Nonprofits: The Greater Good

Everywhere one turns today there is stories of disaster, tragedy, and human loss of life. In this ever-changing world, one can wonder where the goodness still resides. Disaster looms around every corner, yet, amongst all the stores of gloom is a story of the greater good being woven. Stories that are woven from the fabric of history where good triumphs over evil. Found in this same fabric, is the elements of which fairy tales are taken. Now at a time where many fairy tales are paused, this fabric weaves hope to every corner of the world.

The triumphs I speak of are those involved in the nonprofit sector and their quests to equal injustices and help those who cannot help themselves. Tragedies are calling forth a new type of warrior. A warrior who fights with their heart and lives by special creed to think of others first. This, is where heros are made and legacies are born.

I believe everyone wants to be a part of the endless story where good overcomes atrocity. The age has come where everyone is invited into the bigger story. The story of helping others who desperately need help. I am contacted daily by those wanting to make a difference in the world. The only thing standing in between them and their dreams is direction.

I argue that those doing nonprofit work are doing the greater good. Many start out to learn how to start a nonprofit organization get discouraged because non-profit creation is tough. That’s where I like to get involved and encourage people that creating a nonprofit does not have to be difficult. I enjoy coming alongside people to encourage them to continue their quest to create a nonprofit. For too long, those doing nonprofit work were only large nonprofits. However, the organizational structures of large nonprofits can squelch the productivity of work. I am not against large nonprofits, since I worked alongside many. I do believe there is a place for anyone who wants to start a nonprofit and make the world a better place. Some would argue that there are too many nonprofits. I believe otherwise and support thousands of small nonprofits all over the world.

It is even possible that every family have their own nonprofit in which they can consistently give. Then from there nonprofit they can support a multitude of projects or other nonprofits. But as above creating a nonprofit can be tough and expensive making it prohibitive for the individual or family to create. Throughout all my years in the nonprofit sector, I have consistently maintained that there are better alternatives to creating a nonprofit than creating an independent 501(c)(3). By enabling individuals and families to inexpensively create nonprofits we enable more people to get involved and triumph of good.

If you are that warrior who cannot sit on the sidelines and watch injustice happen in the world. I invite you to begin looking at how easily you can create a nonprofit and join to make the world better place. There is little activity, if any, as satisfying than to help those who cannot help themselves. If I can help encourage, educate, or equip you a nonprofit creation or nonprofit work I would consider it an honor.

Starting a nonprofit does not have to be difficult nor expensive. Is there such a thing as “a greater good?” It may sound like a oxymoron but yes, I believe there is something better than good. When a person or group of persons is involved in doing nonprofit work, they are unselfishly putting time and energy into helping those who cannot help themselves. When hope is extended where there seems to be no hope, I believe something better than “good” is happening.

If you are one of those who strive and created nonprofit, this article is meant to give you hope and encouragement to continue your quest to help those who cannot help themselves. It is worth the challenge.

7 Essential Tips To Starting a Nonprofit

You’re ready to start a nonprofit and make a positive impact in the world and now you need to know the best way to go about creating your organization. There is a lot that goes into a nonprofit, but not so much that most anyone can do it. There are, however, important steps to take as you start out. Follow along below and I will help you get started in the right direction with seven essential tips. These tips, when used right, will help create success in your nonprofit.

Create The Nonprofit Entity

Creating the actual legal organization can be accomplished in several different ways. The first and most known way is by creating an independent 501(c)(3) through the IRS. This can be a lengthy process and includes incorporating a company in the state that you wish to do business, and filing for tax-exempt status through the IRS using form 1024.

The second, fastest growing way to form a nonprofit organization is through fiscal sponsorship. This is where an already existing 501(c)(3) organization accepts your nonprofit project within its organizational structure. This allows an organization to carry out nonprofit projects without the need for setting up an independent 501(c)(3) through the IRS. Setting up a fiscal sponsorship can be very quick, easy, and inexpensive. The most important part of setting up a fiscal sponsorship is finding a sponsor who is reputable and long-standing in the nonprofit arena. If the sponsor is not solid, they can negatively impact your nonprofit project. Find a third party who is skilled and knowledgeable about fiscal sponsors to get recommendations from.

Research

When starting a nonprofit it is important to thoroughly research the cause you will be helping. This will help you understand what organizations are already in existence doing similar work. This will assist your organization in determining areas that still need help and organizations you can work alongside of in better accomplishing the task. Continual research will help your organization stay focused on its mission.

