According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are 1.5 million charities in the United States. Many are small, started by a single person or a small group of people, passionate about one cause and determined to bring attention and funding to that cause.
While it’s a caring and commendable calling to go from thinking and wishing to planning and permitting, processing the details and opening the doors, it’s also hard work that isn’t nine-to-five, Monday to Friday minus the holidays. How do you proceed from wanting to make a difference to creating that difference with an established nonprofit?
What is your cause? Choose what means the most to you. Whether it’s a rare and underfunded disease, unwanted animals, abused children, foster teenagers, homeless veterans or any worthy cause, pick your purpose and dedicate yourself.
Is there a need? Think local and look at your community first. Passion pushes us to save the world, but common sense reminds us that the real issues begin in our own neighborhoods. What can you do in your town, county or state that results in a big change?
What is your legal structure?: Are you a public charity or private foundation? The IRS recognizes 27 types of nonprofits for tax-exempt purposes, with the public charity, or 501(c)(3) the most common. Check the current publication to find which classification suits your nonprofit and file correctly for most advantageous tax status.
Do you have expert legal and financial advice? The Internet is a ready resource, but when desire draws you so strongly, you need the solid ground provided by a financial advisor, tax planner and an attorney specializing in small business law, because your nonprofit is a small business. It operates under different rules from a for-profit enterprise, but many of the same principles apply.
Do you have personal survival funds? Can you afford this passion? Is it possible to create the nonprofit part time while you work full time and balance the rest of your life, or can you live on part-time wages and follow your calling full-time?
Employ the right technology: Process Donation’s software platform provides the tools to manage your nonprofit from its early stages. From emails, letters and mobile fundraising to tracking donors and donations, creating and managing fundraising events and thanking donors for their help, our software grows with you. Whether your nonprofit begins with a passionate party of one or a determined group of a dozen, start with us and you’ll stay with us.