How to Start a Charity


Ever wanted to start a charity? It’s not easy.
Image: Shutterstock

If you read this blog, there is little doubt you’ve thought of starting your own non-profit organization someday.  Maybe you already have an idea that you believe will make a great impact on your community or another area of the world you have interest in.  Starting a charitable initiative can be overwhelming.  Incorporating your organization as a 501(c)(3) is complicated and cumbersome, and that is the easy part.  What you need to do first is figure out how your idea can raise enough funds.  Here are some steps to take if you are at the very beginning.

First, you need to share your idea and solicit advice.  Talk to teachers, family, friends, and coworkers and let them ask questions and challenge you.  Ask them what would motivate them to donate to your cause.  Talking to others will help you form your plan and hopefully collect some seed money from enthusiastic people.  It is also important to reach out to similar charities as well as local community organizations to get insight on challenges and best practices.  After discussing the project at length, you need to put together a plan for the model, accountability, fundraising strategy and branding.  Collaborators will be helpful at this stage, as no one wants to undertake an overwhelming task alone.


Collaboration is key in such a potentially overwhelming task.
Image: Shutterstock

Once your plan is set, you will need to recruit a team of highly skilled volunteers that will be able to do everything that you are not able to do.  That may include software engineers, webmasters, marketing professionals or fundraising specialists.  Savvy business skills and community outreach experience will be necessary to get your organization off the ground.  A challenge of many people working in the nonprofit arena is sales, but you have to be able to sell your organization in order to grow it and collect what is necessary to perform its mission.

Some resources that are making it easier to create a new charity are social media platforms and crowdfunding.  Facebook and Twitter can help you find people to reach out to, while sites like Kickstarter can help you with fundraising.


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