File for Tax-Exempt Status

When doing nonprofit work filing for tax-exempt status is important. Many nonprofits skip this step because it can be expensive, only to need to come back to the step years down the road. By having tax-exempt status, your nonprofit can give donors tax-deductible receipts for their donations. Tax-exempt status is necessary when receiving donations from most corporations and when seeking grant money. Don’t put yourself in a bind without tax-exempt status. You do not want to be scrambling to get tax-exempt status with a large donation pending.

Develop A Good Fundraising Plan

Fundraising is the lifeblood of a nonprofit organization. Very little can be accomplished without funds to spend. Developing a good fund raising plan and continued financial stability is vital to the success of your nonprofit. Find good information on how to fund raise and put the plan in action from the very beginning. It is not necessary to hire a fundraiser or grant writer but instead look at and invest in resources that help you learn to do these tasks yourself. No one is going to care as much about the financial stability of your organization as you.

Develop A Strategic Plan

Developing a strategic plan on how your nonprofit will operate, accomplish its mission, hire staff, and grow will be necessary. Without a strategic plan in place it will be very hard to make sure your nonprofit is successful. Strategic plans are blueprints that you can reference back to continually, making sure your nonprofit is on track for success. Find a good resource or manual that explains how to put together a good strategic plan for your nonprofit.

Think Long Term

Hopefully your nonprofit will continue to operate successfully for your lifetime and beyond. While establishing the nonprofit, keep this long-range vision in mind. There is wisdom in establishing a solid foundation in the beginning rather than haphazardly throwing your organization together. Consider taking six months to a year in the beginning to establish stable fund raising, great programs, and good practices. For example, use the first year to fund raise and raise awareness of your nonprofit so that you can you’re your budget. Then with stable funding you can begin paying salaries, office expenses, and fund programs with less stress. Once your programs start, it will be more difficult to focus 100% of your efforts on fundraising.

Have Fun

Helping others should be fun. Starting and running a successful nonprofit can be fun. If at any point you find you have lost the “fun factor,” regroup and figure out how to put the fun back into your efforts. If fun and enjoyment is not a constant part of your nonprofit efforts, it will be difficult to continue. Make sure those you help, those that volunteer, and yourself are having a blast and your nonprofit endeavor will always have life.

Start a Nonprofit: Creating a Nonprofit From the Inside Out

Learning how to start a nonprofit organization for many is a daunting task and is prone to taking people on a wild goose chase across the internet and cost them much more than necessary. One way to avoid the pitfalls and wasted expense is to consider starting a nonprofit from the inside out when creating the nonprofit and the task will be much easier. Creating from the inside out is a sure way to cut down the time and expense in the creation of a nonprofit 501c3 as I will explain below.

Many, when starting a 501c3 nonprofit, begin by filling out paperwork to establish their nonprofit, costing them expensive fees. Compiling the information and process they need to create the nonprofit can take a long and grueling toll on the founders. Once the nonprofit is created, they begin working on their branding and continue on to fund raising. Once they have established some success in fund raising and charity work the programs are rolled out and nonprofit work begins. In this example, those starting the nonprofit are beginning from the outside and working in. The disadvantages of this method are many. First, the creation of the nonprofit in this example can become very daunting, expensive, time consuming and even tempt the founders that the reward of creating a nonprofit is not worth the challenges. Secondly, many times when nonprofits are created in this manner the nonprofit paperwork is put together with only a limited idea of what the nonprofit will eventually be involved in. This can require redoing paperwork and even programs in the future. Yes, the nonprofit is established but not necessarily in a manner that is as straightforward or stable as it could be.

I believe it is best to work from the inside out when establishing a nonprofit. By working from the inside to the outside it is much easier to create the nonprofit with all the facets necessarily so that once the nonprofit is established and running it stays “spot on” without a quiver.

When creating a nonprofit from the inside out you start with a “picture” of what you eventually want the nonprofit to look like. It is also good practice to create a roadmap of the things you would like it to accomplish. These goals and the picture are a great way to establish what the nonprofit will look like and be accomplishing once it is fully functioning. At this stage, I like to imagine the nonprofit engaged in every avenue possible. Make the vision grand and encompassing and create a masterpiece that anyone would want to be involved in.

Now you can begin working inside out as you establish the nonprofit and know exactly how the nonprofit will operate, what it will be involved in, and even how it will accomplish its mission. Like building a house, you can now start with the foundation, move on to the framework, and finish by moving in. You may even consider Fiscal Sponsorship when creating the nonprofit as the sponsorship makes it easier and quicker to make sudden changes in the structure or even the mission. Fiscal Sponsorship even allows you to establish the nonprofit as an independent nonprofit at a time in the future, once you better understand how the nonprofit will operate and be involved in.