available to reduce some of that workload, like the Google Grants program. Google Grants provides nonprofits with $10,000 per month of in-kind advertising to promote their missions and initiatives on Google. Google Suite for Nonprofits also provides professional email addresses at the nonprofit’s domain for free.