Thinking About Starting a Charity?

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Are you considering starting a charity? Here are some things to keep in mind.
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Have you ever considered starting your own charity? It’s not something to consider lightly, but something that takes a significant amount of thought, planning, and research.

Before you even start thinking about your own charity, do some research into the problem you want to address. What, exactly, is the issue? What is being done to address it, and what can you do to help? Study up on all of these things before you move on to the next step.

What should that next step be? Most likely, you should be looking at other charities with the same interest. If you want to help sick children, find out who else is doing that at a local, state, and national (even international) level. Contact these other groups and find out what gaps they see that you might help fill. Those gaps might be at a local level, where larger charities have trouble reaching, or they might be a specific kind of research. While there is certainly room for more than one charity to address a given problem, overlapping charities can only do so much.

You want to make sure you have a specific niche and a strong plan for how to address that problem in order to attract donors. You’re not competing with other charities–not directly, anyway–but if you can’t tell your donors what you do and how you do it, they’re less likely to donate, and then you can’t do any good.

For that matter, do you even need donors? You need to work out a plan for how your charity will function, not just day-to-day, but over a longer period, like 3 to 10 years. Think ahead!

Starting a charity isn’t easy, but there are a lot of resources out there. If you want some more tips, check out this 2013 Guardian article. A good place to start researching other charities is Charity Navigator, which offers a wealth of information about how existing charities function. Get out there and do some good!


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