9 Things You Need To Do To Start A NonProfit

9 Things You Need To Do To Start A NonProfit

Starting a nonprofit is very similar to starting a regular business, but there are a few minor differences when it comes to how you register and market your organisation. This post lists 9 essential steps to consider when launching your nonprofit startup.

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  1. Identify your cause

Every nonprofit is built around a specific cause. This should be a cause that you are passionate about – perhaps something that has had a personal impact on you or something that has long been a concern of yours.

You need to think about how you will help your cause. Will you give money directly to people in need? Or will you use your raised funds to provide services to help your cause such as feeding the homeless, planting trees or carrying out repair work to flood damaged buildings? It will likely depend on the time and skills you have to offer.  

Of course, you need to consider that there may already be other organisations dedicated to pursuing this cause. To give your organisation a clear reason to exist, you either need to choose a unique angle (such as focusing on providing aid to your local area, or providing help to a specific demographic) or you need to come up with a unique fundraising strategy. Which leads onto the next step…

  1. Determine your fundraising strategy

How will your nonprofit startup raise funds? While you may be able to raise some money through grants and government assistance, you’ll likely need to raise funds either by contributing some of your own money or by asking for donations. 

Most nonprofits rely on donations and there are many ways to encourage donations. You could share online videos, host fundraising events, take on sponsored challenges, sell products (in which profits go to your cause) or host competitions with prizes. Some nonprofits may choose to focus on raising money from a specific audience, while others may accept donations from anyone. When determining good fundraising strategies, think about your passions and skills. For example, if you’re a musician, fundraising through charity concerts could be a good way to go. 

  1. Come up with a name

Once you’ve identified your cause and method of fundraising, consider a strong brand name that reflects this. This should be a name that is not already taken by another organisation. 

Some people like to name their organisation after an inspirational loved one or famous victim of injustice as a tribute. Others simply try to find a word or phrase that relates to their cause. Check out this page for some nonprofit name inspiration (the page also has a nonprofit name generator).

  1. Legally register your nonprofit

The next stage is to legally register your nonprofit startup. The process for this will vary depending on which country you’re registering your nonprofit, however it is typically something you can do online via a form. There are different legal structures to choose from depending on how you plan to raise and use funds. Make sure to choose the right structure and complete the relevant form.

Successfully registering your nonprofit will give you access to a unique identification number, which could be necessary for later steps such as opening a bank account. It usually takes no more than a few days to register a nonprofit. You may even be able to pay to register your nonprofit within an hour. 

  1. Open a bank account

All banks provide specialist nonprofit accounts. These are typically tax free and may have reduced/free transaction fees. 

Some accounts may also come with other perks that are worth exploring. Compare different banks to find the best account for your nonprofit so that you can start accepting donations. Make sure that the account is suitable to your organisation’s legal structure (most banks will be able to help you select the right type of account). 

  1. Build your brand

You’ve got a brand name – but now you need a logo and a clear brand message. You may even want to consider a colour scheme and a slogan. You can come up with all this yourself, or you can work with a marketing agency or graphic designer. 

A distinctive brand will help your marketing to stand out and will help you maintain a level of consistency through all marketing channels. Make sure that your brand is different from other charities and nonprofits so that there’s no risk of trademark infringement. You can also choose to trademark your own brand to stop other nonprofits from using your branding without your permission. 

  1. Establish an online presence

Having a brand set up can then allow you to start marketing. One of the most essential places to market your nonprofit startup is online. Having a website will give you a digital shopfront for accepting donations, providing information to donors and providing that you are a legitimate organisation. Work out how you will build your website (will you build it yourself or hire a web designer?) and pay for a relevant domain name that you can attach your website to. 

Social media pages are also essential marketing platforms that you need to set up. It’s up to you as to which social media platforms you target, but ideally you should try to target multiple social media platforms to get the most exposure. Setting up social media pages is something that you can do for free, but you may want to consider budgeting some money for social media paid adverts so that you can reach out to more social media users.  

  1. Set up a payment processor

If you want to accept payments online or through a card reader machine, you’ll need to set up a payment processor. Try to choose a specialist payment processor for nonprofits rather than a generic payment processor. 

You can compare features of different payment processors online. If you decide to accept credit card payments, you will need to set up a merchant account. When exploring card machines for face-to-face payments, make sure to choose the right kind of machine for your needs (portable card readers are likely to be the best option if you are going to be raising funds from different locations).

  1. Assemble a team

You can build a nonprofit solo, but it’s likely you’ll need some help to get your name out there and handle some of the admin. It could be particularly necessary if you plan to grow your nonprofit startup to a significant size – putting on charity events by yourself will not be possible. But just who should you hire in your team? 

Ideally, you need people who are just as passionate about your cause as you are. A lot of nonprofits are started by families, groups of friends or communities who have been through a similar hardship. However, you may be able to reach out to strangers online and find like-minded individuals this way. 

A good team should be made up of people with clear roles, and you should hold regular meetings to keep everyone motivated and on the same page. Many teams of smaller nonprofit organisations are made up of volunteers. However, if your team members are going to be putting in lots of hours each week, you may have to consider paying them a wage to make their time worthwhile.

You can also pay yourself a wage at your nonprofit startup, but you may need to reconsider the classification of your organisation (a ‘community interest company’ may be a better classification than a ‘charity’, which can have strict rules when it comes to paying members).

The post 9 Things You Need To Do To Start A NonProfit appeared first on The Startup Magazine.

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