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Many of us have a desire to make the world a better place and to use our talents to serve those around us. It can be hard to make a difference all on your own though. Many people turn to non-profit organizations to help them serve others, and this may be the best route for you. But how do you go about starting a non-profit organization?

The Mission

You have to consider the value your organization will add to the community and the target demographic that you will be aiming at. What services will you offer, and how will this help the people in your community? The“so what” of your non-profit is what is going to get people involved, so make sure you know what that is. While not all non-profits have to be physically present in the same area that they wish to help, this is generally the best way to make sure that you are having a positive impact.

Before you go ahead and create the organization, check out if other nonprofits are offering the same services in the same area. Even if your services are niche specific, it is also important to consider what other players are offering, how they carry on their business and the impact they have on their target audience. If you duplicate services, it might be hard to get funding. It is also essential to carry out a needs analysis in the community to establish how your organization will be beneficial.


Funding is an essential aspect because it is what sets the organization’s wheels rolling. Who are you targeting as the chief financiers of the group? You can choose to conduct fundraisers, sell products and services, receive donations, and solicit government grants. Having a clear picture ofwhere the finances will come from will make the operations and set up process faster and smoother.

Registering and Building a Foundation

Coming up with a relevant name and registering with the appropriate bodies is just part of the work. You will also require drafting the company mandate that will include the mission statement and a business plan. The plan will help you reach and communicate your values to investors better while the mission statement declares your purpose.

During this stage, you will also recruit board members whose purpose will be to carry out the organization’s mission. The recruitment may be an ongoing process as the firm grows. Training might also be part of the process to instill the organization’s values and purpose to the employees. Essentially, your non-profit should be run the same way as a business. If you do not have a business background, it may be helpful to recruit a few people that do. They can provide help organizing your non-profit andnavigating the ins and outs of the business world.

File for Tax Exception

Nonprofit organizations are exempted from filing tax returns. You will need toapply for tax exemption with the Internal Revenue Service. There is an application fee, which varies depending on how much revenue the firm intends to generate on a yearly basis. The tax exemption decision may take between 3 to 12 months to be approved by the IRS.

Note that you will be required to continually report annually to the relevant bodies on the organization’s activities and finances. Before this happens, you will have to register with the agency that regulates the activities of nonprofit organizations in your state.

You will also be required to file an annual financial report with the IRS. If you plan to get financing from different states, you may have to register with the agencies in those states as well. Rules, registration process, compliance, and regulations may vary from one state to another.

Many nonprofit organizations sprout every year, but some do not stay around for long. Proper planning and understanding how a business works will help you run a successful organization that will outlive you.

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