Launch A Nonprofit
Do you have a vision to contribute to your community and a desire to build an organization to make that dream a reality? If so, organizing a local nonprofit might be just the ticket. But before you rush headlong into the wide world of the 501C and its many variations, read this article to discover the basics of creating a nonprofit.
Ponder your purpose
To begin with, think about the purpose of your nonprofit. What do you hope to achieve by its creation? Whom do you plan on serving? What services will you offer to make the difference you want to make in your community? Write a mission statement that describes the overall purpose of your organization. While mission statements vary in form, here are a few things to consider in creating yours:
Bring on a board of directors
Depending on whether you plan on incorporating, each state has its own requirements for the number of board members you need to bring on. Among other things, your board members are there to:
The best boards are composed of individuals with a diverse group of skills. Members who have experience and expertise in such areas as human resources, public relations and marketing, finance and law will create a well rounded team. Remember to keep an eye out for board members who are well connected and comfortable with fundraising, because that is often part of the duty board members take on.
In the event that you're not planning on incorporating, consider assembling an advisory board to help you find your way through.
Hire some help to fill out the forms
Many people mistakenly assume that all nonprofit organizations qualify for tax-exempt status. Not so, because it's possible to be incorporated but still not receive an exemption. Here's where a lawyer with knowledge of nonprofits can become your best friend. While you have the option of filling out the necessary paperwork yourself, a smart strategy is to use the services of an attorney to:
Make way for the money
Lastly, remember that a great vision will take you only so far. A nonprofit is still a business that needs a plan, and bucks, to survive. Create a solid fiscal stage for your organization by:
Remember taht your fundraising efforts can't end with golf tournaments, silent auctions and sponsored dinners. Fundraising is an inherent, never-ending part of the nonprofit life -- so roll up your sleeves, and get going.
The information contained in this article is offered as a general guideline and should not be construed as legal advice. Before undertaking the creation of any nonprofit, check with a qualified attorney regarding the laws governing nonprofits in your state.