Start a Nonprofit: The Easy Road

True. Starting, creating and getting a nonprofit started can be an excruciatingly painful process. While many know that there is more than one way to start a nonprofit, most do not know how beneficial one way is over another. It is common for a nonprofit to evolve in many different ways or even expand its reach once funding is established and programs begin. What may be the most important part of starting a nonprofit is the speed in which it is started. By getting it started and functioning it is easier to see the natural direction the nonprofit needs to take. At that point, it may be easier to nail down the vision, mission and the programs that need to be established. But how can you first establish the nonprofit and then finalize the vision, mission and programs since many times you need this to establish it in the first place? Read on and I will tell you how.

When learning how to start a nonprofit organization it is very difficult to know precisely all the ways a nonprofit will be involved in the community. When starting a nonprofit and going through incorporation and IRS applications to create a 501c3 it is virtually impossible to leave much wiggle room in the wording. It is also time consuming to go back and revise charter documents once the nonprofit is in place. So how can you start a 501c3 and then define its programs and direction after you have some time to test out the waters doing charity work?

By establishing a nonprofit through fiscal sponsorship, you can have the nonprofit up and running in the quickest method while not compromising on flexible options in the future. Typically a fiscally sponsored nonprofit should be up and running in just a few weeks with complete 501c3 status. The nonprofit can then begin putting its programs together. Running the nonprofit with fiscal sponsorship, at least for the first several years, allows the nonprofit to explore and create its programs while guiding it down its natural direction. Fiscal Sponsorship is very forgiving and should allow to the nonprofit to tweak everything from its vision, mission, and all the way through its programs.

At the point where the nonprofit is very established and the majority of its programs are running well, the nonprofit can then make the decision to create an independent nonprofit or stay fiscally sponsored. If the decision is reached to continue fiscally sponsorship, the nonprofit can revise its vision, mission, and any pertinent documents with the sponsor and continue on. If the nonprofit decides to create an independent nonprofit to continue, filling out the incorporation, charter documents and IRS Form 1023 will be easier than the guesses they would have had to make several years prior.

Establishing a nonprofit first through Fiscal Sponsorship has many advantages that also include a very relaxed learning curve. In most Fiscally Sponsored scenarios the sponsor will provide support, training, and constant help as the nonprofit learns to operate. That is ideal rather than the stark contrast of running an independent nonprofit where there is no support or training. Many simply cannot figure out how to start, fund and run a successful nonprofit without help. Starting an independent nonprofit assumes the organization can figure everything out on its own or pay someone to show and teach them.

There are huge organizational, educational and protective benefits to starting out a nonprofit as fiscally sponsored rather than getting over one’s head with an independent nonprofit. The difference might be as significant as the nonprofit making it or not.