Starting a non-profit organization can be a formidable task. It is a unique type of organization that is not for everyone, as there are principles, practices and liabilities that may be better suited for certain types of professionals. The process of starting a non-profit organization is multi-faceted but if attention is paid to detail and adherence to the organization’s goals is committed every step of the way, it is not far out of reach.
Before you are in a position to start a non-profit, analysis needs to be conducted regarding the need for what that non-profit is trying to accomplish. If there are other companies out there doing the same thing that your non-profit is ideally going to do, then you may struggle to develop a firm presence in your desired space. However, there are alterations that you can make to an organization model that is already in place to target a different area of operation or to offer a different service.
Once you have identified the objective of your non-profit and exactly what you are setting out to do, the next step is to develop a mission statement and craft a business plan just like any other venture. These processes help owners and other stakeholders obtain an understanding of what the organization is trying to accomplish in a clear and concise manner.
After the mission statement and business plan are complete, it is time to start recruiting your board. The board of a non-profit organization can make or break its performance. All board members should have a degree of cohesiveness in their ideas. The board needs to be composed of individuals who are willing to hear other viewpoints and take them into consideration, even if they are not aligned with their own opinion. Additionally, board members need to be cognizant of the fact that the organization is not going to be a source of profit and income, but rather a platform to improve a given area of development in society, the environment, healthcare, or any other space that we see non-profits commonly operating in.
After the board is developed, it is time to incorporate the organization, file for 501© (3) tax exempt status, understand ongoing compliance statues, and you are on your way! Just remember that a non-profit is not like every other organization out there; patience, forward thinking, and mindfulness are key values in the development of a non-profit. Act accordingly.