Special thanks to our guest author, Meredith Jones of Fine Times at finetimes.org for this informative article on How To Start a Nonprofit: Tips for Compassionate Entrepreneurs. Isn’t that what Artful Living is all about? Please take a moment to visit their amazing website and see all the great ways we can grow a better world together.
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How to Start a Nonprofit: Tips for Compassionate Entrepreneurs
By Meredith Jones
Starting a nonprofit is a great path for entrepreneurs who want to enact positive change in the world, from helping animals to assisting people. Many benefits come with running a nonprofit. For example, nonprofits enjoy tax exemption and access to grants. They’re also separate legal entities, meaning founders and members cannot be held liable for debts or legal issues. While this may sound like a straightforward business model, launching a nonprofit requires a lot of time and money. Make sure you’re ready for this commitment!
To help you learn more about launching a nonprofit, Lynda Anne invites you to check out some of these great resources below.
Laying the Groundwork
The legwork you do ahead of time will set you up for a successful future. Determine the specific problem you seek to solve, make sure there’s a need for your organization, and start making connections in your community.
- Write a clear and focused mission statement to drive your future decisions.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis to evaluate and flesh out your nonprofit plan.
Financial Planning and Management
Creating a financial plan is vital to the success of any nonprofit. From budgeting to exploring various funding sources, here are some ways to get your financial plan off the ground.
- Write a financial plan that details how your nonprofit will manage cash flow.
- Automate repetitive tasks with invoicing software.
- Research different ways to bring in funds.
- If you need to get a loan, determine your debt-to-income ratio and attempt to improve that number to obtain a better interest rate.
- Take online courses in business to bolster your business knowledge.
Nonprofits have to meet certain regulations and at both the state and federal levels. Keep your nonprofit in compliance with good legal practices.
- Research your state regulations surrounding the creation of nonprofit bylaws.
- Submit Form 1023 to the IRS to get your 501(c)(3) status.
- Remember to file Form 990 every year to maintain your tax-exempt status.
- Check to see if your state and county permit nonprofits to form an LLC. This page about how to start an LLC can be a good resource. Additionally, look into how much you’ll need to pay to register your business, or use a formation company.
Supporters are the lifeblood of your nonprofit. Learn how to attract volunteers, board members, and social media followers to help carry out your mission.
- Grow your social media follower base.
- Try new techniques and strategies to track down donors.
- Consider creating a nonprofit membership program.
- Partner with other nonprofits, and look for ways to support one another.
Few things are more rewarding than founding a nonprofit. While getting off the ground is a lot of work, it’s worthwhile for the positive impact you will have on people and the planet. Keep these resources close at hand while you navigate the startup phase. Good planning will get you far!
Article by Meredith Jones, FineTimes.org