How to Start a Non-Profit Organization
You’ve been thinking a lot about how to start a non-profit organization.
You recognize an unmet social need just waiting to be addressed. You’re just not sure where to begin.
That’s why you’re here.
Well I’m here to tell you that you’ve come to the right place.
It’s an incredibly exciting time in the non-profit space. The last decade has seen significant growth in the non-profit sector with the launch of over 300,000 new non-profit organizations.
The Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving reports that overall non-profit revenue increased by 11.3% for the 3 months ending May 2011 as compared to the same period in 2010.
Small and medium non-profits had positive year-over-year growth. Large-sized non-profits showed a negative trend. This represents a revenue increase of 6.7% for the 3 months ending May 2011 as compared to the same period in 2010.
What does this mean for you? These numbers indicate a favorable outlook for the little guys – the non-profits just starting and establishing themselves. With budget cuts of important social services at both the federal and state levels, there’s greater need to fill the gaps left by these cuts.
Other important takeaways from these non-profit numbers? Well, for one, the young generation entering the workforce today is looking for greater and more direct alignment between the professional life and personal moral and ethical values. They want to make money and do good.
Number two, the barriers to starting a non-profit have been reduced, and it is growing more common these days for individuals to start a non-profit organization than join an existing one.
On the other hand, the increasing number of non-profit organizations spells an increase in competition for funding and supporters. Potential donors as well as recipients have more choice in where they want to invest or get social services from. Non-profit founders are facing the pressure to prove that their approach to social impact beats the competition.
Liz Livingston Howard, associate director of the Center for Non-Profit Management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management captures this aptly in an article on the Princeton Review, “It’s not enough to do good. You have to do good well.”
Now that we’ve explored the numbers and motivations, let’s take a closer look at how to start a non-profit organization.
I’ll take you through the major steps in how to start a non-profit organization with this six-part series. This guide will help you research and define the need accurately and create a well-designed, high-impact non-profit organization that can compete successfully in today’s non-profit sector. The guide will show you how to start a non-profit organization in these five steps:
- Step 1 for How to Start a Non-Profit Organization: Exploration- research and test your non-profit idea
- Step 2 for How to Start a Non-Profit Organization: Business Planning – set the vision and strategy for your non-profit organization through the non-profit business plan
- Step 3 for How to Start a Non-Profit Organization: Legal Necessities- issues to keep in mind when starting a non-profit organization
- Step 4 for How to Start a Non-Profit Organization: Fundraising- attract and engage donors and supporters for your non-profit organization
- Step 5 for How to Start a Non-Profit Organization: Operations- Build a strong foundation for your non-profit organization